Nestle steps up push into medicine with €100m milk allergy test deal

Nestle, the world’s biggest food company, is stepping up its push into medicine with a global deal worth up to €100m to develop and market an experimental milk allergy test for infants.

The Swiss group will pay DBV Technologies €10m upfront for rights to its skin patch test for cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA), with the balance depending on successful development, the two companies said yesterday.

Shares in the French biotech company rose 5% on the news.

The deal underscores Nestle’s ambitions for its Health Science division, which it believes could eventually generate more than 10bn Swiss francs (€9bn) in annual sales.

It also complements the company’s market-leading infant formula business and could help lift sales of products designed for babies with food intolerance.

Nestle has signed a series of similar deals with other small companies in its bid to create a new kind of business that is midway between food and pharmaceuticals.

The goal is to find new ways to treat, diagnose and prevent a range of diseases, from gastrointestinal problems to Alzheimer’s.

CMPA affects up to 2%-3% of infants and toddlers, according to the companies. Many others, however, have symptoms suggestive of the condition, creating a need for a simple diagnostic test.

Under the terms of the agreement, DBV will be eligible to receive up to €90m in development, regulatory and commercial milestones — on top of the upfront payment — and will also collect royalties on eventual product sales.


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