HypoPet AG, a Swiss-based company, announced it is working on a vaccine that could target a “major” feline allergen – Fel d 1 – to which nearly 10 percent of the Western population is allergic, according to results from a study on the vaccine.
Unlike other immunotherapies, the vaccine, called HypoCat, works by “immunizing cats against their own major allergen, Fel d 1,” the researchers said. In other words, the cat would be administered the vaccine, not their allergic owner.
The vaccine was “well-tolerated without any overt toxicity,” according to a press release. Researchers collected the data from four separate studies that involved a total of 54 cats.
“We are very pleased to publish this data which shows our HypoCat vaccine is able to produce high levels of antibodies in cats and that these antibodies can bind and neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen produced by the animals,” Dr. Gary Jennings, CEO of HypoPet AG, said in a statement. “This work was a key step in the milestone-driven [the] development of HypoCat, the lead project in our product pipeline.”
“We are pressing ahead with registration studies and discussions with European and U.S regulators with the hope of bringing this much-needed product to the market,” Jennings added.
In the U.S., roughly three in 10 people with allergies “have allergic reactions to cats and dogs,” according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, which also noted, “cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies.”
“Both human subjects and animals could profit from this treatment because allergic cat owners would reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases, such as asthma, and become more tolerant of their cats, which therefore could stay in the households and not need to be relinquished to animal shelters,” researchers said in the study.