Nestlé is shelling out an estimated $2.6 billion to buy a biopharmaceutical company best known for its peanut-allergy treatment.
Aimmune Therapeutics’ Palforzia is the first and only Food and Drug Administration-approved “treatment to help reduce the frequency and severity of allergic reaction to peanuts, including anaphylaxis, in children aged 4 through 17.”
The deal, announced Monday morning, marks Nestlé Health Science’s deeper foray into that industry. That division of the Swiss food and drink giant was founded in 2011 and today has more than 5,000 employees in 66 countries.
To date, Nestlé has invested $473 million in Aimmune, giving the Swiss company an equity ownership stake of approximately 25.6%. The first investment in the pharma firm was $145 million in November 2016.
Peanuts are one of the most common causes of severe allergy attacks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Nestlé puts the number of peanut-allergy sufferers at 240 million worldwide.
“This transaction brings together Nestlé’s nutritional science leadership with one of the most innovative companies in food allergy treatment,” Nestlé Health Science CEO Greg Behar said in a written statement. “Together we will be able to offer a wide range of solutions that can transform the lives of people suffering from food allergies around the world.”
Aimmune’s stock was $34.23, up $21.63 or 171.67%, in early-morning trading, while Nestlé’s was $120.98, up 53 cents or 0.44%.
Nestlé’s portfolio includes of Nescafé, Gerber, KitKat, Poland Spring, Smarties, Toll House, Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, Coffee-Mate, Häagen-Dazs, Alpo, Fancy Feast, and Purina. Among its nutritional-science brands are Boost, Optifast, Resource ThickenUp, and Modulen.
Nestlé sold its U.S. candy division—known for Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Nestlé Crunch, SweeTarts, and Nerds—to Luxembourg’s Ferrero in 2018 for an estimated $2.8 billion.
Brisbane, California-based Aimmune was founded in 2011 as Allergen Research Corp. In 2015, the company changed its name.