France's Stallergenes has signed an agreement  with Shionogi to develop two sublingual allergen immunotherapy tablets that treat the two main causes of respiratory allergies in Japan.

The deal concerns Stallergenes' Actair house dust mite tablets and Japanese cedar pollen pills. The companies noted that with 32 million respiratory allergy sufferers, "there is a strong - and as yet unmet - demand for treatment in Japan, where sublingual allergen immunotherapy is currently not available". They added that the Japanese cedar allergy "is a major public health concern in the country".

This partnership is the first of its kind in Japan and Stallergenes said it will bring sublingual immunotherapy to patients suffering from severe allergic rhinitis, inadequately controlled using antihistamines and corticosteroids. Cashwise, it will receive an upfront fee of 24 million euros, and up to 46 million euros in development and regulatory payments, plus sales milestones and royalties.

Stallergenes added that  it recently demonstrated Actair efficacy after four months of treatment "and the persistence of its therapeutic effect after only one year of treatment". It  is also preparing a filing in Germany and a Phase III paediatric study has been launched. The Japanese cedar pollen tablets are at an early stage of development.

The Japanese allergy market is the second biggest in the world behind the USA.