Danish drugmaker ALK-Abello's tablet-based immunotherapy for grass pollen allergy, Grazax, has been approved by the Swedish Medical Products Agency.

The allergy specialist, which was spun out of ingredients company Chr. Hansen last year, said it will now submit applications in other European countries and expects Grazax to be launched in the first European markets by the end of 2006.

In contrast to previous immunotherapies, which have mainly been given by injection, Grazax is administered as fast-dissolving tablet that patients simply place under the tongue. This means that, for the first time, therapy can be delivered at home.

ALK-Abello stated that its once-daily immunotherapy "forms a new basis in the treatment of grass allergy," because it targets the underlying cause by inducing a protective immune response which reduces and potentially halts the allergic reaction to grass pollen.

According to ALK-Abello, the World Health Organisation estimates that more than 20% of the industrialised population suffer from allergy, of which approximately 50% are allergic to grass pollen, and the prevalence of this allergy continues to increase.