SWITZERLAND – Nestlé is reportedly engaged in discussions with London-based global healthcare company Stallergenes Greer to divest its peanut-allergy business, Palforzia.

The global food and beverage conglomerate has however warned that although talks are underway, a deal is not definite and that other bidders could surface.

 The potential sale is part of Nestlé’s strategic efforts to focus on core areas and optimize its product offerings to align with its long-term growth strategy.

The transaction, if successful, could enable Nestlé to concentrate its resources on its core food and beverage businesses, where it has a strong market presence.

Palforzia is an oral immunotherapy for the mitigation of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, that may occur with accidental exposure to peanuts.

The therapy involves gradually introducing controlled doses of peanut protein to patients, helping them build a tolerance to peanuts over time. The therapy is approved for use in patients with a confirmed diagnosis of peanut allergy.

Nestlé acquired Aimmune Therapeutics, the California-based manufacturer of Palforzia, in 2020 in a $2.6bn deal. It had first invested in Palforzia four years earlier.

The acquisition of Aimmune extended Nestlé’s reach into healthcare, which is the background of Mark Schneider, the Group’s CEO. He joined the group from the German healthcare company Fresenius.

But in November last year, it started a strategic review of the peanut allergy treatment, following slower-than-expected adoption by patients and healthcare professionals.

Schneider told investors that the outcome of the Palforzia acquisition was “very vexing to me” after “we were drop-dead, certain there was an unmet medical need . . . it was as close to a sure thing as we could get . . . but we had to accept the reality that it is a niche product”.

He added that Nestlé is trying to correct mistakes quickly and aims for consistent results in the coming years, even as the market becomes more volatile.

Going forward, Nestlé said its Health Science unit, which was set up in 2011, will sharpen its focus on Consumer Care and Medical Nutrition rather than expanding into pharmaceuticals.

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