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Media Room March 25, 2021

FARE Launches Global Research Competition to Develop a Safer and Compassionate Diagnostic Test for Patients With Food Allergies

  • $3 Million in Prize Money Inspires the World’s Leading Food Allergy Researchers to Put an End to the Oral Food Challenge 
  • Aimmune Therapeutics - Nestlé Health Science Partnership, Financial Support & Global Reach Anchor FAITH Challenge  

McLean, VA (March 25, 2021) FARE, the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and largest private funder of food allergy research, today launched a multi-year competition, the FAITH Challenge, designed to put an end to Oral Food Challenges and create a new, safe and compassionate method to accurately diagnose patients with food allergies. 

“It is time to put an end to the Oral Food Challenge as the chief diagnostic tool for food allergies due to the emotional and physical toll it can take on both children and adults,” said Lisa Gable, Chief Executive Officer of FARE.  “Operation Warp Speed showed us what is possible when we bring the brightest minds in innovation together in pursuit of a common goal.  Similarly, FARE’s FAITH Challenge is designed to galvanize the best researchers and innovators in the world to action – alone or in collaboration – to reach a breakthrough solution to the food allergy testing problem.” 

“Aimmune and Nestle Health Science are committed to science-backed solutions and research that can make a real difference in the quality of life of patients and caregivers and the FAITH Challenge is an exciting new initiative that directly supports that mission,” said Andrew Oxtoby, President & Chief Executive Officer of Aimmune Therapeutics, a Nestlé Health Science Company. “While the Oral Food Challenge is a key part of diagnosing food allergies today, it can be physically and emotionally distressing for all involved. As part of our partnership with FARE, we are looking to help bring the same ingenuity and innovation that has helped usher in a new era of diagnostic testing for multiple other heath conditions to the food allergy community.”

An Oral Food Challenge (OFC) is the current “gold standard” in diagnosing food allergies. However, OFC and related diagnostic tools, while generally safe, expose some patients to severe food allergy reactions, severe illness and even death.  For instance, about two percent of patients in the U.S. experience anaphylaxis as a result of the test.  In addition, an OFC can also have long-lasting impact on patient anxiety and mental health due to the physical duress and health risks involved with its application. 

The OFC stifles innovation and complicates care management because of the inability to accurately measure clinically relevant food allergy using an advanced, simple-to-administer test that is validated and regulatory agency-accepted. Clinical trials are limited or slowed, as are treatment plans for those impacted.

“We desperately need a better way to diagnose food allergies,” said Hillary Carter, FARE board member and food allergy mom.  “The FAITH Challenge provides hope to millions of families around the world that children and adults can soon get risk-free and worry-free testing for their food allergies so they can move quickly to the appropriate treatment plans.” 

FARE’s FAITH Challenge is a blank tapestry that places no boundaries on the location and type of researchers and innovators who seek the next generation answer for food allergy testing.  FAITH seeks to bring together the brightest minds and researchers in the world – those from food allergy and immunology, technology, biopharma, healthcare – and the venture and angel investor community.  However, FARE also encourages others in adjacent disease categories to join the FAITH Challenge.  

Research submissions will be reviewed, tracked, and appraised by a panel of judges comprised of experts from the fields of food allergy and immunology from both academia and the private sector.  

A $1 million cash prize will be awarded to the team – or teams – that successfully designs a new gold standard diagnostic tool for food allergies.  Interim diagnostic advancements will also receive interim cash awards from a total FAITH funding pool of $3 million.  Those funds have been generously donated by individual and corporate benefactors, including FARE, Nestlé Health Science, the Carter Family, the Naddisy Foundation, the Trachte Family, the Hittman Family Foundation, Dr. Louise Matthews, Thomas Flickinger, and an anonymous donor. 

FARE is launching an ambitious campaign to promote the FAITH Challenge and maximize the number of participating research teams. The campaign will include paid advertising, media relations outreach, paid and organic social media activity, and one-to-one outreach to qualified research organizations in North America, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Israel, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, and other markets. 

“There has got to be a better way and the FAITH Challenge provides a pathway for developing a new food allergy diagnostic tool, producing it and delivering it quickly to practitioners around the world so they can more efficiently design new therapies, test and treat millions of food allergy sufferers successfully and humanely,” concluded Lisa Gable. 

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About FARE

FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is the nation’s leading non-profit engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest food allergy charity supporting research. FARE’s innovative education, advocacy and research initiatives transform the future of food allergy through new and improved treatments and prevention strategies, effective policies and legislation, and novel approaches to managing the disease. To learn more, visit: foodallergy.org.

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