Trials of allergy therapies frequently fall victim to strong placebo responses in the control group. Genentech Inc. and its partners Tanox Biosystems Inc. and Novartis Pharma AG last week presented positive Phase II/III data with their rhuMAb-E25 humanized monoclonal antibody. The next trick will be to duplicate the results in pivotal studies.

E25 is being tested in five Phase III studies in allergic asthma and rhinitis, and GNE expects to submit a PLA in 2000. E25 thus still faces the same challenge in clinical trials as, for example, ImmuLogic Pharmaceutical Corp. faced with its Allervax peptide therapeutic programs for cat and ragweed allergies.