BANGKOK, Thailand, December 4 /PRNewswire/ -- ALK-Abelló welcomes the World Allergy Day 2007, which is organized by World Allergy Organisation in association with the Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD) program of WHO, and focuses on Chronic Allergic Respiratory Diseases.

The day will include a press conference on the new report The State of World Allergy: A Report from the World Allergy Organization and a World Allergy Day Symposium, held during the World Allergy Congress, Bangkok, Thailand.

World Allergy Day 2007 has the following objectives:

- Increase awareness of chronic allergic respiratory diseases

- Increase awareness of the profile of important local allergens, their prevalence throughout the year, and how climate changes are impacting the natural history of allergens

- Educate physicians, patients and the public about the role of persistent allergen exposure in initiating and sustaining chronic allergic respiratory diseases and their co-morbidities

- Highlight the importance of treating and controlling these diseases

ALK-Abelló supports all of the World Allergy day objectives as it meets the company's own objectives to educate healthcare professionals and patients about the link between rhinitis (more commonly known as 'hay fever') and asthma and the 'allergic march.'

It is well known that a person suffering from one allergy has an increased risk of developing more allergies and asthma - an occurrence dubbed the "allergic march". The allergic march describes the progression in clinical manifestations of an allergy, in this case the progression from rhinoconjunctivitis into asthma.

Due to the risk of the 'allergic march', the ARIA guidelines recommend that immunotherapy should be initiated early in the disease process to prevent the further development of severe disease (AIRA guidelines 2001).

Currently there exist three ways of treating allergy: Avoidance, symptomatic medications and immunotherapy. The strategy of allergy avoidance is difficult for an airborne allergen such as grass pollen, and while symptomatic medications (e.g. antihistamines and local steroids) may offer a short-term symptomatic relief, they do not treat the underlying cause of the disease and hence are not an optimal long-term solution.

Only immunotherapy targets the underlying allergic disease, having the potential to produce long-term remission. Several controlled clinical studies have also demonstrated the added benefits of immunotherapy in treating asthma symptoms in patients suffering from allergic asthma, and in preventing the development of new allergies and asthma(i).

Recently ALK-Abelló launched GRAZAX(R), the first allergy tablet that besides treating the symptoms of grass allergy also treats the underlying cause of grass pollen allergy. It works like a vaccine by inducing a protective immune response, which reduces and potentially halts the allergic reaction to grass pollen.

While long-term studies are still being conducted on GRAZAX(R), results from the second treatment year in a long-term study with GRAZAX(R) were recently accepted for publication in a leading scientific journal in the field of allergy(ii). In this study, GRAZAX(R) shows highly significant efficacy and progressive immunological changes over two years of continuous treatment. These results support expectations of a progressive effect with long-term treatment with GRAZAX(R) and a potential to halt the allergic march.

About grass allergy

Grass pollen allergy is a health problem representing a significant social burden. At least 45 million people in Europe (or one in every eight persons) suffer from grass pollen allergy in the form of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or allergic asthma - or both. Allergy is a chronic disease that, if left untreated, can lead to the development of new allergies and allergic asthma.(iii)

The vast majority of patients are only offered symptom-relieving medications that reduce symptoms temporarily but do not treat the allergy itself. In addition, 60-68% of patients using symptom-relieving medications perceive them to be in the range of 'not at all effective' to 'moderately effective' on individual symptoms, according to a survey conducted by the European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Associations (EFA).

About GRAZAX(R)

GRAZAX(R) is a fast-dissolving, once-daily tablet-based allergy vaccine for patient home administration. The efficacy and safety of GRAZAX(R) have been documented in the largest clinical study programme ever conducted within allergy vaccination. The studies show, amongst other things, that 82% of the patients treated with GRAZAX(R) feel 'better' or 'much better' in the first treatment season compared with previous seasons(iv) http://www.GRAZAX.com.

About ALK-Abelló

ALK-Abelló is devoted to improving the lives of people with allergies by developing pharmaceutical products that target the cause of their allergic disease.

ALK-Abelló is the world leader in the development of immunotherapy treatments - a unique treatment that induces a protective immune response with sustained symptom prevention. Allergy immunotherapy is traditionally conducted as subcutaneous injections or sublingual droplets. ALK-Abelló aims to extend the use of immunotherapy by introducing convenient tablets for home treatment, thereby offering many more patients a causal allergy treatment.

ALK-Abelló has more than 1,300 employees with subsidiaries, production facilities and distributors throughout the world. The company is headquartered in Hørsholm, Denmark and listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.

GRAZAX(R) is a trademark owned by ALK-Abelló A/S.

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(i) Jacobsen L,Niggemann, Bodo; Dreborg, Sten; Ferdousi, Hosne; Halken, Susanne; Høst, Arne;

Koivikko, Antti; Norberg, Lene; Specific immunotherapy has long-term preventive effect of seasonal and perennial asthma: 10-year follow-up on the PAT-study. Allergy 2007; 62: 943-948

(ii) Dahl.R, Kapp A, Colombo G, de Monchy JG, Rak S, Emminger W, et al. Sublingual grass tablet immunotherapy provides sustained clinical benefit with progressive immunological changes over 2 years. J Allergy Clin Immunol (In Press)

(iii) Novembre E, Galli E, Landi F, Caffarelli C, Pifferi M, De Marco E, et al. Coseasonal sublingual immunotherapy reduces the development of asthma in children with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2004;114(4):851-7.

(iv) Dahl R, Kapp A, Colombo G, de Monchy JG, Rak S, Emminger W, et al. Efficacy and safety of sublingual immunotherapy with grass allergen tablets for seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2006;118: 434-440

For further information, please contact: Sharmi Albrechtsen, International Brand Communication Manager, ALK-Abelló Phone +45-4574-7555 Jacob Frische, Director, ALK-Abelló Group Communications Phone +45-4574-7551 or +45-2224-7551

For further information, please contact: Sharmi Albrechtsen, International Brand Communication Manager, ALK-Abelló, Phone +45-4574-7555; Jacob Frische, Director, ALK-Abelló Group Communications, Phone +45-45747551 or +45-2224-7551