Pollens are made up of tiny particles released by trees, plants and grasses during spring and summer as part of their reproductive cycle. Pollen owing to its fine particles can be easily inhaled by humans and animals which can cause significant irritation and inflammation to some people. Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is among the most common form of allergy caused by grass pollen. According to a study conducted by American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in 2010 reported that about 16.9 million adults and 6.7 million children were diagnosed with hay fever and its prevalence is increasing by approximately 30% in adults and 40% in children. The Charity Allergy U.K estimated that about 18 million people found to be affected with grass pollen allergy and is more common among children and teenagers. Symptoms of grass pollen include frequent sneezing, running or blocked nose, itchy eyes and throat. In some instances it can also lead to loss of senses to smell, facial pain, sweating and severe headache. People suffering from asthma face even a worse symptom which include tight chest, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. The United States Food and Drug Administration in 2014 estimated around 30 million people in the United States and 500 million globally suffer from one or other form of hay fever symptoms.
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There are about 1,200 species of grass grown in North America wherein only a small percentage of them cause allergies. Some of the prominent species include Bermuda grass, Johnson grass, Kentucky bluegrass, Orchard grass, Redtop grass, Sweet vernal grass and Timothy grass. The standard treatment for grass allergies includes oral steroids, antihistamines, beta agonist and immunotherapy treatment by injections. In May 2013, Health Canada approved a drug Oralair which can treat allergies from five different pollen grasses. Pills based immune therapy has seen significant demand and popularity in past 2-3 years owing to its characteristics such as convenience and painless option than weekly or monthly allergy shots. Merck & Co. in April 2014 received FDA approval for its grass pollen allergy drug Grastek. Merck estimates a potential U.S. market of nearly 3 million patients that will eventually be worth USD 1 billion of annual sales. Possible side effects of Grastek include dizziness, severe stomach pain, troubled swallowing and irregular heartbeat.
Drivers to the growth of the market include exponential rise in number of patient suffering from pollen based allergies and more precisely hay fever. Moreover occupational exposure and growing number of patients especially children are another major contributors for escalating the global grass pollen allergy market. Lack of permanent cure to grass pollen allergy disease and home based diagnosis are few restraints to the growth of the global grass pollen allergy market. Geographically market for grass pollen allergy is majorly dominated by European and the North America market pertaining to research funding, government interventions and frequent product approvals. Moreover the Asia Pacific and Rest of the World market are among the fastest growing regions. According to an independent study conducted by Katelaris C., et. al. on Patterns of Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma in Adults and Children in Asia Pacific: Findings From the Allergies in Asia Pacific Survey. Allegergies in Asia-Pacific: A landmark survey of nasal allergy suffers reported that about 48% of Asia Pacific has been diagnosed with nasal allergies. About two out of five of the diagnosed people were reported to be diagnosed with allergic rhinitis.
Some of the prominent pipelined drugs in grass pollen allergy market include MK-7243, Pollinex Quattro Grass, Avanz Phleum Pratense, gpASIT + TM, Grass-SPIRE, BM-32 and AllerG. Key players in the market include Allergy Therapeutics plc, Allergopharma Joachim Ganzer KG, Circassia Holdings Ltd., Laboratorios LETI S.L., Anergis SA, Biomay AG and others.
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