Allergies are often managed by avoiding the allergen or by using medication to relieve symptoms. However, avoidance is not always possible, and medication may not offer sufficient symptom control. Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) is the only available treatment that affects the underlying condition by increasing tolerance to the allergen, but the treatment typically takes years, has unpredictable efficacy, and can involve a risk of severe allergic reactions during treatment.

Safe and successful allergen immunotherapy with recombinant hypoallergens

Desentum ’s hypoallergens are designed to induce a protective immunological response without compromising safety during treatment:

  1. Targeted modifications in the allergen protein to reduce IgE cross-linking, thus reducing allergenic potential during immunotherapy
  2. Native conformation of the hypoallergen retained to ensure that the protective immunological response induced by the hypoallergen also works against natural allergens
  3. Novel formulation for controlled release of the active substance after injection, further increasing safety
  4. Recombinant production for consistent, high-quality manufacturing of hypoallergens

The goal is safe and effective subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy with significantly lower number of injections compared to standard subcutaneous AIT.

How allergy and immunotherapy work

Allergies are caused by an overreaction of our immune system. A normally harmless substance – like pollen, food, or cat saliva – will cause the immune system to defend the body against it.

Wild-type allergen

Modified allergen

IgE antibody

IgG antibody
If you are allergic, your body produces allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. The allergens cross-link the IgE antibodies on the surface of mast cells. This triggers the allergic symptoms.
The modifications in our hypoallergens are designed to prevent IgE cross-linking. This reduces the risk of an allergic reaction during immunotherapy. Instead, the hypoallergens induce the production of protective immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies.
Next time you encounter natural allergens, your body uses the IgG antibodies to recognize and destroy them instead of launching an allergic reaction. This behavior stays in the immunological memory, protecting from allergy in the future.

The technologies we use allow us to precisely characterize hypoallergen structure and interaction, design targeted modifications to them and evaluate potential product candidates.

Mass spectrometry

Native mass spectrometry is an emerging technology that allows the topological investigation of protein complexes with high sensitivity. This unique tool provides us complementary information to established technologies in structural biology. It also provides additional information on exact protein complex-compositions, structures and dynamics. This technology is extremely useful for determining the correct folding and structure of hypoallergen candidates. It also provides useful information on allergen-IgE antibody complexes.

Protein crystallography

Crystallisation of proteins and protein complexes is one way to study the structure of proteins. Protein crystals are exposed to X-rays in unique synchrotrons and the diffraction spectrum received in this kind of analysis provides us valuable information about the primary, secondary, tertiary and even quaternary structures of proteins under investigation. This method gives us a very precise way to design changes in allergen molecules in order to achieve the hypoallergenic properties we aim at.

HRA histamine release assay

The biological activity of the hypoallergen candidates can be analysed in a so called histamine release assay. In this assay stripped basophil cells are challenged with allergen and hypoallergen molecules and the subsequent release of histamine is measured. The amount of histamine released by a hypoallergenic product candidate opposed to a wild type allergen tells us if the hypoallergen has a potential to be used as an immunotherapeutic product.

Scientific articles

Haka J et al. 2019. Development of hypoallergenic variants of the major horse allergen Equ c 1 for immunotherapy by rational structure based engineering. Sci. Rep. 9(1):20148

Niemi MH et al. 2015. Dimerization of lipocalin allergens. Sci. Rep. 5, 13841; doi: 10.1038/srep13841

Rouvinen J et al. 2010. Transient dimers of allergensPLoS One. 5(2):e9037

Niemi M et al. 2008. Characterization and crystallization of a recombinant IgE Fab fragment in complex with the bovine beta-lactoglobulin allergenActa Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun. 64(Pt 1):25-28.

Niemi M et al. 2007. Molecular interactions between a recombinant IgE antibody and the beta-lactoglobulin allergenStructure 15(11):1413-21.

Product pipeline

We have completed a First-in-Human clinical study with the lead product candidate, birch pollen hypoallergen DM-101. Further clinical development of DM-101 is ongoing. Each allergy requires its own hypoallergen, so other hypoallergens are in development. The product line will be expanded as we manufacture new modified hypoallergens.

Birch pollen

  • First-in-Human clinical study completed
  • Novel formulation developed
  • Second clinical study ongoing

Phase 1


  • Modified Ara h 2 hypoallergen candidates produced
  • Preclinical evaluation ongoing
  • Clinical phase targeted in 2025-2026


Grass pollen

  • Modified Phl p 1 hypoallergens produced and evaluated
  • Drug candidate selection ongoing


Clinical trials


The randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, dose escalation study was designed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of subcutaneous immunotherapy with DM-101 in birch pollen allergic adults. Immunological markers such as allergen-specific IgE and IgG were also analysed.

DM-101 was found to be safe and well tolerated in a dose regimen of 5 ascending doses, and immunological marker results indicated a favourable immunological response.


The ongoing trial is a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled DM-101PX dose escalation trial to investigate the safety, tolerability, and exploratory efficacy (following environmental allergen exposure in a chamber) of DM-101 in participants with birch pollen allergy.

DM-101PX is a formulation of DM-101 optimised to support controlled release of the active substance after subcutaneous injection.