With more than 32 million people in the U.S. living with restrictive food allergies, research efforts on symptoms, triggers, and solutions in various forms have, generally speaking, been unceasing. However, the usefulness of the collective findings is not commensurate with the time and money spent on these undertakings, particularly when startling metrics showing an increase in allergies in younger populations are taken into account. The bright side of the situation is that venture funding for digital health has reached an apogee thanks to COVID-19, with $29.1 billion invested in 2021, and food allergy studies have seen their (relatively) fair share of the influx. The funding has gone toward bolstering a range of innovations in digital food allergy solutions, such as portable allergen sensors like the Allergy Amulet, which empower individuals to eat out more often and with confidence through the device’s ability to detect specific food allergens.
The first VC firm solely dedicated to the development of treatments, diagnostics, and products for allergies, AllerFund, was established in 2020 and is one of the backers of Allergy Amulet.
VC firms like AllerFund are particularly important, given that the National Institutes of Health, which has a per-person annual budget equivalent to approximately $120, only dedicates less than 20 cents of that figure to food allergy research.