Autoimmune diseases and allergies are characterized by an inappropriate response of the immune system to either the body's own tissue or to environmental antigens.
An estimated five to eight percent of the North American population is affected by autoimmune diseases, underscoring their importance to public health. The prevalence of allergic diseases has increased over the past decades, affecting up to 20% of the population in developed countries. In parallel the economic burden of direct (e.g. medical) and indirect (e.g. work days lost) costs has been growing substantially. Across these indications, there is (in the absence of a cure) a high medical need for therapies which provide adequate efficacy combined with safety and tolerability profiles superior to currently available therapies.