Kimberley Yates is founder of food allergy company built for patients by patients
Like many lucky enough to grow up on the mid-Peninsula, Kimberley Yates moved almost effortlessly from one milestone to next: childhood in Portola Valley, high school at Menlo, SoCal for college, “living the dream in my mid-20s working at fun startups.”
Then in 2002, her first child, Tessa, was born severely allergic. “I had intended to continue to work but for a variety of reasons, it was impossible.” After giving birth to two more children, she discovered Dr. Kari Nadeau, a noted Stanford allergist.
“I was tired of doctors telling me there’s nothing they can do,” she recalls. “Tessa was at risk everywhere she went. She had three near fatal attacks by the time I met Kari.
“I asked her what she needed from me. She replied, ‘Resources.’ I went to work on the people side, and she went to work on the science side.”
The journey continued through the FDA approval process for an oral immunotherapy drug chronicled by the New York Times. Tessa herself appeared before the panel. For her part, Kimberley stayed on in one capacity or another at Stanford for nine more years.
Then in 2017, there was a realization that Kari couldn’t treat enough people on her own. “Someone suggested that I start food allergy clinics,” she recalls. “I remember thinking, ‘that’s my dream.'” Despite not having a business background, Kimberley, a Menlo Park resident, had the passion and experience to persevere.
The result is Latitude Food Allergy Care, founded in 2018.
“What’s unique about Latitude is that 100% of our initial investors are families with food allergies,” she says. “It is truly a model that’s been built for patients by patients.
“It has been so rewarding. An 18-year-old came into one of our clinics. He’d gotten into a great college, but was fatally allergic to 10 foods. He took a gap year, and our allergists worked with him. And he’s no longer allergic to those foods anymore.”
“Patients come to Latitude searching for answers to their food allergies, with many having had no choice but to avoid foods their entire lives,” says Kimberley’s daughter Tessa Grosso, Community Advisor at Latitude and a patient advocate for food allergy treatment. “As a food allergic patient myself, it is truly exciting to live the rest of my life with the ability to eat freely, and to create the same possibilities for other children, teenagers and adults in the food allergy community.”
Photo of Kimberley and her daughters by Jack Hutch (c) 2020; Tessa is lower left.