SAB Endorses Influenza Drug Targets

Poolbeg Pharma PLC
26 October 2023

Poolbeg Pharma plc


Scientific Advisory Board Endorses Influenza Drug Targets Identified in AI Drug Discovery Programme


Consensus reached on prioritised novel drug targets to bring forward for lab-based validation


26 October 2023 - (AIM: POLB, OTCQB: POLBF, 'Poolbeg' or the 'Company'), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company targeting diseases with a high unmet medical need, announces that its Scientific Advisory Board ('SAB') has endorsed the influenza drug targets identified in its AI-led drug discovery programme.


Key highlights


·      Prioritisation of influenza drug targets which have the highest likelihood of success

·      New potential collaborative routes to maximise the impact of the outputs identified

·      Ongoing discussions with prospective partners on these novel and exciting targets discovered using AI


The SAB was presented with comprehensive data and information regarding the large number of novel drug targets identified as part of the CytoReason collaboration in June 2023, along with a proposed list of prioritised candidates. Prioritisation was based on several key criteria and an evaluation by both Poolbeg and CytoReason's teams of expert biologists and data scientists to identify the top-ranking genes potentially suitable for the treatment of influenza.


The members of the SAB considered the data and were impressed with the outputs of the programme, a consensus was reached on the prioritised list of novel drug targets to bring forward for lab-based validation, which is expected to complete in 2024. They also provided valuable insight into how to most effectively validate the targets in line with Poolbeg's model.


The global interest in AI-led drug discovery continues to grow, with Big Pharma investing heavily in the space. This approach to drug discovery enables identification of targets faster, at lower cost, with reduced risk, and a higher likelihood of success. The Company continues to discuss the exciting outputs from its AI-led drug discovery programmes with prospective partners.


Prof Luke O'Neill, SAB Chair and Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute at Trinity College Dublin said, "I am excited by the potential of these novel drug targets generated in Poolbeg's AI-led drug discovery programme. Global focus on AI-led drug discovery continues to grow and Poolbeg is leading the way due to the uniqueness and the quality of the data incorporated into its programme which has unveiled unparalleled insights into human disease."


Prof Brendan Buckley, SAB Member and Honorary Clinical Professor at University College Cork and University College Dublin said: "Influenza is a disease which affects millions each year and there remains a significant unmet need for effective treatments. By targeting specific genes which are involved in influenza disease progression and severity, this approach could transform the treatment of this infectious disease for both seasonal and pandemic strains."


Jeremy Skillington, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Poolbeg Pharma, said: "The endorsement of these prioritised targets generated from our AI-led drug discovery programme by the Scientific Advisory Board validates our approach and strategy going forward. We are committed to improving the world's access to critically needed treatments, and we believe our use of such innovative technology will play a pivotal role in advancing healthcare solutions."


- Ends -



Poolbeg Pharma Plc

Jeremy Skillington, CEO

Ian O'Connell, CFO


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About Poolbeg Pharma

Poolbeg Pharma specialises in the development of innovative medicines to address the unmet need in infectious and other prevalent diseases. Poolbeg Pharma has a disciplined portfolio approach to mitigate risk, accelerate drug development, and enhance investor returns. The Company simultaneously advances multiple programmes in cost-effective clinical trials, rapidly generating early human safety and efficacy data to enable early partnering / out-licensing, with the funds generated reinvested in the pipeline. Poolbeg Pharma also uses AI to interrogate human challenge trial data sets to quickly identify new targets and drugs, leading to faster development and greater commercial appeal.


The Company is targeting the growing infectious disease market. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, infectious disease has become one of the fastest growing pharma markets and is expected to exceed $250bn by 2025. Through opportunistic identification of assets which complement Poolbeg Pharma's existing pipeline, the Company is progressing programmes in oncology and metabolic syndromes; adding disease areas with significant addressable markets.


With its initial assets from hVIVO plcan industry leading infectious disease and human challenge trials business, Poolbeg Pharma has access to knowledge, experience, and clinical data from over 20 years of human challenge trials. The Company is using these insights to acquire new assets as well as reposition clinical stage products, reducing spend and risk. Amongst its portfolio of exciting assets, Poolbeg Pharma has a small molecule immunomodulator for severe influenza and other acute inflammatory conditions (POLB 001) which produces a highly significant reduction in p38 MAP kinase driven cytokines in a clinical setting; a first-in-class, intranasally administered RNA-based immunotherapy for respiratory virus infections (POLB 002); and a vaccine candidate for Melioidosis (POLB 003). The Company is progressing two Artificial Intelligence (AI) Programmes to add promising new assets to its pipeline as well as developing an Oral Vaccine Programme and utilising its licensed Oral Delivery Platform to target metabolic conditions.  


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