Poolbeg Pharma (AIM: POLB, OTCQB: POLBF, ‘Poolbeg’ or the ‘Company’), a leading infectious disease focused biopharmaceutical company, announces that it has successfully identified potential new drug candidates from its Respiratory Syncytial Virus (‘RSV’) artificial intelligence (‘AI’) Programme with OneThree Biotech, Inc.
Since initiating the collaboration in February 2022, Poolbeg’s scientific team has worked closely with OneThree to build a tailored AI approach that leverages Poolbeg’s unique RSV human challenge trial data in order to identify disease-relevant biological pathways and potential drug targets. Based on those newly discovered drug targets, the collaboration has now identified a number of promising drug candidates to rapidly bring forward to lab-based validation to determine the full potential of these assets.
The Company has prioritised compounds with existing Phase I clinical data and which could, if successfully validated, be repositioned as novel treatments for RSV infection. Candidates with solid safety and pharmacodynamic data in humans are well positioned to rapidly enter a clinical trial to generate early human efficacy data for RSV. This is in line with Poolbeg’s efficient, capital light clinical development strategy that is at the core of its ambitious growth model.
RSV, which inflames the smallest airways of the lungs, usually sends an average of 58,000–80,000 children under the age of 5 to hospital each year in the US alone, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). RSV can also be dangerous for adults over the age of 65, resulting in around 177,000 hospitalisations per year in the United States alone. The current cold and flu season commenced about two months earlier than anticipated and already rivals some of the worst seasons on record with RSV hospitalising young children in the United States and Europe at an alarming rate. Public health officials have been warning for weeks that a “tripledemic” of SARS-CoV-2, influenza and RSV would strain an already weary healthcare system. RSV has made so many young children ill this fall that weekly paediatric hospitalisations in the US are the highest recorded.
Jeremy Skillington, PhD, CEO of Poolbeg Pharma said: “In the past few months, RSV has been sending children to hospital at alarming rates in the United States and Europe. As paediatric units fill beyond capacity, and our healthcare systems contend with a ‘tripledemic’ of RSV, influenza and SARS-CoV-2, the need for better treatments has never been so urgent.
We’re impressed with the quality of work executed so far with OneThree leveraging their AI expertise to present new drug potential candidates from our unique human challenge trial data which Poolbeg will now optimise for further development in RSV, the only one of the three main respiratory illnesses for which there are not yet any approved vaccines and where treatment options are limited.”
Neel S. Madhukar, PhD, co-founder and CEO of OneThree Biotech, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Poolbeg and to have the opportunity to deploy the ATLANTIS platform to complete the first ever AI-driven analysis of RSV disease progression data. I am delighted that Poolbeg’s unique dataset combined with OneThree’s externally validated platform have now delivered new actionable insights surrounding disease biology and drug discovery that can bring much needed treatment options for both the young and the elderly; the most vulnerable to RSV infection.”