449: Cathal Friel & Jeremy Skillington of Poolbeg Pharma discuss progress on their lead asset POLB 001


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Cathal Friel & Jeremy Skillington of Poolbeg Pharma #POLB discuss the clinical development progress of its lead asset, POLB 001, a small molecule immunomodulator for the treatment of severe influenza.
The Company intends to commence the Phase Ib human challenge study of POLB 001 in June 2022 which will be a key step in the molecule's development. To enable this study, the Company has signed a Letter of Intent to retain the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR) to run the challenge study and signed an agreement with SEDA Pharmaceutical Development Services for drug formulation services. A vendor has also been selected for GMP* manufacturing of POLB 001.
In this study, clinical researchers from CHDR will stimulate a healthy volunteer's immune system with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in a safe and controlled clinical environment. The study will provide key human data on the efficacy of POLB 001 in dampening the immune response in otherwise healthy volunteers. It will use LPS to simulate the effects of treating severe influenza in the volunteers without the virus itself being present. In cases of severe influenza, the body produces an over-heightened immune response that can cause more damage to the body than the virus itself. POLB 001's mode of action is to reduce this hyper-immune response. The design of the study (the study protocol) is expected to be finalised by the end of Q1 2022.
In advance of the Phase Ib study commencing, the Company has completed the manufacturing of a non-GMP* batch of POLB 001 which is on hand for any non-clinical (not administered to humans) requirements, such as formulation. This is also an important step in validating the manufacturing process. On this basis, manufacturing can now be scaled up as required as the clinical development phase progresses. The Company will now move towards manufacturing GMP* grade POLB 001 material needed for the LPS challenge study and has similarly selected a vendor for this work.

About Poolbeg Pharma
Poolbeg Pharma is a clinical stage infectious disease pharmaceutical company, with a capital light clinical model which aims to develop multiple products faster and more cost effectively than the conventional biotech model. The Company, headquartered in London, is led by a team with a track record of creation and delivery of shareholder value and aspires to become a "one-stop shop" for Big Pharma seeking mid-stage products to licence or acquire.
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.
With its initial assets from Open Orphan plc, an industry leading infectious disease and human challenge trials business, Poolbeg 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. It already has a Phase II ready repositioned small molecule immunomodulator for severe influenza and a portfolio of other exciting assets. The Company plans to broaden this portfolio further going forward and is in active discussions with AI data analysis platforms to help accelerate the power of its human challenge model data and biobank.

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