Poolbeg Pharma plc (LON:POLB, OTCQB: POLBF), a clinical stage infectious disease pharmaceutical company with a unique capital light clinical model, has provided an update on the strengthening of its intellectual property (IP) for its asset POLB 002, a first-in-class, intranasally administered RNA-based immunotherapy for respiratory virus infections.
In January this year, Poolbeg secured an exclusive licence for the dual antiviral prophylactic and therapeutic candidate, which is being developed as POLB 002. Data suggests it could provide pan-viral protection from respiratory virus infections including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), SARS-CoV-2 and others. As a nasally administered and rapidly effective prophylactic antiviral candidate, it could potentially provide an effective solution for protecting at risk patient populations (e.g. the elderly, COPD patients, and asthmatics).
The European Patent Office has granted this important patent in the POLB 002 patent family, which protects the use of a defective interfering (DI) influenza virus against infection by influenza. POLB 002 works by triggering nasal cells into an antiviral state using DI influenza that resembles the infectious influenza virus but doesn’t have the ability to replicate and therefore can provoke an appropriate immune response but does not cause an infection. The Company will continue working with its patent advisors to broaden and expand this patent family, including the method by which defective interfering antiviral agents can be identified. Discussions with patent authorities in other jurisdictions, including the US, are continuing with further positive announcements expected following a recent ‘Notice of Allowance’ communication from the US patent authorities.
The development of POLB 002 and these patent updates come at a critical time with a global focus on respiratory virus infections and when such viruses are considered a top five global killer, resulting in more than three million annual deaths worldwide. The pandemic potential of influenza continues to be monitored closely by the global health authorities, while the World Health Organization (WHO) and infectious hazard experts have guided that there is statistical certainty that a future influenza pandemic can be expected. The CDC has advised that early action and effective preparedness are absolutely essential to mitigating risk, hence highlighting the importance of developing vaccines, prophylactics and antiviral treatments against viruses; with pan-viral products offering an important solution.
Jeremy Skillington, PhD, CEO of Poolbeg Pharma, said: “The granting of this patent marks an important step in our development and protection of this important respiratory virus disease treatment. Data for POLB 002 shows it is able to both prevent viral infections and rapidly reduce viral loads where infection has occurred, improving disease symptoms and aiding recovery. This makes it an attractive candidate in a market where a significant unmet need for the treatment of most respiratory virus infections still exists.
“Our patent portfolio in Europe, US and elsewhere for POLB 002 are growing as part of our overall strategy to enhance the protection of Poolbeg’s assets and we look forward to updating shareholders on future patent grants.”