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Pin to quick picksPoolbeg Pharma Share News (POLB)

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Poolbeg expands its focus molecule into oncology

Mon, 16th Jan 2023 15:48

(Sharecast News) - Poolbeg Pharma announced the strategic expansion of 'POLB 001' into oncology on Monday.

The AIM-traded firm said that while investigating the role of cytokine release syndrome (CRS) in severe influenza, it discovered data specific to the overt immune response in CAR T cell patients that suggest POLB 001 as a potential treatment option for the severe complication.

It has submitted a patent application for the use of POLB 001 in addressing the impact of CRS in CAR T cell patients.

The company described CAR T cell therapies as a form of immunotherapy for cancer that have produced "remarkable results" across a range of haematological malignancies, including cases of complete and durable responses in patients with advanced leukaemia and lymphoma who failed on previous therapies.

"A significant number of patients suffer treatment related side effects, including CRS which in severe form can be life threatening," the board said in its statement, adding that cell therapies could induce such effects in up to 95% of patients.

"Poolbeg has identified POLB 001 as a potentially valuable companion therapy to be used in conjunction with existing CAR T cell therapies to address this significant unmet need.

"POLB 001's mode of action, reducing hyperinflammation which is associated with CRS, has the potential to significantly reduce the serious adverse effects experienced by many CAR T cell patients."

The company said the filed patent application was expected to provide class protection for the use of p38 inhibitors in CAR T cell treatment, and would open up a "significant new market opportunity" for POLB 001 in addition to severe influenza.

A long-term strategic objective for Poolbeg had been, and continued to be, to evaluate POLB 001's potential in additional indications to "fully unlock the potential value" of the molecule, and strengthen the firm's position with a view to potential partnering and out-licensing.

The company said it was performing oncology clinical trial-enabling activities to progress towards trial initiation in CAR T cell patients in 2024.

Further oncology-related data, regulatory feedback and non-clinical development updates were expected later in the year.

"Hyperinflammation as a driver of disease severity in influenza is also fundamental to CRS, which can severely complicate CAR T cell therapy of patients with blood cancers," said Brendan Buckley, a member of Poolbeg's scientific advisory board.

"By reducing runaway inflammation associated with CRS, POLB 001 has the potential to significantly reduce the serious adverse effects that many CAR T cell patients suffer."

Professor Buckley said that with 18 million to 19 million cases of cancer diagnosed globally each year, the use of cell therapies was predicted to expand "significantly" over the coming years, with the CAR T cell market expected to grow to an estimated $6bn by 2031.

"With oncology clinical trial enabling activities for POLB 001 underway, we look forward to updating the market as to the progress of this exciting programme."

At 1625 GMT, shares in Poolbeg Pharma were up 5.55% at 10.08p.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

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