Partnership establishes several influenza therapy targets using artificial intelligence
Poolbeg Pharma – a company concentrating on infectious conditions with a high unmet medical need – has announced a notable breakthrough in its world-first influenza artificial intelligence (AI) programme with CytoReason. Poolbeg has been collabroating with CytoReason since last year.
Poolbeg’s disease progression data from across influenza human challenge trials – combined with CytoReason’s wider repositories of curated disease data – was studied using the AI-led platform. This analysis has led to the establishing of several novel drug targets for treating influenza.
The discovery of such targets from the data-sets has had some previous success – ‘p38 MAP kinase’, inhibited by Poolbeg’s POLB 001 programme, was identified as a driver of severe influenza. It did, however, require manual analysis – a process that takes several years.
In contrast, the incorporation of CytoReason’s cutting-edge AI technology has allowed Poolbeg to identify multiple novel drug targets in just 15 months. Furthermore, CytoReason’s analysis further confirmed the significance of the p38 MAP kinase pathway in influenza, providing increased validation for POLB 001.
It also marks Poolbeg’s second successful AI project, following the identification of potential new candidates for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), announced at the end of 2022. Poolbeg is now exploring the most impactful way to develop significant novel drug targets.
David Harel, chief executive officer at CytoReason, explained: "Once again, we’re pleased to see that leveraging CytoReason’s computational disease models to extract insights from Poolbeg’s unique human challenge data can optimise the target discovery process. More importantly, these impressive results would not be possible without the commitment, transparency, and reciprocity of both teams.”
Jeremy Skillington, chief executive officer of Poolbeg Pharma, reflected: “Our collaboration with CytoReason has put Poolbeg at the forefront of AI drug discovery. CytoReason’s deep interrogation of the uniquely rich data derived from human challenge trials has deepened our knowledge of influenza, resulting in the identification of multiple novel influenza drug targets.”
He added: “There is a significant unmet need for new and better treatments for vulnerable patients with influenza and this is a major milestone in the delivery of new therapies that can improve patient outcomes and global health.”