Artificial Intelligence News

AI program discovers multiple influenza drug targets


Poolbeg Pharma, a clinical-stage biopharma company focused on infectious and other common diseases, has announced a breakthrough in the world’s first influenza Artificial Intelligence (AI) Program in partnership with the company CytoReason.

Poolbeg’s disease progression data from the human influenza challenge trial combined with CytoReason’s extensive repository of curated disease data were analyzed using CytoReason’s AI-led platform. Such analyzes have led to the discovery of new drug targets for the treatment of influenza.

Identification of drug targets from this data set has previously been successful because p38 MAP Kinase, which is inhibited by POLB 001, was identified as a trigger for severe influenza but this required manual analysis which took several years. However, through leveraging CytoReason’s AI technology, Poolbeg has now identified several new drug targets within 15 months. In addition, independent CytoReason analysis confirmed the importance of the p38 MAP kinase pathway in influenza, providing further validation for Poolbeg’s POLB 001 program.

Second AI program

The company is exploring the most effective ways to further develop new drug targets to generate value. This marks Poolbeg’s second AI program success, following the identification of a potential new drug candidate for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) announced in December 2022.

Jeremy Skillington, chief executive officer of Poolbeg Pharma, said: “Our collaboration with CytoReason has put Poolbeg at the forefront of AI drug discovery. CytoReason’s in-depth interrogation of uniquely rich data derived from human trials has deepened our knowledge of influenza, resulting in the identification of new influenza drug targets. There is a significant unmet need for new and better treatments for susceptible patients with influenza and this is a major milestone in the delivery of new therapies that can improve patient outcomes and global health.”

David Harel, chief executive officer of CytoReason, said: “Once again, we were pleased to see that leveraging CytoReason’s computational disease model to extract insights from Poolbeg’s unique human challenge data can optimize the target discovery process. More importantly, this impressive result would not have been possible without the commitment, transparency and reciprocity of both teams.”

In December, Poolbeg Pharma announced it had successfully identified a potential new drug candidate from the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) AI program with OneThree Biotech, Inc.



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