Pharma firm makes RSV vaccine candidate breakthrough with AI

Pharma firm makes RSV vaccine candidate breakthrough with AI

Wednesday 21 December 2022 10:21 am

Biopharmaceutical firm Poolbeg Pharma has found a number of RSV vaccine candidates via artificial intelligence (AI) in a landmark move to find a treatment for the virus.

The London-listed company prioritized candidates with existing early-stage clinical data, which could be repositioned into new treatments for RSV infection.

Candidates with solid safety data in humans are well positioned to quickly enter a clinical trial to generate early human efficacy data for RSV, the company announced Wednesday.

RSV, which inflames the smallest airways in the lungs, can be dangerous for children or the elderly and is part of the so-called ‘tripledemic’ that the NHS and the US health system are currently facing.

However, the virus has limited treatment options.

Poolbeg Pharma boss Jeremy Skillington said: “In the past few months, RSV has sent children to hospital at an alarming rate in the United States and Europe. As pediatric units fill beyond capacity, and our healthcare systems face a ‘triedemic’ of RSV, influenza and SARS-CoV-2, the need for better treatments has never been more urgent.

“We are impressed with the quality of work carried out to date, with OneThree using their AI expertise to present new drug potential candidates from our unique human challenge trial data which Poolbeg will now optimize for further development in RSV, the only of the three major respiratory diseases for which there are still no approved vaccines and where treatment options are limited.”

British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced in October that it had come close to creating an RSV vaccine, with “exceptional” results from its latest trial.

GSK’s potential jab had an overall effectiveness of 82.6 percent, and was hailed as a “significant” step in finding a vaccine against RSV after 60 years of research by GSK’s chief scientific officer, Tony Wood, at the time .

The Big Pharma firm has tabled plans for regulatory submissions by the end of this year, making a launch in preparation for the 2024/25 RSV season seem likely, according to senior analyst at pharmaceutical data company Citeline, Natasha Boliter.

However, GSK is racing with the likes of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson – which is also working on an RSV treatment – ​​for what is expected to be billions of pounds in sales.

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