Poolbeg Pharma ‘well capitalised’ as company enters ‘exciting phase’

Open Orphan spin-out received UK human trial approval for flu drug in July

London-listed Poolbeg Pharma “is entering a very exciting” phase, its chief executive said on Monday, after the company received human trial approval for its influenza drug in the UK in July.

Unaudited interim results published by the company on Tuesday show the Open Orphan spin-out remained “well capitalised”, said chief executive Jeremy Skillington, with total equity of £21.2 million (€24.6 million) at the end of June and a cash balance of close to £19 million.

Operating losses at the pharmaceutical business, which is targeting the infectious diseases market and specialises in developing immature products to trial, declined from £2.3 million at the start of the year to £1.8 million by the end of June. On the revenue side, Poolbeg generated income from upfront payments for clinical trial and collaboration agreements of £731,000 over the period.

Almost exactly one year after its July 2021 flotation on the AIM market in London, Poolbeg received regulatory approval in the UK to proceed with human clinical trials of its influenza drug POLB 001 earlier this year. Aimed at severe influenza, the drug is a small molecule immunomodulator that “addresses an unmet need” in treatment of the illness, said Mr Skillington at the time.

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On Tuesday, he said: “I am pleased with the progress that the team has made to advance and expand our portfolio of products and platforms, and we intend to build on and accelerate this rate of progress in the remainder of 2022 and beyond. Poolbeg is entering a very exciting phase in its development with a number of near-term value inflection points expected before year end.

“This includes the initial results from our human challenge trial for our severe influenza treatment, POLB 001, after which we will seek to out-licence to pharma and biotech companies, generating revenues from upfront payment and downstream milestones and royalties.”

Mr Skillington said the company had “strong financial resources” to progress its products and that he has “confidence” that the company “can generate strong returns for shareholders”.

Poolbeg’s share price rose 5 per cent in early Tuesday trading following the publication of the results.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times