US likely to allow Poolbeg application to expand intellectual property protection for influenza drug

Open Orphan spinout has applied for extra intellectual property protection for uses against other illnesses

Poolbeg Pharma said on Tuesday that the US Patent and Trademarks Office has indicated that it is likely to accept the company’s application to expand its intellectual property protections around its lead asset, a drug called POLB 001.

Mostly aimed at treating severe influenza, the clinical late-stage pharmaceutical company – which spun out from Open Orphan in 2021 – received UK regulatory approval in July to proceed with human clinical trials of the drug.

While London-listed Poolbeg already holds European and US patents for the drug for the treatment of flu, POLB 001 has other potential uses, including the treatment of hypercytokinemia.

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Otherwise known as “cytokine storm”, the life-threatening illness can occur as a result of a severe immune response to respiratory illnesses such as Covid-19 and Ebola.


A spokesman for Poolbeg said the company needed extra intellectual property protections for this element, which it now expects to receive shortly following the US Patent and Trademarks Office’s indication that the company’s main claim is allowable.

In a statement Poolbeg chief executive Jeremy Skillington said: “We are delighted to receive confirmation from the US Patent and Trademarks Office that the main claim is allowable, and we look forward to updating the market when we receive the formal patent grant in due course.

“Enhanced IP protection of our assets across key markets, such as the US, increases the overall value of these products to potential partners. This is particularly important as we move closer to the completion of our POLB 001 LPS human challenge trial, with initial results expected by year-end 2022.”

Poolbeg’s share price rose 4.5 per cent in trading on Tuesday following the announcement.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times