Poolbeg Pharma gets licence to develop respiratory treatment

Immunotherapy could be used to treat conditions such as influenza and Covid-19

Infectious disease company Poolbeg Pharma has secured a licence to develop an immunotherapy treatment to target respiratory virus infections which could include Covid-19.

The dual antiviral prophylactic and therapeutic candidate, which is at a late-pre-clinical development stage, was developed at the University of Warwick and derived from 20 years of research with virologists Prof Andrew Easton and Prof Nigel Dimmock.

The therapy targets pan-respiratory virus infections, which could include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, SARS-CoV-2 and others.

Administered through the nose, the RNA-based immunotherapy triggers nasal cells into an antiviral state to protect from the infecting virus. At the same time it blocks the cells from making more virus by directly preventing its replication.

Combined these actions can reduce infectious viral loads and improve disease symptoms.

Respiratory virus infections are considered a top five global killer resulting in more than three million annual deaths worldwide, the company said, adding that there was a significant unmet need for improved respiratory virus infection therapies. Available treatments, vaccines and antiviral drugs, it says, typically target individual specific viruses.