Poolbeg Pharma signs deal with AI company on influenza data

Project could yield new and better treatments for disease

Infectious disease specialist Poolbeg Pharma has signed a deal with artificial intelligence company CytoReason to provide analysis of data from human challenge studies on influenza.

The project, which is due to commence immediately,could yield new and better treatments for influenza. It is expected to yield results in early 2023.

CytoReason develops computational disease models for efficient drug discovery and development. Five of the world's top 10 pharma companies use CytoReason's technology including Pfizer, Sanofi, Merck KGaA and Roche.

The machine learning algorithm uses the clinical data to build models of human disease, which can then be used by its partners to identify novel targets, prioritise mono/combination therapies, find biomarkers, and understand which patients will benefit most from those new treatments.



It will analyse blood transcriptomics, proteomics, DNA sequences and viral loads and disease signs and symptoms from the human challenge studies.

The partnership is a significant milestone in the company’s strategy to use its proprietary databank to identify new pharmaceutical assets using artificial intelligence. Using AI will allow Poolbeg to identify more targets, quicker and more cost effectively than before.

"This exciting deal is all about creating opportunities. Opportunities to unlock the potential of our unique bank of human challenge data. Opportunities to develop drugs for infectious disease more quickly and cost effectively. And opportunities to tackle the growing global threat of influenza," said Jeremy Skillington, chief executive of Poolbeg Pharma.

“This is the first time AI analysis will be undertaken on influenza human challenge trial data and we look forward to the results early next year.”

Poolbeg previously announced a deal with OneThree Biotech in February 2021 to identify new drug targets and treatments for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) using AI.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist