Poolbeg Completes In-Licence of Melioidosis Vaccine Candidate with University College Dublin

21 September 2022

Poolbeg Completes In-Licence of Melioidosis Vaccine Candidate with University College Dublin, targeting an infectious disease with a high mortality rate and growing incidence driven by climate change.

Poolbeg Pharma, (AIM: POLB, OTCQB: POLBF, ‘Poolbeg’ or the ‘Company’) a clinical stage infectious disease pharmaceutical company with a unique capital light clinical model, announces that further to the Option Agreement announced in December 2021, Poolbeg has signed an exclusive Licence Agreement with University College Dublin (UCD) through NovaUCD, the University’s knowledge transfer office, for a late preclinical stage vaccine candidate for Melioidosis, a disease for which there is no current approved vaccine available.

The vaccine candidate, which is being developed by Poolbeg as POLB 003, was invented following many years of research by Associate Professor Siobhán McClean, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, and was a recipient of a Wellcome Trust Award to aid its development.

Associate Professor McClean completed some of the original research to identify the antigens associated with the Melioidosis vaccine candidate at TU Dublin.

Melioidosis, also known as Whitmore’s disease, is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, Poolbeg identified the disease as an infectious disease of interest because of its rising incidence around the world due to climate change and its resistance to antibiotic treatment. As a US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designated biothreat, there is an increasing global need to develop effective vaccines and antibiotics to prevent and treat this disease.

As part of the company’s Option Agreement with UCD, Poolbeg continues to evaluate five other potential vaccine candidates being developed by Associate Professor McClean and her team. This includes Escherichia coli (O157); a powerful toxin that can severely harm children and elderly and leave lasting kidney damage and Pseudomonas aeruginosa; a highly antibiotic resistant bacteria which is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis.

As well as Klebsiella pneumoniae which is a prevalent issue in US Defence and healthcare settings resulting in burdensome management of complications, Burkholderia cepacia complex; a significant cause of hospital-acquired infections with large impact on health budgets and Acinetobacter baumannii which poses a threat to immuno- compromised patients in care settings such as cystic fibrosis patients.

Dr Jeremy Skillington, CEO, Poolbeg Pharma said, Melioidosis presents a growing threat to global health as an infectious disease with no approved vaccine and a high mortality rate. POLB 003 is being developed in line with our capital light approach and represents a significant opportunity for Poolbeg. Combined with the Company’s expertise in infectious diseases it provides the perfect combination to contribute to the global response to this unmet-medical need and potential to generate significant returns for our investors.”

Associate Professor Siobhán McClean, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and inventor of MelioVac, said, “This partnership with Poolbeg will enable the further development of this important vaccine candidate. We are pleased to be bringing our technology, and Poolbeg’s vaccine development expertise and industry network together to fight this growing infectious disease.”

Source: NovaUCD