Poolbeg Pharma plc (LON:POLB), a leading infectious disease focused biopharmaceutical company, has announced that it has acquired an exclusive licence from InsuCaps Limited, a sister company of AnaBio Technologies, to use InsuCaps’ patented microencapsulation and nanoencapsulation oral delivery technologies in metabolic syndrome related diseases including obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes. Obesity alone costs the US healthcare system c. $173bn a year.
Following the licence, in H1 2023 Poolbeg will rapidly commence a proof-of-technology clinical trial to determine that a Glucagon-like Peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1) agonist can be safely delivered orally in humans. GLP-1 agonists, which are used to treat diabetes and obesity, represent an extremely large, fast-growing opportunity estimated to grow to c.$22bn per annum by 2025. At present, all but one GLP-1 products are injectables, which are more onerous for patients than oral delivery.
The upcoming trial is designed to provide data confirming that the patented microencapsulation and nanoencapsulation technologies can safely deliver GLP-1 orally, with results expected to be announced later next year. In line with its rapid-partnering model, Poolbeg then intends to licence the technology to pharma and biotech for use in obesity and / or diabetes, as well as other active molecules in metabolic syndrome related diseases.
This oral GLP-1clinical trial rapidly follows the completion of Poolbeg’s LPS challenge trial for POLB 001 and, like the LPS challenge study, is in line with Poolbeg’s efficient, capital light approach to clinical development at the core of the Poolbeg model.
This exclusive licence is in addition to Poolbeg’s exclusive license to AnaBio’s microencapsulation and nanoencapsulation technologies which underpins Poolbeg’s Oral Vaccine Platform. As recently announced, a Poolbeg-led consortium was awarded €2.3m in non-dilutive funding by the Irish Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund to progress the Oral Vaccine Platform.
Addition to Poolbeg’s Scientific Advisory Board
Poolbeg has also added Prof Brendan Buckley to its Scientific Advisory Board. He is the former Chief Medical Officer at ICON plc, a medical graduate of University College Cork and a doctoral graduate in Biochemistry in the Faculty of Medicine at Oxford University. Prof Buckley has advised Poolbeg since inception and has deep experience in metabolic diseases including over 40 years’ experience in clinical practice as a Consultant Physician in endocrinology, diabetes and in academic clinical pharmacology. In addition, Brendan has sat on the European Medical Agency (EMA)’s Scientific Advisory Group for Diabetes and Endocrinology. He has published over 150 scientific papers, mainly on metabolic disease, as well as the recent key opinion-leading book ‘Re-Engineering Clinical Trials’.
Jeremy Skillington, PhD, CEO of Poolbeg Pharma said: “Poolbeg saw the potential for microencapsulation and nanoencapsulation oral delivery technologies in vaccines, and this has been further validated by the grant from the Irish Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. Drawing on our growing understanding of this technology from our Oral Vaccine Platform, we believe that there is significant opportunity in other adjacent areas, such as metabolic diseases. Diabetes and obesity are extremely fast growing markets and the ability to administer drugs orally, rather than through injection, will improve access and quality of life for millions of patients. We are really excited to be moving swiftly to a proof-of-concept trial in H1 2023 to test the oral delivery of GLP-1 in humans, with the results to be announced later in the year.”
Dr Sinéad Bleiel, Founder & Chief Scientific Officer of InsuCaps said: “We are excited to be expanding our working relationship with Poolbeg and believe that the trial commencing in H1 2023 will deliver meaningful data showing our ability to orally deliver GLP-1 safely and efficiently. As the world is beginning to realise, GLP-1 and similar metabolic peptides have life changing effects for diabetics and are becoming the obesity management drug of choice for the years ahead. We believe that our microencapsulation and nanoencapsulation oral delivery technologies can potentially deliver significant quality of life benefits to patients suffering from these long-term metabolic syndrome conditions.”