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Open Orphan proposes raising up to £12m


Open Orphan chairman Cathal Friel

Open Orphan chairman Cathal Friel

Open Orphan chairman Cathal Friel

Dublin-listed pharma services company Open Orphan has announced plans to raise up to £12m (€13.4m) via a share placing.

Europe-focused Open Orphan specialises in rare disease and so-called orphan drugs.

The funds will be raised via a placing of new ordinary shares to institutional and other investors, subscription of new ordinary shares to certain investors, and an offer subscription for new ordinary shares by PrimaryBid all at a price of 11 pence per new ordinary share.

PrimaryBid is an online funding platform. It enables investors have access to public companies raising capital.

Earlier this week Open Orphan said a subsidiary, Hvivo, will have the capability to undertake "up to 3,000" antibody tests a day within two weeks. The test is designed as a serological disease screen specific to Covid-19.

Proceeds from the money raised will be used to ramp up Covid-19 antiviral testing to the group's current capacity for 3,000 tests per day.

Open Orphan also aims to maximise Covid-19 opportunities including accelerating the development of both a seasonal coronavirus and a Covid-19 virus challenge study model to benefit from the group's inbound demand from Covid-19 vaccine developers globally.

These challenge study models have the ability to speed up the development of a vaccine by two-three years, the company said.

It will also used the money to expand existing laboratory testing services to third party pharmaceutical and biotech companies in line with the company’s strategy of becoming a leading services provider to the growing viral, and respiratory diseases sector of the pharmaceutical industry.

The share issue price represents a premium of 3.8pc to the closing price of 10.6 pence per ordinary share on May 7, being the date immediately before the announcement of the Quotient partnership on May 11.

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It represents a discount of approximately 26.4pc to the closing middle market price of 14.95 pence per ordinary share on May 21.

Arden Partners and FinnCap are acting as joint brokers in connection with the placing and Arden as nominated adviser.

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