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Open Orphan raises £12m in sought-after share placing


Open Orphan chairman Cathal Friel

Open Orphan chairman Cathal Friel

Open Orphan chairman Cathal Friel

Dublin-listed pharma services company Open Orphan has raised £12m (€13.4m) via an oversubscribed share placing. The Europe-focused firm specialises in rare disease and so-called orphan drugs.

The funds were raised through the placing of new ordinary shares and an offer for subscription conducted by PrimaryBid, all at a price of 11 pence per new ordinary share.

PrimaryBid is an online funding platform. It enables investors to 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.

The money raised will be used to ramp up the group's Covid-19 antiviral testing capacity which is currently 3,000 tests per day.

Open Orphan also aims to maximise Covid-19 opportunities including accelerating the development of challenge study models for the novel coronavirus.

The group is experiencing high inbound demand from Covid-19 vaccine developers around the world.

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

The firm also plans to expand existing laboratory testing services to third-party pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Open Orphan's strategy is to become 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 - the date immediately before the announcement of the Quotient partnership on May 11.

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

Cathal Friel, chairman of Open Orphan, said: "Open Orphan is now a fast-growing, and soon-to-be-profitable, specialist CRO pharmaceutical services business with a market-leading position in the rapidly expanding market of testing vaccines and antivirals.

We are delighted by the heavily oversubscribed fundraise which has brought many new leading blue-chip institutional shareholders to our share register."

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

Shares in the company were down 6pc in London yesterday.

Irish Independent