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Open Orphan wins new contract


Cathal Friel, chairman of Open Orphan

Cathal Friel, chairman of Open Orphan

Cathal Friel, chairman of Open Orphan

Dublin-listed Open Orphan has won a £4.3m (€4.7m) contract to conduct a human viral challenge study.

The agreement is with one of the world's top 10 vaccine companies, it said.

This trial will be conducted in Open Orphan's dedicated human viral challenge quarantine unit in London.

The facility is Europe's only commercial 24-bedroom quarantine clinic with an on-site virology laboratory, according to the company.

Work on the contract has started and the majority of revenues will be generated in the first half of next year.

Cathal Friel, executive chairman of Open Orphan, said: "Open Orphan continues to execute on its substantial pipeline that has been built up by the expertise and experience of our professional and hard working teams in Hvivo and Venn Life Sciences.

"We are focused on continuing to deliver large and profitable contracts which demonstrate Hvivo's position as the world leader in the testing of vaccines and antivirals using human challenge clinical trials."

Europe-focused Open Orphan specialises in rare disease and so-called orphan drugs - treatments developed for medical conditions which, because they are so rare, few pharmaceutical companies pursue research into.

Earlier this year it said it is rapidly advancing a number of coronavirus challenge study models and expects to be helping many Covid-19 vaccine development companies to test their vaccines.

Hvivo, a subsidiary of Open Orphan, also works with companies in the UK and Ireland to provide Covid-19 testing to employees.

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This is the latest in a number of contract wins for the company amid a period of rapid growth.

Last month, it signed a contract with a global pharmaceutical company to carry out a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) human challenge study trial. That contract is valued at £4m (€4.4m).

The company was founded in 2017 with the aim of becoming a leading specialist contract research pharmaceutical services business.

In May, Open Orphan raised £12m (€13.2m) via an oversubscribed share placing.

Last year it acquired Venn Life Sciences in a reverse take-over. And in January it completed the merger with Hvivo.

The company is due to publish its interim results tomorrow.

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