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Open Orphan in deal that could generate €12m revenue

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Opportunity: Chairman of Open Orphan, Cathal Friel

Opportunity: Chairman of Open Orphan, Cathal Friel

Opportunity: Chairman of Open Orphan, Cathal Friel

Open Orphan, a Europe- focused pharma services company specialising in rare disease and so-called orphan drugs, has agreed a contract with a European biotech company that could generate up to £10.2m (€11.8m) in revenue.

The agreement is for the provision of a human challenge study on a respiratory sync- ytial virus (RSV) vaccine. which is projected to deliver £3.2m in revenue this year.

If the study is successful, it is anticipated that a larger follow-on pivotal challenge examination will commence at the end of 2020.

This could add a minimum of £7m in further revenue.

In a statement, the company said the contract win demonstrates that hVIVO, which is part of Open Orphan, "is successfully converting its pipeline and reinforces its position in the provision of viral challenge studies, vaccine and viral laboratory services, supporting product development for customers developing antivirals, vaccines and respiratory therapeutics."

It added that these services are "particularly relevant and topical" given the spread of the coronavirus.

London-based hVIVO, which was bought by Open Orphan in a reverse takeover last year, has Europe's only commercial 24-bed quarantine clinic and on-site virology laboratory.

hVIVO is the only company in the world with the capability to run an RSV human challenge study.

"This agreement demonstrates one of the benefits of the merger with hVIVO and the opportunity the broadened service offering provides in delivering a catalyst for significant revenue growth and margin expansion within the business," said Cathal Friel, chairman of Open Orphan.

In the short term, the combination of Open Orphan and hVIVO is expected to result in substantial cost savings through the elimination of subcontractor costs where they can be replaced by new capabilities within the company.

Shares in Open Orphan rose by 3pc to close just under 6 pence (€0.68).

Irish Independent