Open Orphan signs £5.7m contract with biotech specialist

By Josh White

Date: Monday 20 Sep 2021

Open Orphan signs £5.7m contract with biotech specialist

(Sharecast News) - Clinical research organisation Open Orphan announced on Monday that its subsidiary hVIVO has signed a £5.7m contract with a specialist biotechnology company developing therapeutics for respiratory viral infections, to test its antiviral product using the hVIVO Influenza human challenge study model.
The AIM-traded firm said the study was expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022, and would be conducted at hVIVO's state-of-the-art facilities in London.

It expected the revenue from the contract to be recognised across 2021 and 2022.

The client's influenza antiviral product had demonstrated effectiveness in animal preclinical models of respiratory viruses, and had several clinical and commercial advantages around convenience, resistance, durability and compatibility when compared to similar products, the company claimed.

Open Orphan said it expected to sign more contracts in the area as attention switched to potential future Influenza outbreaks.

Influenza was expected to be a "major global issue" due to low-level population immunity caused by reduced infection rates over the last 18 months, as a result of Covid-19 mitigation measures such as social distancing and mask wearing.

After a "solidly EBITDA profitable" first half, the contract would help ensure the company entered a period of sustained growth and profitability across a range of challenge studies.

"We are delighted to be working with this biotechnology company to test their exciting antiviral product against our influenza human challenge study model," said executive chairman Cathal Friel.

"As a result of social distancing, hand washing and other Covid-19 mitigation measures, there has been extremely low levels of population immunity to influenza.

"As such, there is an increasing concern that in the year ahead influenza outbreaks could spike considerably and therefore this type of therapeutic could form part of an effective defence against future outbreaks of Influenza due to its compelling array of clinical and commercial advantages."

Friel said the contract was also a "further demonstration" of the firm's expertise and capabilities testing therapeutics across the infectious disease and respiratory market, which was due to grow to more than $250bn by 2025, as pharmaceutical companies looked to restock medicine cabinets with novel vaccines and antivirals.

"With this in mind, we expect that moving into 2022, our work will continue to come from a broad range of infectious and respiratory diseases, as we see rapid growth in those spaces."

At 1413 BST, shares in Open Orphan were down 1.96% at 25p.


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