hVIVO plc (LON:HVO) (formerly Open Orphan plc), a rapidly growing specialist contract research organisation (CRO) and world leader in testing infectious and respiratory disease products using human challenge clinical trials, has announced that it has signed a £5.2m contract with a global biotechnology company headquartered in Asia Pacific to test their respiratory syncytial virus vaccine candidate, using hVIVO’s established RSV Human Challenge Study Model. The Company also announces that it will provide a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2022 on 25 January 2023.
The Phase 2a double-blinded placebo-controlled human challenge trial will take place at the Company’s specialist quarantine facilities in London and will evaluate the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of the client’s vaccine candidate against RSV infection. The study is expected to commence in H2 2023, with the revenue being recognised across 2023 and 2024. As part of the study, hVIVO will recruit healthy volunteers via the Company’s dedicated volunteer recruitment arm, FluCamp.
This is the first human challenge trial contract that hVIVO has signed with a client in the Asia-Pacific (“APAC”) region in over a decade, and is a growth area for the Company as it seeks to further diversify its client base and orderbook. The contract also further highlights the growing demand for challenge trials from global biopharmaceutical companies as they seek to gain cost-effective efficacy data to de-risk their development programmes and enhance their candidate’s value before commencing later-stage field studies.
hVIVO has three decades of experience and expertise in safely conducting challenge studies across a range of respiratory viruses, including various strains of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human rhinovirus (HRV – common cold virus), and asthma, as well as malaria.
Yamin ‘Mo’ Khan, Chief Executive Officer of hVIVO, said: “I am delighted to have signed this contract with a biotechnology company headquartered in Asia Pacific to test its RSV vaccine candidate, which is our first contract signed in the region in over a decade. APAC has been identified as a key growth region for the Company, and this contract is an encouraging indicator that our strategy there is bearing fruit. I am optimistic that more biopharma companies in the APAC region will increasingly recognise both the value of human challenge trials, and hVIVO’s reputation as the ‘go-to’ partner in the market.
“This award further strengthens our revenue visibility into 2024 and gives weight to the fact that we have a strong and sustainable growth model. The team has worked hard to achieve record numbers in 2022, and this award is the perfect start to 2023.”
Dr Andrew Catchpole, Chief Scientific Officer of hVIVO said: “Although RSV has a low chance of causing serious illness in healthy adults, it can be highly virulent for children and the elderly. The disease has caused particular strain on paediatric health this winter in the US and Europe, with reports suggesting newborns are being hospitalised in the US at seven times the rate observed in 2018, the last non-COVID-19 winter season1. This has reinforced the global need for innovative vaccines and antivirals; the hVIVO RSV Human Challenge Model can play a critical role in bringing these treatments to market more quickly.”
1. CNBC News, 18 November 2022: Children’s hospitals call on Biden to declare emergency in response to ‘unprecedented’ RSV surge