Open Orphan’s hVIVO signs £8.1m Asthma human challenge study contract

Open Orphan plc (LON:ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist contract research organisation and world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials, has announced that hVIVO, a subsidiary of Open Orphan plc, has signed an £8.1m contract with a major global pharmaceutical company to test its inhaled human rhinovirus antiviral product using the hVIVO Asthma Human Challenge Study Model, which uses a hRV challenge agent.

Asthma is a long-term condition that is characterised by inflammation and narrowing of the small airways of the lungs, which causes coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. 5.4 million people in the UK currently receive treatment for asthma. Illnesses such as the common cold, which is most commonly caused by HRV, can worsen symptoms.

This antiviral study will be conducted by hVIVO and is expected to commence in H1 2022. The Company expects the bulk of the revenue from this contract to be recognised across 2021 and 2022. This new contract further underlines the increased international focus and investment into respiratory and infectious diseases following the outbreak of COVID-19, in areas such as the common cold, Influenza, and many other areas which were previously underserved by the pharmaceutical industry.

hVIVO has two decades of experience and expertise in safely conducting challenge studies across a range of respiratory and infectious disease viruses, including various strains of influenza, RSV, HRV, Asthma and Malaria, etc.

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of Open Orphan, said: “We are pleased to sign this contract with this top five European pharmaceutical company to test its inhaled hRV antiviral product using our Asthma Human Challenge Study Model. This contract demonstrates how our broad range of challenge study models can support our clients’ varied infectious and respiratory disease product pipelines, and adds to our exciting pipeline of RSV, hRV, Influenza, Malaria, and Asthma challenge study contracts.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that for the past 30 years there has been very little investment into the infectious disease and respiratory products space. As such, when the pandemic arrived the world discovered that the medicine cabinet of infectious disease products to deal with COVID-19 was virtually empty. Post-pandemic, most governments across the world, all of the Big Pharma companies and many of the smaller pharma companies are now investing hugely in new infectious and respiratory disease products and as such, this market is expected to grow from $20bn in 2019 to $250bn by 2025. This restocking of the pharmaceutical industries medicine cabinet of infectious disease products around the world is now leading to an enormous expansion of investment into the infectious disease and respiratory product market and will be seen as one of the biggest growth opportunities in the history of the pharmaceutical industry.

“Having recently launched our Malaria Human Challenge Study Model, adding to our world leading portfolio of challenge study models, Open Orphan is now ideally situated to be one of the few companies in the world that can quickly and efficiently test a broad range of these new infectious and respiratory disease products in our human challenge clinical trial studies. Open Orphan is well placed to work with Big Pharma and biotechs alike to move their products through the clinic as human challenge becomes a part of mainstream clinical trial design.”

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