Open Orphan subsidiary signs €12.3m deal with large pharma group

Hvivo will help the company test antiviral products to treat flu

A subsidiary of Dublin-listed pharmaceutical services company Open Orphan has signed a £10.4 million (€12.3 million) contract with a major pharmaceutical company.

Open Orphan, a European-focused, rare and orphan drug consulting services platform, is the result of executive chairman Cathal Friel reversing his pharma services business of the same name into Dublin-listed drug clinical trials manager Venn Life Sciences last year.

Open Orphan informed investors on Monday that Hvivo had signed the deal with an existing top five global pharmaceutical client. This is the third human challenge contract signed with the company.

The contract involves the manufacture of a new batch of H1N1 influenza challenge virus, leveraging off an existing in-house generated challenge model and to conduct a human challenge trial to test the client’s antiviral product.


Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has seen an increase in the number of clients looking to test their vaccines and antivirals against specific subtypes of viruses that are circulating in the population or that have the potential to be widely spread.

Hvivo will recruit healthy volunteers via the company’s volunteer recruitment arm FluCamp. The majority of revenue from the contract is expected to be recognised during 2023.

Yamin Khan, chief executive of Open Orphan, said: “This contract is the third challenge study with this client, and our second end-to-end full-service contract overall.

“Influenza poses a serious global health threat, causing an estimated 290,000-650,000 deaths per year with significant pandemic potential and, as such, the development of new vaccines and antivirals to fight flu remains vitally important.”

Dr Andrew Catchpole, chief scientific officer of Hvivo, said: “This contract is a strong example of where human challenge studies can provide significant value. These studies can quickly and cost-effectively generate efficacy data for our clients in specific viral subtypes.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter