Open Orphan reiterates £50m profit guidance, announces plans to rebrand as Hvivo

First half revenues at Dublin-listed pharmaceutical company down 18% despite ‘strong order book’

Open Orphan was founded by Cathal Friel, current executive chairman of the company.

Dublin and London-listed pharmaceutical company Open Orphan announced on Thursday that it will rename itself Hvivo from next month.

The rare and orphan drug consulting services platform also reported results for the first half of the year, revealing that revenues declined 18 per cent between January and June to £18.9 million (€21.7 million) from £23.2 million (€26.7 million) from the same period last year.

However, the company reiterated its £50 million (€57.5 million) profit guidance for 2021, underpinned by robust trading in July and August. The group — which was formed when Cathal Friel reversed his pharma services business of the same name into Dublin-listed drug clinical trials manager Venn Life Sciences — said its contracted order book had grown nearly “threefold” over the period to roughly £70 million (€57.7 million) from £25 million (€27.8 million) in the first half of 2021.

The group achieved earnings before interest, tax, deductions and amortisation (EBITDA) growth of 10 per cent over the period, the first time it has done so, said chief executive Yahmin Khan.


In a regulatory filing on Thursday, the group said that its decision to take on the Hvivo name “reflects the company’s core human challenge and early clinical services business”. It said Hvivo “has strong global brand recognition within the biopharma industry and beyond, as well as aligning the company more closely with its long and established heritage”.

Its new stock market ticker will the HVO from October 26th. “Shareholders will be unaffected by the change of name and existing share certificates should be retained and will remain valid,” the company said.

A subsidiary of Open Orphan called Hvivo announced last month that it had signed a £10.4 million (€12.3 million) contract with a major pharmaceutical 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 a human challenge trial to test the client’s antiviral product.

Looking ahead, Open Orphan said it had seen “an exceptionally strong start” to the second of the half of 2022 and reaffirmed the board’s confidence “of meeting current expectations” for the financial year.

“I am pleased to report that the Group has leveraged the strong foundations laid in 2021,” said Yamin Khan, chief executive officer of Open Orphan. “Importantly, the group achieved double digit EBITDA profit margins for the first time, a key goal for the business following the first full year of EBITDA profitability last year. In the second half, we expect revenues to grow considerably and profit margins to increase further as a number of significant contracts signed earlier in the year enter the clinic.”

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times