Open Orphan pharmaceutical company expands Covid-19 trial

Challenge study is providing valuable insight into biology of the virus, firm says

Pharmaceutical services company Open Orphan is expanding its Covid-19 challenge study, inoculating up to 20 further volunteers.

The government-funded trial, which is being carried out with subsidiary hVivo, involves deliberately infecting people with Covid in a controlled setting to see how much exposure is needed to start displaying symptoms.

The company will then treat the trial volunteers with a vaccine.

Open Orphan said data from the study is already providing valuable insight into the biology of the virus, and will improve the ability to manage the virus and deliver a range of treatment options in the future.


"At Open Orphan we are committed to helping the UK government in partnership with two great institutions, Imperial College London and the Royal Free Hospital, to discover effective treatments for Covid-19. This study expansion further illustrates the effectiveness and importance of this study," said Cathal Friel, executive chairman of Open Orphan.

Separately, the company announced it had signed a new contract worth €900,000 with an existing customer for clinical trial management by its Netherlands office.

It also said it had completed its acquisition of CHIMagents, after signing an option to acquire the company in July last year.

CHIMagents assists in the design, manufacture and testing of challenge agents for use in challenge studies.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist