Open Orphan raises €13.4m to ramp up Covid-19 study

Challenge study models could speed up the development of a vaccine by up to three years

Dublin-listed pharma services company Open Orphan has raised up to £12 million (€13.4 million) following a conditional offer for shares by technology platform PrimaryBid.

Open Orphan, a European-focused, rare and orphan drug consulting services platform, informed the Irish stock exchange of the development on Friday.

The net proceeds of the fundraising will be used to accelerate the development of both a seasonal coronavirus and a Covid-19 virus challenge study model.

Open Orphan said these challenge study models have the ability to speed up the development of a vaccine by two or three years.

The money will also be used to ramp up Covid-19 antiviral testing from the group’s current capacity for 3,000 tests per day.

Furthermore, it will help to expand existing laboratory testing services to third-party pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

The company said on Friday it was “pleased to announce a conditional offer for subscription via PrimaryBid of new ordinary shares” at an issue price of 11 pence per share.

It said the price represented a premium of 3.8 per cent to the closing price of 10.6 pence per share on May 7th, which was the date immediately before the announcement of a partnership with Swiss pharma firm Quotient on May 11th.


It represents a discount of approximately 26.4 per cent to the closing mid-market price of 14.95 pence per share on May 21st.

The company is also conducting a placing of new shares to institutional and other investors at the issue price by way of an accelerated bookbuild process by Arden Partners and finnCap, and a subscription.

The placing, subscription and PrimaryBid offer raised up to £12 million, the company said.

Open Orphan 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.