Dublin-listed clinical trials group Open Orphan has announced that its subsidiary Hvivo has signed a £5 million (€6m) human challenge study contract with a European biotechnology company.
The study will test the company’s intravenous antiviral candidate for respiratory syncytial virus, the main cause of childhood lower respiratory infections and responsible for significant health issues in the elderly and in adults with chronic medical problems.
Globally it affects an estimated 50 million people annually, leading to four million hospitalisations and up to 75,000 in-hospital deaths in children under the age of five years.
Open Orphan said there was a lack of understanding and insight into the disease, especially in adult groups, despite its considerable impact on society and its high degree of infectivity.
The study is expected to commence this year and will test and assess the efficacy of the group’s antiviral candidate in a cohort of healthy young adult volunteers. In virus challenge studies, healthy volunteers are administered a pathogenic or virulent strain of virus.
The company expects the revenues from the contract to be recognised across 2022 and 2023. The study will be conducted by Hvivo’s medics at its quarantine facility in London which was recently expanded from 43 to 62 beds.
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.