Open Orphan PLC (AIM: ORPH) FDA Breakthrough Designation for Big Pharma RSV

Vaccine candidate assessed in successful human challenge trial conducted by hVIVO

Open Orphan plc (AIM: ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist contract research organisation (CRO) and world leader in testing infectious and respiratory disease products using human challenge clinical trials, notes the announcement dated 14 February 2022 from Bavarian Nordic A/S (“Bavarian Nordic”) (OMX: BAVA), reporting that the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Bavarian Nordic’s respiratory syncytial virus (“RSV”) vaccine candidate, MVA-BN® RSV. hVIVO , a subsidiary of Open Orphan, successfully conducted a Phase 2, double-blinded, placebo controlled human challenge trial to assess MVA-BN® RSV using its RSV Human Challenge Study Model.

A Breakthrough Therapy Designation is designed to expedite the development and regulatory review of medicines that are intended to treat a serious condition. The designation has been granted upon the assessment of preliminary clinical evidence for MVA-BN RSV, indicating that the vaccine candidate may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy on a clinically significant endpoint. A significant portion of this preliminary evidence was the successful challenge study conducted by hVIVO. The designation provides an option to work more closely with FDA for the development and review of MVA-BN RSV.

The challenge study conducted by hVIVO to assess MVA-BN® RSV demonstrated a significant reduction in viral load in vaccinated subjects versus placebo, thus meeting the primary endpoint of the study. At the same time, vaccinated subjects showed a significant reduction in clinical symptoms typically associated with RSV infections. The MVA-BN RSV vaccine demonstrated a vaccine efficacy of up to 79% in preventing symptomatic RSV infections. No vaccine-related serious adverse events were observed, and the vaccine was well tolerated, consistent with the safety profile previously reported in Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical studies.

RSV is a contagious, common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms and affects the respiratory tract of children and at-risk older adults; in severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and other life-threatening breathing difficulties. RSV is a significant public health threat and is one of the leading causes of hospitalisation to at-risk older adults.

hVIVO has two decades of experience and expertise in safely conducting challenge studies across a range of infectious and respiratory disease areas, including various strains of influenza, RSV, HRV, COVID-19, asthma and malaria, etc.

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman, Open Orphan plc, said: “We are pleased to see Bavarian Nordic achieve Breakthrough Therapy Designation for its RSV vaccine candidate, MVA-BN® RSV. hVIVO successfully conducted a human challenge trial on behalf of Bavarian Nordic in 2021, where the candidate showed a significant reduction in clinical symptoms associated with RSV.

“The data from this human challenge trial was part of the body of evidence provided by Bavarian Nordic to the FDA in order to secure its Breakthrough Therapy Designation, which could ultimately result in an expedited regulatory review of MVA-BN® RSV. This highlights a major benefit of human challenge trials, in that they enable drug developers to obtain Phase 2/2a efficacy data for their vaccine and antivirals candidates in a fast, cost-effective manner ahead of larger scale studies. This data can then strengthen submissions for important regulatory programmes such as the Breakthrough Therapy Designation.”

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

hVIVO recruits many of its volunteers for its challenge study clinical trials through its dedicated volunteer recruitment website, By volunteering to take part in one of our studies in a safe, controlled, clinical environment under expertly supervised conditions you are playing your part to further medical research and help increase the understanding of respiratory illnesses.

Individuals interested in taking part in COVID-19 human challenge study research can learn more at

For further information please contact:

Open Orphan plc

+353 (0) 1 644 0007

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman

Notes to Editors

Open Orphan plc (London and Euronext: ORPH) is a rapidly growing contract research company that is a world leader in testing vaccines and antivirals using human challenge clinical trials. The Company provides services to Big Pharma, biotech and government/public health organisations.

Open Orphan runs challenge studies in London from both its 19-bedroom Whitechapel quarantine clinic and its state-of-the-art 24-bedroom QMB clinic with its highly specialised on-site virology and immunology laboratory. The Company has a leading portfolio of human challenge study models for infectious and respiratory diseases and is developing a number of new models. There has been an explosion in the growth of the infectious disease market, which is estimated to grow to in excess of $250bn by 2025. The Group is focused on refreshing its existing challenge models and develop new models, such as Malaria, to address the dramatic growth potential of the global infectious disease market.

Building upon its many years of challenge studies and virology research, the Company is developing an in-depth database of infectious disease progression data. Based on the Company’s Disease in Motion® platform, this unique dataset includes clinical, immunological, virological and digital (wearable) biomarkers. The Disease in Motion platform has many potential applications across a wide variety of end users including big technology, wearables, pharma and biotech companies.

Open Orphan’s Paris office has been providing biometry, data management and statistics to its many European pharmaceutical clients for over 20 years. For over 15 years, the Company’s Netherlands office has been providing drug development consultancy and services, including CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls), PK and medical writing, to a broad range of European clients. Both offices are now also fully integrated with the London office and working on challenge study contracts as well as supporting third party trial contracts.

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