Open Orphan PLC (AIM:ORPH) £7.3m Influenza human challenge study contract win

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 , announces that hVIVO , a subsidiary of Open Orphan.

Has signed a £7.3m influenza human challenge study (“Study”) contract with a leading biotechnology company to test its antiviral product using the hVIVO Influenza Human Challenge Study Model.

The randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study will test and assess the antiviral prophylactic and post-inoculation treatment activity of the antiviral in healthy adult volunteers enrolled through the Company’s specialist, tech-enabled volunteer recruitment arm, FluCamp . The Study will be conducted by hVIVO’s team of medics at its state-of-the-art quarantine facilities in London and is expected to commence next year. R evenue from the contract is expected to be recognised across FY23 and FY24.

T he Company’s specialised virology laboratories, h LAB, will determine the viral load of the influenza challenge agent used to inoculate volunteers, h LAB will also provide serology services and virology services (viral infectivity assay) for the study.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that affect the nose, throat and the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and occasionally lead to death. According to Financial Times1 analysis of official data in England, since the development of effective vaccines and the emergence of the less severe Omicron variant, influenza is now more lethal than COVID-19. For every 100,000 Omicron infections, 35 will result in death, while the equivalent number of flu infections will lead to around 40 fatalities.

Yamin ‘Mo’ Khan, Chief Executive Officer of Open Orphan, said: “I am pleased to sign a contract with this leading biotechnology company to test its antiviral product using the hVIVO Influenza Human Challenge Study Model. hVIVO has seen a steady increase in flu studies, a reflection of the shift in market sentiment following recent scrutiny of infectious disease data that has outlined the significant threat of flu and the potential of human challenge studies to the advancement of drug development candidates.”

Dr Andrew Catchpole, Chief Scientific Officer of hVIVO, said : “We are excited to test the antiviral prophylactic and post inoculation treatment activity against flu infection using the hVIVO Influenza Human Challenge Study Model. hVIVO has pioneered influenza human challenge studies for decades, with our history dating back to the Salisbury Common Cold Clinic.

“Since the advent of effective vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, there has been renewed focus on influenza and official data shows flu is now a more lethal threat. After completing the study, we hope to provide positive data and early proof of concept for our client’s product, in order to accelerate its development into a Phase II programme.”

1 ‘Vaccines and Omicron mean Covid now less deadly than flu in England’, The Financial Times , by Burn-Murdoch, John, and Barnes, Oliver. Link:

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

Yamin Khan, Chief Executive Officer

Open Orphan plc

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

The Company has a leading portfolio of human challenge study models for infectious and respiratory diseases and is developing a number of new models, such as Malaria and COVID-19, to address the dramatic growth of the global infectious disease market. The Paris and Breda offices have over 25 years of experience providing drug development services such as biometry, data management, statistics CMC, PK and medical writing to third party clients as well as supporting the London-based challenge studies.

Open Orphan runs challenge studies in London from its Whitechapel quarantine clinic, its state-of-the-art QMB clinic with its highly specialised on-site virology and immunology laboratory, and its newly opened clinic in Plumbers Row. To recruit volunteers / patients for its studies, the Company leverages its unique clinical trial recruitment capacity via its FluCamp volunteer screening facilities in London and Manchester. The newly opened facilities have expanded the scope of the business to enable the offering of Phase I and Phase II vaccine field trials, PK studies, bridging studies, and patient trials as part of large international multi-centre studies.

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.

hVIVO has a long history of testing influenza vaccines and treatments, with its history dating back to the Common Cold Unit in Salisbury. The Common Cold Unit was established following the end of the Second World War to investigate the microorganisms which cause typical cold symptoms. It was through this research that the first human coronavirus was discovered in 1960.

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