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Open Orphan signs five clients to Genomic Health Data platform ahead of launch (ORPH)

Rare and orphan drug services firm Open Orphan (LSE:ORPH) was trading at 6.2p on Monday after continuing its strong run of updates with the news that it has signed five new clients to one of its flagship platforms.

The pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have become early adopters of Open Orphan’s Genomic Health DataBANK platform, which is expected to be completed and rolled out in Q1 2020. The platform is capturing highly valuable genetic data by providing a solution for both patients and drug organisations.

Patient Advocacy Groups of patients with rare/orphan conditions are encouraged to contribute their medical/clinical data to assist medical researchers in developing new treatments. Large pharma companies often look for specific and anonymised data to aid their drug discovery programs. As such, the profits generated from paid access will be split between Open Orphan and the relevant Patient Advocacy Groups – who are incentivised to increase and encourage data contributions to the platform.

On Monday, Open Orphan said that signing up the businesses will ensure the database is fit for purpose from a pharmaceutical and data analysis ahead of first patient data upload. The firm is also working to finalise early adopter agreements with several Patient Advocacy Groups, who will make their patients aware of the database.

Open Orphan’s chief commercial officer Maurice Treacy said the strategic agreements will allow the business to deliver on its objective to build Europe’s first rare disease, advocacy-led genomic database.

‘We are very excited to be working with these leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on our market leading DataBANK,’ he added. ‘The Genomic Health DataBANK, which makes extensive use of AI tools, is an innovative research tool for pharmaceutical companies, and we are excited by its potential when launched in early 2020. We believe the DataBANK can ignite research for new diagnostic tools and therapeutic products for rare disease patients.’

In October, Open Orphan announced it had hired Empiric Logic to complete the build-out of the Genomic Health Data platform. Empiric Logic will integrate AI and security solutions into the database to prepare it for accepting its first data.

Monday’s update also comes just days after Open Orphan announced the signing of a contract with Cara Bioscience for a First In Human Clinical pharmacology trial. The deal is expected to deliver significant revenue for Open Orphan over the next 12 months and builds on the company’s strategy of securing long-term partnerships with high-quality businesses. Carna Bioscience is a small to mid-size Japanese biotech company that specialises in developing innovative treatments against cancer and immune disorders.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Open Orphan signed a deal that will see Venn Life Sciences become the preferred partner for biopharma business Ipsen Group’s data management and biostatistics for three years. Open Orphan said that the deal – which has already delivered ‘substantial revenues’ – positions it as an integrated drug development partner for more firms like Ipsen.

The partnership also forms part of Open Orphan’s strategy to transform and restructure Venn by reducing operational leverage, increasing revenues, improving operating margins, and launching additional services. Open Orphan came to market in June this year following a reverse takeover of Venn alongside a fresh £4.5m equity injection – primarily from institutional investors.

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