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Open Orphan continues to convert deal pipeline with key Venn contracts

07 Dec 2020 | by: Daniel Flynn

Open Orphan’s (LSE:ORPH) strong run continued on Monday morning with the news that it has won two new contracts bolstering its presence in the global fight against coronavirus.

The pharmaceutical services company said the first contract awarded to its subsidiary Venn Life Sciences is for a Covid-19 study being completed by a European pharmaceutical company. The work, which will begin immediately, involves 200 patients in 50 sites across five countries around the world.

Venn’s team in Paris will manage the randomisation and supply management for the double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 Clinical Trial. The goal is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a combination treatment of two drugs and the best supportive care for patients with moderate and severe Covid-19 in a hospitalised setting.

Meanwhile, the team in Venn’s Breda office in the Netherlands have signed a separate contract with another European pharmaceutical company.

This will see the company help with project management, design, and the implementation of new processes related to clinical development. It will also use its expertise to deliver process improvement. Once again, this work will start immediately, running until December next year.

Open Orphan said it would deliver “significant revenues” for Venn and builds on its existing relationship with the pharma player. To date, the firm has provided a variety of services including IMPD writing, regulatory briefing book writing, as well as preclinical and clinical consultancy.

Cathal Friel, Open Orphan’s executive chairman, hailed the two contracts as an example of Venn’s successful integration into his company – especially given that it recently became profitable. He added:

“As we come towards the end of 2020, it’s wonderful to see all the elements of the Open Orphan business are delivering substantial revenues and both new contract wins and renewal of existing long-term customer contracts.

Both Venn and hVIVO are converting their substantial pipeline of work whilst providing a high-quality service to their customers. The Paris team’s contract is a further demonstration of our work in the fight against COVID-19, and the contract win by our Dutch Breda team shows how we continue to generate repeat business through our expertise.”

Open Orphan has been taking great strides forward in its efforts to support the global fight against Covid-19 in recent months.

Most notably, the firm won a £40m contract with the British government in October to develop the UK’s first human challenge study models for the virus. As well as using Europe’s only 24-bed quarantine unit for the trials, the UK government has donated the use of the Royal Free Hospital, which hosts the UK’s only high-level isolation unit for the treatment of infectious disease.

The deal will see Open Orphan’s subsidiary hVIVO create the challenge virus for use on patients and the first-in-human characterisation study. After hVIVO scientists select an appropriate strain and dose of the virus, vaccinated volunteers are intentionally infected, bringing forward results much faster than in conventional trials. Since the beginning of the 2020 Open Orphan’s market cap has grown from £36m to £165m.

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