Open Orphan Ties Down UK Covid Contracts

20 Oct 2020 | 09.02 am

Open Orphan Ties Down UK Covid Contracts

hVIVO developing a human challenge study model

20 Oct 2020 | 09.02 am

Open Orphan plc subsidiary hVIVO has agreed a deal with the UK government to develop a Covid-19 human challenge study model.

The model development involves the manufacture of the challenge virus and the first-in-human characterisation study for this virus.

The contract starts immediately and could be worth c.£10 million to hVIVO depending upon the final number of volunteers who are included in the study.

In addition, the UK government has secured the first three slots to test vaccines using hVIVO’s study in 2021. The company said the value of these slot reservations is £7.5m.

The characterisation study, which is expected to complete in May 2021 and will require regulatory and ethical approval, enables identification of the most appropriate dose of the challenge virus for use in future human challenge studies to develop vaccines and antivirals for infectious diseases such as Covid.

The study will conducted at The Royal Free Hospital’s specialist research unit in London.

Cathal Friel (pictured), executive chairman of Open Orphan, commented: “We look forward to working with our partners to develop a Covid-19 human challenge study model which will be used to accelerate the discovery of effective vaccines and antivirals against Covid-19.”

Business secretary Alok Sharma stated: “The funding announced today for these ground-breaking but carefully controlled studies marks an important next step in building on our understanding of the virus and accelerating the development of our most promising vaccines.”


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