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Open Orphan #ORPH – Directors Change

Open Orphan plc (ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist CRO pharmaceutical services company which is the world leader in the testing of vaccines and antivirals using human challenge clinical trials is pleased to announce the appointment of Elaine Sullivan as a Non-Executive Director to the Board of Open Orphan.

Elaine is a business leader and senior scientist with international experience in the pharmaceutical industry and Biotech and is the CEO of Curadh Pharmaceuticals. Elaine has an in-depth background and knowledge of virology having received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in Molecular Virology. She has been a member of the most senior R&D management teams in Lilly and AstraZeneca. Elaine also has extensive start-up experience having been a founder of Carrick Therapeutics and helped to raise over €100m of investor funds as CEO of Carrick in recent years. Elaine is a Non-Executive Director at IP Group plc and Active Biotech AB and is a member of the Supervisory Board at Evotec which is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The Company also announces that Mark Warne, Non-Executive Director, will be stepping down from the Board of Open Orphan on the 31st of December. Mark had been on the Board of hVIVO plc prior to its acquisition by Open Orphan and assisted with the integration of hVIVO with the Open Orphan group.

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman, Open Orphan, said:

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Elaine to the Open Orphan board. Her level of expertise in virology alongside her exceptional career in the industry will be an excellent addition to the Company. We look forward to working closely with Elaine who brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience and will be invaluable addition to the Company as we now grow Open Orphan substantially in its next phase of rapid development.”  

“We would like to thank Mark Warne for his service to the Company and for remaining on the Board to allow for a smooth integration of the companies during the transition period following the acquisition of hVIVO.”

Elaine Sullivan, Incoming Non-Executive Director, Open Orphan, said:

“I am delighted to join the board of Open Orphan. I have been impressed by the outstanding

 progress that Cathal Friel, the Board and the team have made in such a short time. I look forward to working with them in the next stage of the evolution of Open Orphan.”

For further information please contact

Open Orphan plc

+353 (0)1 644 0007

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman

Arden Partners plc (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

+44 (0)20 7614 5900

John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Benjamin Cryer / Dan Gee-Summons

finnCap plc (Joint Broker)

+44 (0) 20 7220 500

Geoff Nash / James Thompson/ Richard Chambers

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker)

+353 (0)1 679 6363

Anthony Farrell

Camarco (Financial PR)

+44 (0)20 3757 4980

Tom Huddart / Hugo Liddy


Full Name: Elaine Sullivan (née McGlynn)

Age: 59

Current directorships / partnerships

Directorships / partnerships within the last five years

Active Biotech AB

Carrick Therapeutics UK Limited

Curadh Pharmaceuticals Limited

Evotec AG

IP Group plc

Dargle Therapeutics Limited


Elaine Sullivan does not hold any shares or options over shares in the Company.

There is no further information to be disclosed in relation to Elaine Sullivan’s appointment pursuant to AIM Rule 17, paragraph (g) of Schedule Two of the AIM Rules for Companies or Rule 5.22 (b), Schedule 2 paragraph (g) of Chapter 5: Additional Rules for the Euronext Growth Market operated by Euronext Dublin.

Notes to Editors – Open Orphan:

Open Orphan is a rapidly growing niche CRO pharmaceutical services company which is the world leader in the testing of vaccines and antivirals through the use of human challenge clinical trials. Conducted from Europe’s only 24-bedroom quarantine clinic with onsite virology providing individually isolated rooms and connected to our specialist laboratory facility. hVIVO’s challenge studies require healthy volunteers to take part, volunteers are recruited through FluCamp, learn more at www.FluCamp.com . The hVIVO facility offers highly specialised virology and immunology laboratory services to support pre-clinical and clinical respiratory drug, antiviral, and vaccine discovery and development.  Reliable laboratory analysis underpinned by scientific expertise is essential when processing and analysing clinical samples. Robust quality processes support our team of scientists in the delivery of submission ready data.

The Company has a leading portfolio of 8 viral challenge study models which are: 2 FLU, 2 RSV, 1 HRV, 1 Asthma, 1 cough and 1 COPD viral challenge models. As announced in early March, Open Orphan is rapidly advancing a number of Coronavirus challenge study models and expects to be helping many COVID-19 vaccine development companies to test their vaccines. No other company in the world has such a portfolio, with only two competitors globally having 1 challenge study model each. hVIVO also works with companies in the UK and Ireland to provide COVID-19 testing to staff to protect staff and customers from a workplace COVID-19 outbreak through its COVID Clear offering.  

Open Orphan comprises of two commercial specialist CRO services businesses, hVIVO     and   Venn Life Sciences and is also building out a valuable data platform business. hVIVO has built up one of the world’s largest databases of infectious disease progression data and we are populating our Open Orphan Health Data platform with this historical hVIVO data. In our clinical trials going forward, we are also planning to collect data on volunteer’s via wearables during clinical trials. Therefore, Open Orphan’s data, which may yield valuable digital biomarkers, could be one of the more sought-after datasets by many of the large wearables /smart watch wearables providers around the world. In June 2019, Open Orphan acquired AIM-listed Venn Life Sciences Holdings plc in a reverse take-over and in January 2020 it completed the merger with hVIVO plc in January 2020. Venn is an integrated drug development consultancy firm which offers CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls), preclinical, Phase I & II clinical trials design and execution. The merger with hVIVO created a European full pharma services company broadening the Company’s customer base and with complementary specialist CRO services, widened the range of the Company’s service offerings.

Open Orphan #ORPH announces completion of the merger with hVIVO and re-admission

Open Orphan plc (ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist pharmaceutical services company which has a focus on orphan drugs, is pleased to announce that admission to trading on AIM and Euronext Growth of its existing ordinary share capital and the new ordinary shares to be issued as consideration in connection with the Merger, will commence at 8.00 a.m. today.


·     Completion of merger between Open Orphan and hVIVO creating a European full pharma services company in a compelling strategic combination

·     Enhanced management and Board with a strong operational track record and M&A experience

o  Cathal Friel, moving to Executive Chairman with a full-time hands-on role in the business

o  Trevor Phillips and Tim Sharpington becoming CEO and COO, respectively, of the enlarged group

o  New board with the appointment of Michael Meade as an additional non-executive director, along with Brendan Buckley and Mark Warne as non-executive directors and Trevor Philips and Cathal Friel as executive directors

·     Combination creates a platform of highly specialised, complementary CRO service providers

·     Combined robust pipeline of over £100 million at January 2020. The Group is focused on building long term contracts with recurring revenues.  Open Orphan has confirmed signed contracts of €10.5m as of January 2020 which is the highest in its history with an additional €4m at an advanced stage with clients under an existing MSA. Open Orphan is successfully moving Venn away from short-term contracts to long-term, 3-year contracts with recurring revenues e.g. IPSEN (Nov ’19) and a German Tier One pharma company (Jan ’20). hVIVO has a solid pipeline of identified and pitched for contracts of £81.2m as of January 2020, which is significantly higher than the prior two years

·     A number of joint Open Orphan and hVIVO pitches have already been submitted to hVIVO clients with the now expanded Venn service capability

·     Estimated operational synergies of £3.1m in 2020 rising to £4.4m in 2021 – longer-term revenue synergy potential through utilisation of Open Orphan’s Phase II capabilities for hVIVO’s challenge study clients

·     New combined revenue model unlocks potential for substantial revenue growth and sustainable profitability  – by  combining Open Orphan’s existing preclinical, phase 1 and Phase 2, regulatory and other services along with hVivo which is an industry leading services provider in viral challenge studies and laboratory services creating a leading European specialist pharma services company

·     Proposed placing to raise £5m – underwritten by up to £2.5m by Raglan Capital – to support the Group’s growth plans

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of Open Orphan commented:

“I am hugely excited by the combination of Open Orphan and hVIVO. We have a fantastic team, substantial revenue potential and the opportunity to grow quickly in the year ahead. I am personally participating in the placing as I believe in the strategy of the business and its ability to deliver substantial returns to shareholders in the next 12 months.”

Trevor Phillips, CEO of Open Orphan commented:

“We now have an industry leading team with the ability to generate substantial revenue growth and profitability, delivering the leadership’s vision to create a successful European full pharma services company. With the now complementary and wider specialist CRO services offering, it gives us the opportunity to generate substantially larger revenues and over the full-time course of the customer relationship. With a robust combined pipeline, I am confident we have the solid platform to achieve our goals.”

Strategy – delivering on our pipeline and enhancing returns through business synergies

Since the acquisition of Venn Life Sciences by Open Orphan in June 2019, the Company has focused on transitioning Venn from short term contracts to long term contracts with recurring revenues, reducing its overheads and taking actions to increase profitability. Before the merger, hVIVO had successfully refocused its business model and completed a business turnaround with operational efficiency measures and headcount reductions implemented. The Merger is expected to bring further benefits as a result of hVIVO now being able to provide the Venn offering, preclinical, Phase I and Phase II to customers to its challenge study customers. The combined Group will now be able to offer a wider range of services to a broader customer base.

In addition to the Company’s focus on delivering the pipeline, it plans to supplement returns through immediate cost savings and operational synergies and near and medium term revenue synergies.  In the short term, the combination of Open Orphan and hVIVO is expected to result in substantial cost savings through the elimination of subcontractor costs where they can be replaced by new capabilities within the enlarged Group. The Group estimates savings of up to £1.7m in FY20 rising to £2.3m in FY21. Furthermore, the Group intends to rationalise a number of duplicate costs resulting in £0.2m of cost savings in FY20 rising to £0.4m in FY21.

The Group expects to deliver total synergies of £3.1m in 2020 rising to £4.4m in 2021. This combined with identified longer-term revenue synergies by extending hVIVO relationships and utilising Phase II capability of Open Orphan to gain contracts for Phase II execution and lab services as existing challenge customers migrate to field trials is anticipated to see the Group well positioned for future growth.

Delivering the strategy is an enhanced leadership team with a track record of operational success and creating shareholder value. The new management of hVIVO, who joined eighteen months ago, has a track record of successfully restructuring and re-positioning the business for profitability having delivered significant savings of £11m since 2017 at hVIVO. The Open Orphan management has a successful history of M&A, business integration and delivering shareholder value and have significantly rationalised the Venn business and taken action to improve profitability. The combined group has the relevant expertise to deliver substantial revenue growth and profitability.

Proposed Placing

Open Orphan is proposing a placing of £5m to support the enlarged Group’s business plan (the Placing”). The proceeds of the Placing will be used to fund the rapid growth and synergies programme of the business. An improved balance sheet is expected to allow hVIVO to convert its current strong pipeline of proposals. The Placing is being underwritten by Cathal Friel’s vehicle, Raglan Capital, up to £2.5m; Raglan Capital also intends to participate in the Placing.

It is expected that further announcements regarding the Placing will be made in due course.

Compulsory Acquisition

Open Orphan intends shortly to exercise its rights pursuant to the provisions of sections 974-991 of the Companies Act 2006 to compulsorily acquire the remaining hVIVO Shares. The compulsory acquisition will be settled on the same terms as the Merger and the relevant hVIVO shareholders will be entitled to receive 2.47 Open Orphan shares for every one hVIVO share. Statutory notices are expected to be posted in the coming days to any hVivo shareholders who have not accepted the Merger offer with further details.




Open Orphan plc Tel: +353 1 644 0007
Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman

Trevor Phillips, Chief Executive Officer Tel: +44 (0)20 7347 5350    

Arden Partners (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker) Tel: +44 (0)20 7614 5900
John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Ruari McGirr / Benjamin Cryer

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker) Tel: +353 (0)1 679 6363
Anthony Farrell (Corporate Finance)

Camarco (Financial PR) Tel: +44 (0)20 3757 4980
Tom Huddart / Dan Sherwen


Notes to Editors on Open Orphan:

Open Orphan is a rapidly growing European full pharmaceutical services company with a focus on orphan drug and specialist services, comprising two commercial specialist CRO services businesses (Venn and hVIVO) and a developing early stage orphan drug genomics data platform business capturing valuable genetic data from patient populations with specific diseases with designated orphan drug status and incorporating AI tools.  In June 2019, Open Orphan acquired AIM-listed Venn Life Sciences Holdings plc in a reverse take-over and in January 2020 it completed the Merger with hVIVO plc. Venn, as an integrated drug development consultancy, offers CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls) , preclinical, phase I & II clinical trials design and execution and hVIVO, as an industry leading services provider in viral challenge studies and laboratory services, supports product development for customers developing antivirals, vaccines and respiratory therapeutics. The Merger with hVIVO created a European full pharma services company broadening the Company’s customer base and with complementary specialist CRO services, widened the range of the Company’s service offerings.

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