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Open Orphan #ORPH – Full Year Results

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 study models is pleased to announce its full year results for the year ended 31 December 2019.

 

Financial Highlights

Open Orphan plc

(As reported)

hVIVO plc

(As reported)

Open Orphan plc

(formerly Venn Life Sciences Holdings plc -proforma results

on a stand-alone basis and excluding any impact of the 28 June 2019 combination)

Open Orphan DAC

(proforma results

on a stand-alone basis

and excluding any

 impact of the

28 June 2019

combination)

Open Orphan plc

(proforma results on a combined basis and including the impact of the 28 June 2019 and 17 January 2020 combinations)

2019

€’000

2018

€’000

2019

£’000

2018

£’000

2019

€’000

2018

€’000

2019

€’000

2018

€’000

2019

€’000

2018

€’000

Revenue (incl. Other income)

4,039

15,092

13,626

9,854

14,291

27,061

29,712

Operating (Loss)

(5,837)

(1,611)

(5,893)

(13,427)

(6,469)

(2,367)

(763)

(1,611)

(14,249)

(19,174)

EBITDA before exceptional items

(4,311)

(1,611)

(3,785)

(8,862)

(5,053)

(1,432)

(763)

(1,611)

(10,130)

(13,072)

Loss for the period

(6,543)

(1,656)

(6,973)

(16,833)

(6,442)

(4,775)

(1,025)

(1,656)

(16,524)

(25,481)

 

Post Period End Highlights

·      Completion of merger of Open Orphan plc and hVIVO plc in January 2020 creating a specialist pharma services group with complementary CRO services

·      Continued action to reduce the cost base with annualised savings of €2.0m in hVIVO and €3.0m in Venn respectively removed since the merger in January 2020 and further annualised cost savings of €2.5m in the merged entity are expected to be implemented by 31 December 2020

·      Developing the world’s first challenge study model clinical trial in order to be able to test the efficacy of the large number of Covid-19 vaccines that are in development

·      Developing an antibody testing service with capacity for up to 3,000 tests per day using the Quotient testing instruments which is one of the few able to offer 100% accuracy

·      Expanded the Group’s pipeline of opportunities and converting pipeline of contracts across the whole Group, including:

o  provision of an RSV human challenge study projected to deliver £3.2m in revenue all of which is expected to be recognised in 2020 with potential for additional follow-on £7m Pivotal challenge study delivering significant further revenue

o  A contract with a US Biotech company for the provision of an RSV human challenge study projected to deliver £3.5 million in revenue all of which is expected to be recognised in 2020

o  Expansion of laboratory service with offerings to third party biotech companies and small cap pharma companies with new contracts already completed and this is anticipated to be an important new revenue generating stream for the Group

o  Venn’s traditional pharma consulting business continues to perform well and a significant contract was announced in recent weeks to obtain and support market access of newly developed vaccines into the EU and US markets for one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world

·      Increased liquidity and strong balance sheet through placings of £5.3m in January 2020 and £12.6m in May 2020 to allow the Group to complete its transition and leverage a broader service offering to an enlarged and combined customer base

Outlook

·      Unprecedent growth opportunities as pharma focuses funding on Covid-19 and respiratory diseases resulting the development of a strong pipeline of opportunities, for both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 challenge studies along with the wider CRO services offered by the Group

·      Strong pipeline of work to build H2 2020 revenue, targeting operational profitability by Q3 2020

·      A further €2.5m of cost to be removed from the business in H2 2020

·      Right management team in place, with a clear strategy, targeting the high margin pharma services sector, to deliver significant shareholder value

·      A strategic review is underway in order to seek to monetise the 49% stake in Imutex and our other non-core investments such as the 62.5% in PrEP Biopharm and our 100% stake in an immunomodulator

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of Open Orphan, said:

“Since the reverse takeover of Venn in June 2019 we have been building the foundations of a soon to be profitable business in Q3 and a rapidly growing CRO pharmaceutical services Group with all loses in both companies confined to the past. The merger with hVIVO, post period end, has given us a full-service business, with world class facilities, motivated colleagues and a strong pipeline of work and transforms out business into the world leader in the testing of vaccines and anti-virals through human challenge model clinical trials.

Traditionally, the testing of vaccines and antivirals had been somewhat of a Cinderella industry, however, following the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic it is clear that for the months and years ahead the development of new and novel vaccines and also the testing of such vaccines and antivirals will be one of the fastest growing areas of the pharmaceutical industry. In recent decades, governments and pharma companies around the world completely underinvested in new vaccines and the onset of Covid-19 caught them significantly off-guard and as such there is a huge capital investment program underway around the world to roll out an extensive range of Covid-19 and importantly non-Covid-19 vaccines to ensure that the world is not caught unprepared in future pandemics.

We have substantially reduced overheads and rightsized the management team including combining the CEO and other senior roles in both Venn and hVIVO. We have also brought forward some long-serving and excellent line managers and heads of departments flattening the organisation structure and giving them more autonomy and responsibility to successfully run their own areas and this is proving very effective both for the company but also most importantly for the individual managers as well. In turn, this has completely transformed the culture of the enlarged business to one of vastly more open communications, sharing of knowledge and a much faster decision-making process.

I am very excited for the year ahead and I am confident that we have created a soon to be profitable, fast-growing business which is creating value for all our stakeholders.”

Conference call for sell-side analysts and investors

The Company will hold a conference call for sell-side analysts and investors at 09:30 today.

Participant dial-in numbers

 

Dial-in numbers:

IE: +353 1 526 0106

UK: +44 33 0606 1122

ITFS:  International Access Numbers

 

Room number:

 

430863

 

Participant PIN:

 

5880

A corporatepresentation is available to shareholders on the Group’s website at: https://www.openorphan.com/investors/reports-and-presentations/year/2020

 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

Open Orphan #ORPH – Testing of anti-viral for treating COVID-19 underway

Open Orphan plc (ORPH) the rapidly growing specialist CRO pharmaceutical services company which has a focus on orphan drugs and is a world leader in the provision of virology and vaccine challenge study services, is pleased to announce that its London-based subsidiary hVIVO has commenced the testing of an anti-viral for treating COVID-19 on behalf of its client Nearmedic International Ltd.

hVIVO has initiated work on this contract with Nearmedic International Ltd, a specialist pharmaceutical, biotechnological and medical business headquartered in Moscow, to test using hVIVO’s virology expertise and laboratory capability an anti-viral drug with potential utility for treating SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) infections. This drug has both potential anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity and as such could reduce both virus infectivity and disease severity respectively.

hVIVO will be testing its utility against a panel of viruses to include influenza virus, “normal”, circulating betacoronavirus and ultimately SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19).

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of Open Orphan, commented:

“We are very happy to be assisting in the battle against Covid-19 and are delighted to be working with Nearmedic International Ltd. hVIVO is a world leading provider of services to global vaccine and antiviral development companiesand our scientists have considerable knowledge from previous anti-viral trials which gives us confidence in our testing. We look forward to updating the market on a regular basis in the weeks and months ahead.”

  For further information please contact:

 

Open Orphan plc

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman

+353 (0)1 644 0007

Trevor Phillips, Chief Executive Officer

+44 (0)20 7347 5350

Arden Partners plc (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

+44 (0)20 7614 5900

John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Benjamin Cryer

 

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker)

+353 (0)1 679 6363

Anthony Farrell

 

Camarco (Financial PR)

+44 (0)20 3757 4980

Tom Huddart / Daniel Sherwen

 

Notes to Editors:

Open Orphan  is a rapidly growing specialist CRO pharmaceutical services company which has a focus on orphan drugs and is a world leader in the provision of virology and vaccine challenge study services  and viral laboratory services. It has Europe’s only 24-bedroom quarantine clinic with onsite virology lab in Queen Mary’s Hospital London. hVIVO supports product development for customers developing antivirals, vaccines and respiratory therapeutics, all particularly relevant and topical in the environment of heightened awareness of Covid-19 in 2020. The Company also 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 Coronavirus challenge study model and expects to be very active with many companies in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.  No other company in the world has such a portfolio, with only two competitors globally having 1 challenge study model each.  

Open Orphan comprises of two commercial specialist CRO services businesses (Venn and hVIVO) and is developing an early stage orphan drug genomics data platform business. This platform captures 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 (c hemistry, 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 – Completion of the compulsory acquisition of remaining hVIVO shares

Open Orphan (ORPH), the rapidly growing specialist CRO pharmaceutical services company which has a focus on orphan drugs and is a world leader in the provision of virology and vaccine challenge study services, announces that further to the announcement of 28 January 2020, the Company will shortly be posting letters to shareholders of hVIVO plc (“hVIVO”) who did not accept the offer made by the Company on 9 December 2019. The letters confirm completion of the compulsory acquisition of all remaining hVIVO shares (the “Compulsory Acquisition”), which occurred today, pursuant to the provisions of sections 974-991 of the Companies Act 2006.

Application has been made to AIM for 15,600,932 ordinary shares of 0.1 pence each in the capital of the Company (“Ordinary Shares”) to be admitted to trading on AIM and Euronext Growth (“Admission”). Admission is expected to occur at 8.00 a.m. on 12 March 2020. The allotment and issue of these consideration shares to the non-assenting shareholders pursuant to the Compulsory Acquisition will be the final tranche of shares to be issued in respect of the merger with hVIVO, which completed on 17 January 2020.

Total Voting Rights

In conformity with the FCA’s Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules, the Company confirms that following Admission, its issued share capital will consist of 549,038,274 Ordinary Shares. All of the Ordinary Shares have equal voting rights and there are no Ordinary Shares held in treasury. This figure of 549,038,274 Ordinary Shares represents the total voting rights in the Company and may be used by shareholders as the denominator for the calculations by which they can determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change to their interest in, the Company under the Rules. 

For further information please contact

Open Orphan plc 

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman                                                           +353 (0)1 644 0007

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

Arden Partners plc (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)   +44 (0)20 7614 5900

John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Benjamin Cryer

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker)   +353 (0)1 679 6363

Anthony Farrell

Camarco (Financial PR)                                                                          +44 (0)20 3757 4980

Tom Huddart / Daniel Sherwen

Notes to Editors:

Open Orphan is a rapidly growing specialist CRO pharmaceutical services company which has a focus on orphan drugs and is a world leader in the provision of virology and vaccine challenge study services and viral laboratory services. It has Europe’s only 24-bedroom quarantine clinic with onsite virology lab in London. hVIVO supports product development for customers developing antivirals, vaccines and respiratory therapeutics, all particularly relevant and topical in the environment of heightened awareness of the Coronavirus in 2020. The Company also 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.  No other company in the world has such a portfolio, with only two competitors globally having 1 challenge study model each.

Open Orphan comprises of two commercial specialist CRO services businesses (Venn and hVIVO) and is developing an early stage orphan drug genomics data platform business. This platform captures 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. 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.

Shares Magazine Spotlight – Open Orphan lining up for coronavirus fight

LSE interview – Cathal Friel refocuses Open Orphan #ORPH as he raises 5m and buys virology specialist hVIVO

In a wide-ranging interview with London South East, Open Orphan Executive Chairman Cathal Friel outlines his vision for the business and explains how the combined talents of Open Orphan, hVivo and Venn Life Sciences will create a soon to be profitable pharmaceutical services one-stop shop.

Friel says this acquisition is the last however, as he is a major shareholder and he doesn’t want to see his own shareholding diluted along with everyone elses. The focus has been on reducing head count and building revenues at Venn Life Sciences since the Open Orphan IPO last June. Now, with the £13M bolt-on acquisition of hVivo, the London-based virology specialist company, the game has changed once again.

Friel says he sees hVivo as a loss-making and hugely undervalued asset. hVIVO went from being a vaccines and virology specialist to a drugs discovery business five years ago, with Neil Woodford and other investors putting in 113m of investment. “I really like Trevor Phillips and Tim Sharpington who came in 18 month ago to turn it around. But the previous management team got lost and we have picked up a bargain”. So how much are the assets worth today? “It’s very hard to say” explained Cathal, “113M in five years is a lot to spend but you can’t blow it all.

We have a 24 bed quarantine clinic facility which is worth 25 million or so on replacement value, we have a virology lab with the world’s largest stock of virology models likewise worth 25 million, and 7 or 8 million, so we 50 or 60 million of real assets”.

Open Orphan #ORPH presents at Shares Growth and Invention Forum, London

Open Orphan, the rapidly growing specialist CRO pharmaceutical services company which has a focus on orphan drugs and is a world leader in the provision of virology and vaccine challenge study services, is pleased to announce that the Company will be attending and presenting at the Shares Growth and Invention Forum on February 11, 2020 at Business Design Centre, London N1, London, N1 0QH. Cathal will be presenting at 15:30 in the Babbage Room. Investors are able to register to attend at https://ajbell.eventsair.com/gif-2020/private/Site/Register.

Cathal Friel, Open Orphan’s Executive Chairman will be presenting from 15:30 onwards to update existing and potential investors on the Company’s business plans for 2020.

The event will provide an opportunity for investors to hear about the progress being made by the Company following the acquisition of hVIVO and the potential for Open Orphan as it moves rapidly forward.  hVIVO, is a world leader in the provision of viral challenge studies, vaccine and viral laboratory services, supporting product development for customers developing antivirals, vaccines and respiratory therapeutics, all particularly relevant and topical in the environment of heightened awareness of the Coronavirus in 2020. It also has Europe’s only commercial 24 bed quarantine clinic and on-site virology laboratory at Queen Mary’s Hospital in London.

Additionally, a link to the video of Open Orphan’s presentation will be made available on the Company website following the event.

For further information on the Shares Investor Evening, please visit the event website https://www.sharesmagazine.co.uk/events/event/growth-innovation-forum-2020-1 

Investor Presentation

A link to our investor presentation is available on our website  at https://www.openorphan.com/sites/openorphan/files/Open%20Orphan%20Investor%20Deck_0.pdf.

For further information please contact

Open Orphan plc

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman              

Trevor Phillips, Chief Executive Officer

 

+353 (0)1 644 0007

+44 (0)20 7347 5350

Arden Partners plc (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Benjamin Cryer

+44 (0)20 7614 5900

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker)

Anthony Farrell

+353 (0)1 679 6363

Camarco (Financial PR)

Tom Huddart / Daniel Sherwen

+44 (0)20 3757 4980

About RNS Reach announcements

This is an RNS Reach announcement. RNS Reach is an investor communication service aimed at assisting listed and unlisted (including AIM quoted) companies to distribute non-regulatory news releases into the public domain. Information required to be notified under the AIM Rules for Companies, Market Abuse Regulation or other regulation would be disseminated as an RNS regulatory announcement and not on RNS Reach.

Notes to Editors:

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. hVIVO, is a world leader in the provision of viral challenge studies, vaccine and viral laboratory services, supporting product development for customers developing antivirals, vaccines and respiratory therapeutics, all particularly relevant and topical in the environment of heightened awareness of the Coronavirus in 2020. 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 – Upcoming Investor Events

Open Orphan (ORPH), the rapidly growing specialist CRO pharmaceutical services company which has a focus on orphan drugs and is a world leader in the provision of virology and vaccine challenge study services, is  pleased to announce that the Company will be attending and presenting at a series of investor events from the 11th February to 26th March 2020.

Cathal Friel, Open Orphan’s Executive Chairman, or Trevor Phillips, CEO, will be in attendance for all the events and will be presenting an update to existing and potential investors on the Company’s acquisition of hVIVO and business plans for 2020. hVIVO, is a world leader in the provision of viral challenge studies, vaccine and viral laboratory services, supporting product development for customers developing antivirals, vaccines and respiratory therapeutics, all particularly relevant and topical in the environment of heightened awareness of the Coronavirus in 2020. It also has Europe’s only commercial 24 bed quarantine clinic and on-site virology laboratory at Queen Mary’s Hospital in London.

A link to our investor presentation is available on our website  at https://www.openorphan.com/sites/openorphan/files/Open%20Orphan%20Investor%20Deck_0.pdf

No new material information will be disclosed at any event.

A full schedule of the upcoming events is as follows:

Event

Date/Time

Location

Shares Magazine/Cenkos Growth and Innovation Forum

February 11, 2020

08:45 – 17:30

London – Business Design Centre, London N1 52 Upper Street, Islington

 

ShareSoc Growth Company Seminar

February 25, 2020

18:00 – 20:40

 

Manchester – DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, One Piccadilly Place, 1 Auburn Street, Manchester M1 3DG

Shares Magazine Investor Event

February 25, 2020

17:30 – 21:30

London – Novotel, Pepys Street, London

ShareSoc Growth Company Seminar

March 11, 2020

17:30 – 21:30

London – Company Matters/Link Asset Services, 65 GRESHAM STREET, London EC2V 7NQ

ShareSoc Growth Company Seminar

March 17, 2020

18:00 – 20:40

Birmingham – Clayton Hotel Birmingham, Albert Street, Birmingham B5 5JE

Proactive Investors One2One Forum

March 26, 2020

18:00 – 21:30

London – Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel, 35 Charles Street, London, W1J 5EB 

Enquiries:

Open Orphan plc                                                                                                            

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman                                                                        +353 (0)1 644 0007

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

 

Arden Partners plc (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)                          +44 (0)20 7614 5900

John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Benjamin Cryer

 

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker)                                          +353 (0)1 679 6363

Anthony Farrell

 

Camarco (Financial PR)                                                                                           +44 (0)20 3757 4980

Tom Huddart / Daniel Sherwen

 

About RNS Reach announcements

This is an RNS Reach announcement. RNS Reach is an investor communication service aimed at assisting listed and unlisted (including AIM quoted) companies to distribute non-regulatory news releases into the public domain. Information required to be notified under the AIM Rules for Companies, Market Abuse Regulation or other regulation would be disseminated as an RNS regulatory announcement and not on RNS Reach.

Notes to Editors:

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.  hVIVO, as an industry leading services provider in viral challenge studies and vaccine and viral laboratory services, supports product development for customers developing antivirals, vaccines and respiratory therapeutics , all particularly relevant and topical in the environment of heightened awareness of the Coronavirus in 2020. The Merger with hVIVO created a European full pharma services company broadening the Company’s customer base and with complementary specialist CRO services, widening the range of the Company’s service offerings.

Proactive Investors interview with the Open Orphan #ORPH team on its future and ‘the lottery ticket’ sitting within hVIVO

Open Orphan PLC‘s (LON:ORPH) Cathal Friel speaks to Proactive London’s Andrew Scott following the completion last week of its £5.3mln fundraise.

Also in studio is adviser to Open Orphan and founder of hVivo Professor John Oxford.

Professor Oxford’s been a leader in the field of vaccine and anti-viral clinical trials for the last 20 years.

hVivo, which has recently been acquired by Open Orphan, owns the largest commercial quarantine clinic in northern Europe and could play a role in treating patients affected by the recent outbreak of coronavirus.

BRR Media – Open Orphan #ORPH business update

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of Open Orphan, provides an update on developments at the company following the successful fundraising, and also introduces Professor John Oxford – a leading expert in the field of virology and an original founder of hVIVO – who will be working with the company as a consultant.

Keeping pace with Open Orphan

It’s been an exceptionally busy few months for Open Orphan (ORPH) and its Executive Chairman Cathal Friel.

Since reversing into Venn Life Sciences last summer, Open Orphan has set it’s sights on a series of acquisitions to forge a specialist pharmaceutical services group with a focus on orphan drugs. In raising the money to complete the Venn Life Sciences and recent hVIVO acquisitions,  Friel has invested over £2m of his own money through his investment vehicle Raglan Capital into Open Orphan. His investments are locked in until three years after the IPO in June 2019.

In 2018, over 50% of new FDA approved drugs were classed as ‘orphan’, i.e. treat rare diseases.

With this in mind, Friel and his team have constructed a vehicle to acquire and consolidate a number of smaller companies into a larger profitable pharma services company. Within this there is Open Orphan Genomic Health Data, using AI tools to build a valuable database of patient information using a low cost data collection methodology.

In the run up to the end of 2019, ORPH struck several three year contract agreements and collaborations lucrative partnership agreements and collaborations, most notably with French pharma giant Ipsen Group, Japanese pharma company Carna and a Tier 1 German pharma company as part of moving the original Venn business away from short term ad-hoc contracts towards longer more sustainable contracts.

The acquisition promised at Open Orphan’s launch last summer came to fruition in December, when the company announced the acquisition of hVIVO, a world leader in the provision of viral challenge study services to companies developing vaccines for viruses.

The deal offered 2.47 shares for each hVIVO share, providing its shareholders with a 33% uplift. Open Orphan also broke the mould by moving fast in a slow moving sector as this takeover was recorded as one of the fastest in 7 years for the London market, completing as it did in just 38 days. More importantly, the economies of scale the merger delivers greatly broadens Open Orphan’s in-house clinical offering and opportunities to commercialise the existing deal pipeline.

Both Venn and more importantly hVIVO had been chronically loss making, however given the compelling synergies, the Open Orphan team led by Friel are optimistic that the enlarged Group will be profitable by June 2020 if not before.

To maximise on the opportunities generated by the acquisition, a further £5.3m fundraise was completed at the end of January 2020, conducted at a small premium to market price and with a minimum fundraise of £2.5m  once again underwritten by Friel’s investment vehicle. The raise was oversubscribed, predominantly funded by institutional investors and at a good premium to the IPO fundraise in June 2019. Added to this, Friel personally invested £300k.

As part of the hVIVO acquisition, Open Orphan now owns the largest quarantine facility in N Europe, with 24 quarantine bedrooms at Queen Mary’s Hospital in London.

As things currently stand, this facility may potentially be used for ill patients patients during the current Coronavirus crisis that is gripping China and slowly spreading to other countries.

Professor John Oxford, one of the original founders of hVIVO is also a world-leading expert on Coronavirus and virology. In this capacity he has appeared across numerous TV and radio programmes over the past week, and is also an advisor and consultant to Cathal Friel and the enlarged Open Orphan Group.

The coming days will see more information emerge about Open Orphan and hVivo’s capabilities surrounding virology, vaccines and the quarantine facility.

To keep up to speed with this fast moving company, the latest copy of the Open orphan investor presentation is now available to view on https://www.openorphan.com/investors/reasons-invest.

Alan Green – February 2020

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