Saturday, September 23rd 2023

Open Orphan PLC

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And we’re off…A Plethora of news, Muzzle off, and significant Skin-In-The-Game for Open Orphan


“…I don’t see why we can’t create a billion dollars in value out of Open Orphan…”


…and after this mornings news we are really off to the races!  Not one, but four pieces of news out for the company, including that the company is continuing to work with the UK Government to inoculate up to 20 further volunteers as part of the world’s first COVID-19 characterisation study, a new contract win of c. €900,000 with an existing customer for clinical trial management by our Breda, Netherlands office, an update on Poolbeg Pharma plc and that Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of the Company, purchased 1,132,075 ordinary shares of 0.1 pence each in the capital of the Company at a price of 26.5 pence per Share and that Prof. Brendan Buckley, Non-Executive Director of the Company, purchased 188,679 Shares at a price of 26.5 pence per Share.

The first spin out has been completed and there’s three more to come from Open Orphan after it spawned Poolbeg Pharma, anticipated to be a £50 million market cap company when it becomes a public entity on July 19th 2021.

If you’d been a long term holder of Open Orphan shares or bought just at the right time then you’ll also be a shareholder of Poolbeg and potentially be locked into the company for nine months.  However, Orphan’s Executive Chairman Cathal Friel doesn’t consider those punitive conditions because he’s confident about the stock’s trajectory: “We could double, triple that in the first six to twelve months.”

He’s not just using the language of his broker career of the past, but comparing the future of Poolbeg to parent company Open Orphan which listed two years ago and has seen its share price quadruple.

Admittedly the stock is off the April 2021 highs and investors blamed Friel’s silence.  He holds his hands up and says while the Poolbeg Pharma IPO was being worked on he was muzzled by advisors, but now that the first spin off has been unleashed so too has his ‘significant’ blarney about the business that focused on the pharma industry’s orphans which are now the major concerns being fostered and adopted by the sector.

“Infectious diseases has traditionally been a 20 billion a year  industry and that was primarily flu vaccines. It’s now forecast to grow to 250 billion. That’s a tenfold increase by 2025, ” says Friel who doesn’t specify if he’s referencing pounds or dollars, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter.

“Open Orphan couldn’t be in a better position to test Covid, influenza, HRV, RSV, Staphylococcus. All those things in the past that got ignored, they’re not being ignored now.”

The medical acronyms are bewildering as is the size of the market that Open Orphan and now Poolbeg is ensconced in.

“A quarter of a trillion is a pretty cool infectious disease market, and we’re in there to test those products. If we get a slice of a slice of a slice for testing that’s a very significant market opportunity.”

If Friel’s right and the spin off model for Poolbeg is also right, then it’s going to be a fast and financially rewarding ride for investors.

There’s the precedent that Orphan is copying.  The spin off model evidenced by EKF Diagnostics Holdings.  Four spin offs in the last two years, a multi million pound market cap and EKF’s  Salim Hamir has joined as Poolbeg’s company secretary. Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery

Listen to Cathal talk to Sarah Lowther about the purpose of Poolbeg Pharma, the arbitrage that softened Open Orphan’s share price and how a correction in that stock is imminent.  Plus what he means by the word ‘significant.’

Access Open Orphan’s latest presentation here

Engage with the company’s twitter feed @OpenOrphan

The author was remunerated but does not hold shares in the company