Saturday, September 23rd 2023

Open Orphan PLC

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Open Orphan’s pipeline at the highest its ever been


“…It’s only a matter of time before the Open Orphan share price goes up…”


Two years ago, human challenge studies were considered controversial in traditional medical circles, but the onset of Covid 19 elevated these types of studies to necessary, and Open Orphan quickly established itself as the gatekeeper to making this initiative more ethical and more mainstream.

In short, in human challenge studies a small number of healthy volunteers in a controlled setting are exposed to an infectious agent, and scientists and medics assess how effective vaccines or treatments are against the disease and identify any side effects.

And it’s this part of the business that new chief executive Mo Khan predicts will be the driver of growth for the company that wants to be a “true” specialist contract research organisation, and one increasingly recognised by ‘Big Pharma’ and biotechs as the world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials.

Orphan’s early foray into Covid challenge studies has extended to malaria bringing the total challenge models to eight, and Khan talks about at least one good phone call a week from clients relating to one or all of the company’s capabilities and capacity.

Khan refers to contracts coming like buses. You don’t see one for ages and three arrive at once.   Announcements have been plentiful at the beginning of the second quarter with subsidiary hVIVO,  signing a substantial contract with an existing top 5 global pharmaceutical client to manufacture a virus for use in human challenge studies.  This was followed by the announcement that it had been  awarded a new study with an existing Big Pharma client to act as a vaccination site for a Phase II field study of the client’s respiratory syncytial virus vaccine candidate.

The thing with biotech is the medical lexicon often reads like a foreign language, but Khan’s summary is succinct and simple in a clarity type of way.  The acting as a vaccination site is a new stream of revenue ‘without any additional investment into facilities or resources,’ and is essentially  another no-risk string to the company’s bow with a pipeline, that according to Khan, “Is at the highest it’s ever been.”

The share price though is not, and Khan believes Orphan has a very good year ahead of it and with additional announcements and the news only a few have intelligence about “It’s only a matter of time before the share price goes up.”

The challenge for Khan is protecting investor returns while saving the human race. “The fact that we’re working on indications that could potentially impact on the next pandemic, and we’re helping the world prepare for that is also an added bonus.”

Listen to Mo talk to Sarah Lowther about his confidence for Open Orphan’s growth potential for the year ahead, profitability and recent and wrong speculation about the company’s stock market listing.

Watch Mo talk to BRR Media’s Jack Hogben about the award of a new study with an existing ‘Big Pharma’ client to act as a vaccination site for a Phase II field study.


Watch hVIVO’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr Andrew Catchpole discuss the process of manufacturing a challenge virus and hVIVO’s long history of this work.

Take a tour round the company’s new facilities in London’s Plumber’s Row

Read the company’s latest corporate presentation

Follow the company on Twitter @OpenOrphan


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