Wednesday, September 27th 2023


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Tackling the most important virus that no one has heard of


“…through a process of elimination it’s not too difficult to guess who the client is for hVIVO and how much the paid upfront contract is worth…”


In Mo Khan’s words human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is a nasty virus and one that hopefully his company hVIVO will, by the end of 2024, have harnessed enough data about to allow its client to create a vaccine.

hMPV is fairly common.  Most adults catch it, few show symptoms and those that do present typical cold-like symptoms including runny nose, headaches and fever. “It becomes really kind of problematic for young infants, the elderly and people who have asthma,” says Khan. “In those cases it can cause severe symptoms; in some cases result in hospitalisation ultimately causing pneumonia. One of the doctors recently termed it as the most important virus that people have not heard of.”

As recently as this Spring there was a spike in hMPV in the U.S. so there’s an urgency to create a therapy.

The therapy hVIVO is working on is for an unidentified North American biopharmaceutical company, though Khan says that through a process of elimination it’s not too difficult to guess who the client is and how much the paid upfront contract is worth.

The UK-listed company’s remit is to work on the industry’s first commercial hMPV human challenge model.  In a nutshell hVIVO will manufacture an hMPV virus and conduct a characterisation study to identify a safe and infectious dose of wild-type hMPV in up to 36 healthy adult volunteers. There are more steps, but ultimately what the client will get is the data that allows them to “streamline future trials and make critical go/no-go decisions more quickly, therefore accelerating the development of the vaccine candidate.”

As Mo tells Sarah Lowther in this video, fifty percent of hVIVO’s work already comes from North American customers, so this hMPV end-to-end contract brings more commercial opportunities in a key market and attracts the attention of others. By adding new challenge models to its portfolio of viruses, says Khan, hVIVO is  increasing the size of the market it’s addressing as it penetrates “further into already established markets.”



Read the Irish Times article on hVIVO’s latest results


Follow the company on Twitter @hVIVO_UK


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