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Open Orphan plc

Irish company to develop world’s first human challenge trial for Covid-19

An Irish company is to develop the world’s first human challenge trial for Covid-19, which will see healthy volunteers exposed to the virus as a first step to testing the effectiveness of potential vaccines.

The initial study, which is being funded by the British government in a deal worth up to €11.1 million, will begin in January in London, pending regulatory and ethical approval. It is being run by Dublin-based Open Orphan and its UK subsidiary, hVIVO, which has a history of running human challenge trials for viruses like influenza, malaria and the common cold.

Open Orphan (LON:ORPH) was founded in 2017, with the goal of rapidly building Europe’s leading pharma services company by a management team with extensive industry and financial expertise. The company comprises of two commercial specialist CRO services businesses (Venn Life Sciences and hVIVO) and is also developing a genomics data platform business (Genomic Health Data).