hVIVO to merge with Open Orphan to boost scale

The challenge trial charts the entire disease life cycle from healthy to sick and back to health.

Challenge trials can speed up vaccine development
Challenge trials can speed up vaccine development


  • hVIVO PLC (LON:HVO) has developed a human-based clinical trial platform to accelerate drug and vaccine development in respiratory and infectious diseases

  • Company is also developing a flu vaccine, FLU-v, through a joint venture with SEEK Group

  • Gearing up to take Flu-v into phase III trial

  • Merger with Open Orphan completed in January 2020


What it does

Using challenge trials, hVIVO helps drug companies researches influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human rhinovirus (HRV) and respiratory indications.

The trials chart the entire disease life cycle from healthy to sick and back to health.

The company is expanding its expertise into airways diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coughs.

Flu vaccine

HVIVO is also developing a flu vaccine, FLU-v, through a joint venture with SEEK Group.

A phase II trial met its primary endpoint of statistical significance in symptom reduction.

The JV is looking for a partner to help fund the cost of what will be a sizeable phase III trial.

Currently, flu vaccines have to be redesigned every year as the flu virus evolves rapidly.

One of the major plus-points for FLU-v is that it offers long-lasting protection against a broad spectrum of influenza which hVIVO believes could be given to a much broader population.

How it's doing

In December, the company agreed to merge with Open Orphan PLC.

At the time, the terms valued each share at 15.56p and hVIVO in its entirety at around £12.96mln.

Assuming the merger goes through, hVIVO shareholders will end up owning around 44.7% of the combined entity.

The directors of Open Orphan and hVIVO said the combination will result in synergies across the enlarged group, though there are limited overlaps in existing capabilities and customers.

The combination of the two companies will allow the commercialisation of the hVIVO database through the Open Orphan platform. 

Trevor Phillips will be the enlarged group's chief executive with Cathal Friel from Open Orphan to be chairman.



Inflexion points

  • Partner for Flu-v vaccine to help fund phase IlI trial
  • Expansion  of challenge trials into new areas such as COPD and asthma
  • New contracts for challenge trials in elderly patients 

Quick facts: hVIVO PLC

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