viewOpen Orphan PLC

Open Orphan recruits hVIVO for its rare disease mission


  • Open Orphan reversed into Venn Life in June 2019
  • The plan is to establish one of Europe’s most comprehensive rare disease patient databases
  • Company will use acquisitions to help develop its two platforms
  • Merger with hVIVO announced in December
Open Orphan - Open Orphan PLC gets started on its rare disease mission

Quick facts: Open Orphan PLC

Price: 6.419 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £16.34 m

The combination of Venn and Open Orphan has given us a strong platform to build a full-service, high margin consultancy to offer services to the fast-growing orphan drug market right across Europe.

Cathal Friel, chief executive



What it does

Open Orphan Plc was established in 2017 to build a platform that helps pharma companies commercialise their products in Europe, with a specific focus on drugs that treat rare diseases.

Since then, more than €3mln has been invested into the company, most of which has gone on building a database of all the firms with orphan drugs that have either been approved or are currently going through the clinic.

Open Orphan has also put together a 4,000-strong directory of physicians and key opinion leaders with expertise in marketing and selling orphan drugs.

Normally the drug developers would have to pay a handsome fee to a third-party which would help find those experts, but Open Orphan intends to undercut the market with a cheaper annual subscription which gives the companies access to the platform.

At the moment, Open Orphan is more of a ‘virtual rep’ service, which can be used to support the launch of new products or to promote mature brands.

But chief executive Cathal Friel and his team want to grow the company into a full-service consultancy for orphan and rare disease drugs.

How it's doing

in December, Open Orphan agreed to merge with challenge trial specialist hVIVO PLC (LON:HVO).

hVIVO shareholders will receive 2.47 Open Orphan shares for every hVIVO share they hold and will end up owning around 44.7% of the combined entity.

The directors of Open Orphan and hVIVO believe that the combination of the businesses will result in synergies across the enlarged group.

Open Orphan intends to maintain the existing research and development activities of hVIVO, relative to supporting hVIVO's clinical developments services offering.

hVIVO chief executive Trevor Phillips will be chief executive of the enlarged group and Cathal Friel executive chairman.

What the boss says

The merger of Open Orphan and hVIVO is a key milestone in the execution of our strategy to become a larger-scale specialist pharma services business and in complementary segments where specialist skills and know-how command higher margins,”





Inflexion points

  • First pharma companies and advocacy groups sign up for genomic health data platform
  • Revenues start to be generated from virtual rep platform
  • Merger with hVIVO completes


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