Biotech Hvivo expanding clinical trial capacity

29 Aug 2023

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The Irish-founded biotech Hvivo is expanding its operations in London to meet growing demand for its human challenge clinical trial services.

Clinical-trial specialist biotech Hvivo has today (29 August) announced the planned expansion of its life sciences hub in Canary Wharf, London.

Due to a growing demand for its services, the company formerly known as Open Orphan, is building a state-of-the-art facility which will include 50 quarantine beds, with potential to expand to 70 beds, and virology and immunology labs.

There will also be an outpatient unit to facilitate phase two and three clinical trials.

The project is scheduled to be complete and fully operational by Q2 of 2024. At which point, the plan is to consolidate operations which are currently run across the company’s Whitechapel and Queen Mary Bioenterprise Centre clinics. Hvivo said that these sites “will remain fully operational throughout this transition” and close only when the new site is up and running.

The company’s Plumbers Row and Manchester FluCamp screening facilities will remain operational.

The Irish-founded company specialises in human challenge trial testing whereby healthy volunteers are intentionally exposed to a pathogen such as a virus, bacteria or fungus, to enable researchers to better understand diseases and test the effectiveness of drug treatments and vaccines. Hvivo works with several of the world’s largest biopharma companies to develop new vaccines and antivirals.

Hvivo claims that the new facility will maximise revenue by “consolidate[ing] all quarantine beds onto a single floor within one building” which will “optimise staff utilisation, achieve operational cost savings and improve overall efficiency and productivity”.

According to Hvivo’s CEO Yamin ‘Mo’ Khan, the expansion will broaden their service offerings. “The new facility will also allow us to conduct a greater number of trials concurrently across various challenge models enabling the company to maintain a higher level of capacity throughout the year,” Khan added.

The project has been “largely funded” by Hvivo clients. Khan said their support “underscores the urgency and importance of accelerating drug development, and the crucial role that human challenge trials are increasingly playing in the development of new vaccines and antivirals”.

In July, Hvivo announced a new contract worth £13.1m to develop a human challenge model for an influenza B vaccine. At the time, Khan said this continued the trend of “large contract wins” for the company. In January, it secured a £5.2m contract with an Asia-Pacific biotech to test a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine candidate.

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Rebecca Graham is production editor at Silicon Republic