Open Orphan rebrands to Hvivo as it focuses on human challenge business

8 Sep 2022

Open Orphan CEO Cathal Friel. Image: Open Orphan

Open Orphan is changing its name as CEO Yamin Khan said the company achieved its ‘key goal’ of double-digit earnings for the first time.

Dublin-based pharma services company Open Orphan announced today (8 September) that it is changing its name to Hvivo next month.

The Open Orphan board believes that the rebranding reflects the company’s core human challenge and early clinical services business.

Hvivo is the name of Open Orphan’s subsidiary that specialises in human challenge trials. These involve the deliberate exposure of human volunteers to infectious agents in a controlled setting, designed to assess the efficacy of vaccines or treatments for clients.

Open Orphan hopes to benefit from the strong global brand recognition Hvivo has been gaining within the biopharma industry. Last month, Hvivo signed a £10.4m contract with a major global pharmaceutical company to test a potential flu treatment.

The name change will be effective from 26 October, when the Dublin and London-listed company will see its ticker change to HVO.

Along with news of the rebranding, Open Orphan also reported its financial results for the first half of this year.

The company reiterated its full-year revenue guidance of £50m, but reported an 18pc drop in revenue to £18.9m between January and June, compared to £23.2m in the same period last year.

The revenue guidance was underpinned by “robust” trading in July and August and a strong order book for the rest of the year.

Open Orphan CEO Yamin Khan said that the group achieved double-digit earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation for the first time, which has been a “key goal” of the business since its first full-year profitability last year.

“In the second half, we expect revenues to grow considerably and profit margins to increase further as a number of significant contracts signed earlier in the year enter the clinic,” he added.

“The board expects to deliver full-year revenues in line with guidance, and we look forward to the rest of 2022 and beyond with confidence.”

In June, Hvivo said it was developing the world’s first human challenge model involving the Omicron variant of Covid-19. This will be used to test the efficacy of an oral vaccine candidate from biotech company Vaxart.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic