Hvivo lands £5.2m contract with Asia-Pacific biotech to test RSV vaccine

4 Jan 2023

Image: © suriyapong/Stock.adobe.com

This is the first human challenge trial contract Hvivo has signed with a client in the Asia-Pacific region in more than a decade.

Dublin-based pharma services company Hvivo (formerly Open Orphan) has signed a contract to use its human challenge model to test the vaccine of a global biotech company.

These trials 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.

The new contract worth £5.2m is with a biotech headquartered in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The trial will assess this company’s respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine candidate.

RSV is a common respiratory illness that can cause cold-like symptoms and can be particularly serious for infants and older adults. Ireland experienced a rise in RSV cases during the recent winter months.

Hvivo said the double-blinded placebo-controlled trial will take place at its specialist quarantine facilities in London. There, the trial will evaluate the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of the client’s vaccine candidate against RSV infection.

The Irish company said the study is expected to commence in the latter half of 2023.

This marks the first human challenge trial contract that Hvivo has signed with a client in the APAC region in more than a decade.

“I am optimistic that more biopharma companies in the APAC region will increasingly recognise both the value of human challenge trials, and Hvivo’s reputation as the ‘go-to’ partner in the market,” said Hvivo CEO Yamin ‘Mo’ Khan.

Hvivo was originally the name of Open Orphan’s subsidiary, which specialised in human challenge trials. The company announced plans to rebrand last September in order to reflect its core human challenge and early clinical services business.

Last August, Hvivo signed a £10.4m contract with a major global pharmaceutical company to test a potential flu treatment.

Earlier in the year, 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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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic