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Open Orphan PLC - MHRA approval for nasal COVID-19 vaccine trial

RNS Number : 4585I
Open Orphan PLC
14 December 2020
 

Open Orphan plc

("Open Orphan" or the "Company")

 

MHRA approval for nasal COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

First in human trials for vaccine candidate with the potential to confer long-term immunity

 

Open Orphan plc (AIM: ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist pharmaceutical services CRO which is the world leader in the testing of vaccines and antivirals using human challenge clinical trials, announces the first in human (Phase I) study of Codagenix intranasal SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine candidate has received approval from the UK's independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

 

Further to the Company's announcement on 28 July 2020, hVIVO, part of Open Orphan plc, is working in collaboration with US biotech Codagenix Inc. ("Codagenix") to conduct this Phase I study of COVI-VAC, Codagenix's intranasal SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine candidate. The study will evaluate safety and immunogenicity of a single-dose nasal vaccine candidate in 48 healthy young adult volunteers at hVIVO's state-of-the-art Quarantine Facility in Whitechapel, London.

 

COVI-VAC is one of the few vaccines that uses the live-attenuated virus (i.e. the entire virus in a weakened form), unlike most other vaccines which only contain the viral spike. This vaccine, therefore, has the potential to induce broad antibody, cellular and mucosal immunity with a single intranasal dose and could be one of the first vaccines to provide long-term immunity from COVID-19.

 

hVIVO expects the study to commence in January 2021, the initial data expected in early Q2 2020. The Company has already begun enrolling volunteers for this study in its unique East London, 24-bedroom quarantine clinic through hVIVO's dedicated volunteer recruitment website: www.flucamp.com

 

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of Open Orphan, said:

"We are delighted to have MHRA approval to begin recruiting volunteers for this much needed clinical trial. The volunteers who attend our unique quarantine facility in East London are expertly supervised in a safe, controlled clinical environment and could be contributing to the development of a new breakthrough vaccine candidate that has the potential to confer immunity to individuals over a much longer timescale.

 

"We hope to demonstrate safety and immunogenicity through this trial, which will then allow us to support Codagenix as they move into a larger Phase II / Phase III programme."

 

Sybil Tasker, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer of Codagenix, said:

"We are very excited to be moving forward with our collaboration with hVIVO for this first-in-human study of COVI-VAC, our live attenuated vaccine against COVID-19. The initial safety and immunogenicity data from healthy adults will position us well to move into larger studies in 2021 with our partners at Serum Institute of India. We believe COVI-VAC, a needle-free, single dose vaccine, is well-suited to address potential gaps in supplying the global community, as there is likely to be significant unmet need even after the initial roll-out of first generation COVID-19 vaccines."

 

Dr. Rajeev Dhere, Executive Director, Serum Institute of India, said:

"We at the Serum Institute of India are pleased with the MHRA approval for initiating the first-in-human clinical trial for the novel intranasal product against COVID-19, developed by Codagenix in collaboration with SII. We are happy to have hVIVO conducting the clinical trial of this unique Intranasal vaccine."

 

 

 

For further information please contact

 

Open Orphan plc

+353 (0)1 644 0007

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman

 

 

 

Arden Partners plc (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

+44 (0)20 7614 5900

John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Benjamin Cryer / Dan Gee-Summons

 

 

 

finnCap plc (Joint Broker)

+44 (0) 20 7220 500

Geoff Nash / James Thompson/ Richard Chambers

 

 

 

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker)

+353 (0)1 679 6363

Anthony Farrell

 

 

 

Walbrook PR (Financial PR & IR)

+44 (0)20 7933 8780 or openorphan@walbrookpr.com

Paul McManus / Alice Woodings

+44 (0)7980 541 893 / +44 (0)7407 804 654

     

 

About Open Orphan (www.openorphan.com)

 

Open Orphan is a rapidly growing niche CRO pharmaceutical services company which is a world leader in the testing of vaccines and antivirals through the use of human challenge clinical trials. Conducted from Europe's only 24-bedroom quarantine clinic with onsite virology providing individually isolated rooms and connected to our specialist laboratory facility. hVIVO's challenge studies require healthy volunteers to take part, volunteers are recruited through FluCamp, learn more at www.FluCamp.comThe hVIVO facility offers highly specialised virology and immunology laboratory services to support pre-clinical and clinical respiratory drug, antiviral, and vaccine discovery and development.  Reliable laboratory analysis underpinned by scientific expertise is essential when processing and analysing clinical samples. Robust quality processes support our team of scientists in the delivery of submission ready data.

 

The Company has a leading portfolio of 8 viral challenge study models which are: 2 FLU, 2 RSV, 1 HRV, 1 Asthma, 1 cough and 1 COPD viral challenge models. As announced in early March, Open Orphan is rapidly advancing a number of Coronavirus challenge study models and expects to be helping many COVID-19 vaccine development companies to test their vaccines. No other company in the world has such a portfolio, with only two competitors globally having 1 challenge study model each. hVIVO also works with companies in the UK and Ireland to provide COVID-19 testing to staff to protect staff and customers from a workplace COVID-19 outbreak through its COVID Clear offering. 

 

Open Orphan comprises of two commercial specialist CRO services businesses, hVIVO  and  Venn Life Sciences and is also building out a valuable data platform business. hVIVO has built up one of the world's largest databases of infectious disease progression data and we are populating our Open Orphan Health Data platform with this historical hVIVO data. In our clinical trials going forward, we are also planning to collect data on volunteer's via wearables during clinical trials. Therefore, Open Orphan's data, which may yield valuable digital biomarkers, could be one of the more sought-after datasets by many of the large wearables /smart watch wearables providers around the world. In June 2019, Open Orphan acquired AIM-listed Venn Life Sciences Holdings plc in a reverse take-over and in January 2020 it completed the merger with hVIVO plc in January 2020. Venn is an integrated drug development consultancy firm which offers CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls), preclinical, Phase I & II clinical trials design and execution. The merger with hVIVO created a European full pharma services company broadening the Company's customer base and with complementary specialist CRO services, widened the range of the Company's service offerings.

 

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