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Open Orphan PLC - First volunteer dosed in COVID-19 clinical trial

RNS Number : 1421L
Open Orphan PLC
11 January 2021
 

11 January 2021

Open Orphan plc

("Open Orphan" or the "Company")

 

First volunteer dosed in intranasal COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

 

Open Orphan plc (AIM: ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist pharmaceutical services CRO and a world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials, announces that the first volunteer has been dosed with the Codagenix Inc. ("Codagenix") needle free, intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, COVI-VAC. Conducted by hVIVO, part of Open Orphan plc, the Phase I clinical trial of COVI-VAC is being carried out at their facility in the UK. COVI-VAC is a single-dose, intranasal, live attenuated (the entire virus in a weakened form) vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

 

Further to the Company's announcement on 28 July 2020, hVIVO is working in collaboration with US biotech Codagenix to conduct a Phase I study of COVI-VAC. This is a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled dose-escalation study, and will evaluate the safety and tolerability of the single-dose intranasal vaccine candidate in 48 healthy young adult volunteers at hVIVO's state-of-the-art Quarantine Facility in Whitechapel, London.

 

The study will also evaluate the vaccine's ability to provoke an immune response - measuring neutralising antibodies, mucosal immunity in the airway and cellular immunity. COVI-VAC has the potential to address several key logistical challenges to immunisation against SARS-CoV-2 at a global scale. As a single-dose, intranasally-delivered vaccine, COVI-VAC will not require a needle and syringe to be administered, nor ultra-low temperature freezers for storage. COVI-VAC can be manufactured on a large scale and supports ease of administration in a mass vaccination campaign. Codagenix expects to report initial data from the study by mid-2021.

 

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman, Open Orphan, commented: "We are delighted to have been chosen by the New York based Codagenix to run this very important COVID-19 vaccine study in our quarantine clinic in London. This vaccine is one of the first of the next generation COVID-19 vaccines, it is a single dose, needle free, intranasal, live attenuated COVID-19 virus vaccine. Thus, in our opinion, because it is a live attenuated virus vaccine, COVI-VAC has the potential to give much longer-lasting cellular immunity against COVID-19 than many of the first-generation vaccines.

 

"Codagenix sought an inpatient facility for the first in human evaluation of COVI-VAC to allow for thorough evaluation of product safety and real-time volunteer monitoring, and our unique state-of-the-art quarantine facility in East London is one of the few facilities in the world suitable to conduct this trial safely and successfully. hVIVO are providing a full-service trial as part of this contract with Codagenix and the team at FluCamp have been responsible for all aspects of trial recruitment for this study through www.FluCamp.com.

 

"hVIVO is world-recognised for its expertise in evaluation of live viruses in human volunteers and we look forward to a positive outcome."

 

Sybil Tasker, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer of Codagenix, said: "Dosing of the first patients in the Phase 1 clinical trial of COVI-VAC, our single-dose, intranasal, live attenuated vaccine against COVID-19, is an important milestone for Codagenix and the hVIVO team. As a live attenuated vaccine, COVI-VAC has the potential to provide a broader immune response in comparison to other COVID-19 vaccines that target only a portion of the virus, which could prove critical as new variants of SARS-CoV-2 have begun to emerge.  Additionally, we believe COVI-VAC can address potential gaps in supplying the global immunization effort against COVID-19, especially in developing countries."

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

hVIVO recruits many of its volunteers for its challenge study clinical trials through its dedicated volunteer recruitment website, www.flucamp.com. hVIVO welcomes volunteers to take part in our clinical trials under expertly supervised conditions, to further medical research, and help us to take the understanding of respiratory illnesses to a new level. Volunteers are central to the work that we do; our studies focus on testing new treatments on real people, in a safe, controlled, clinical environment.

Further details on all aspects of our volunteer programs including testimonials from previous volunteers can be found at www.flucamp.com.

If you are interested in being contacted and provided with details about future COVID-19 human challenge study research, please leave your contact details at www.UKCovidChallenge.com.

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 0500

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

Anna Dunphy / Paul McManus

+44 (0)7876 741 001 / +44 (0)7980 541 893  

     

 

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 volunteers 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. 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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