viewOpen Orphan PLC

Open Orphan starts trading on AIM

Open Orphan was co-founded back in 2017 by Cathal Friel, the serial Irish investor behind companies such as Amryt Pharma and Fastnet

Open Orphan’s platform puts drug developers in touch with commercialisation experts

Shares in rare and orphan drug consulting platform Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH) have started trading on AIM today.

The company was known as Venn Life Sciences until corporate financier Cathal Friel reversed his Open Orphan business into it as part of a £5.7mln all-paper deal.

READ: Venn launches £4.5mln placing to fund life after reverse takeover

“We have a clear growth strategy targeting the fast-growing market for orphan drugs,” said chief executive Friel.

“The management team and board have a strong track record and we are confident in our abilities to generate significant shareholder returns.”

Set up in 2017

Friel was the co-founder of Amryt Pharma PLC (LON:AMYT), while he also served as chairman of Fastnet Oil & Gas for five years. More recently, he has chaired the Venn board of directors.

He set up Open Orphan a couple of years ago, with the aim of building a platform that helps pharma companies commercialise their products in Europe, with a specific focus on drugs that treat rare diseases.

Since then, almost £3mln has been invested into the company, most of which has gone on building a database of all the firms with orphan drugs that have either been approved or are currently going through the clinic.

The entrepreneur and his team have also put together a 4,000-strong directory of physicians and key opinion leaders with expertise in marketing and selling orphan drugs.

Annual subscription

Normally, the drug developers would have to pay a handsome fee to a third-party which would help find those experts, but Open Orphan intends to undercut the market with a cheaper annual subscription which gives firms access to the platform.

At the moment, Open Orphan is more of a ‘virtual rep’ service, which can be used to support the launch of new products or to promote mature brands.

But Friel and his team want to grow the company into a full-service consultancy for orphan and rare disease drugs.

A recent £4.5mln funding has armed Open Orphan with some cash to go on a consolidation spree in the highly fragmented orphan drug pharmaceutical services market and an “extensive pipeline of target acquisitions” have already been identified.

Quick facts: Open Orphan PLC

Price: 14.501 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £96.52 m

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