Open Orphan has announced the signing of a £2.5m contract by its subsidiary hVIVO to conduct an influenza human challenge study with a US biotechnology company.

According to Open Orphan, the study is expected to begin at hVIVO’s quarantine clinic in East London the second half of 2021. The company then expects the study to be fully completed by the end of 2021 and generate £2.5m of revenue.

hVIVO’s challenge studies require healthy volunteers to take part, with its facility offering specialised virology and immunology laboratory services to support pre-clinical and clinical respiratory drug, antiviral and vaccine discovery and development.

The company’s portfolio includes eight viral challenge study models, including two influenza models, two respiratory syncytial virus models, one human rhinovirus model, one asthma, one cough and one chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) model.

“We are delighted to be conducting this influenza challenge study, recent events have highlighted the importance of treatments for viral infections such as influenza and we are seeing an increased level of interest amongst both pharma and biotech in developing innovative new vaccines, antivirals, and therapeutics,” said Cathal Friel, executive chairman of Open Orphan.

“The company is pleased to be continuing to deliver on our pipeline of opportunities. This has been due to the exceptional work from the hVIVO team, building on the company’s long history as the world leading challenge study provider. Both the team and I are excited to see the progress being made by the group and look forward to continuing the momentum as we rapidly grow the business to maximise shareholder value,” he added

For this new study, Venn Life Science’s Paris team will complete the biometrics.