Open Orphan has announced a new £4.3m contract to conduct a human viral challenge study using one of its eight traditional challenge study models for another of the global top 10 vaccine companies.
It said the trial will be conducted in its dedicated human viral challenge quarantine unit in London with all volunteers recruited through its hVIVO's volunteer recruitment website.
The hVIVO unit is Europe's only commercial 24-bedroom quarantine clinic with on-site virology laboratory.
Dublin-listed pharmaceutial company Open Orphan is made up of two commercial specialist Contract Research Organisation services businesses, hVIVO and Venn Life Sciences.
The company said that work on its new contract has started already and the contract is expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2021 with the majority of revenues being generated in the first half of 2021.
Last week, the Financial Times reported that Open Orphan would be the first in the world to conduct a human challenge trial for Covid-19 that will see healthy subjects "infected" with the virus to test the effectiveness of the vaccines being developed.
Cathal Friel, executive chairman of Open Orphan, said the company continues to execute on its substantial pipeline that has been built up by the expertise and experience of its teams in hVIVO and Venn Life Sciences.
"We are focused on continuing to deliver large and profitable contracts which demonstrate hVIVO's position as the world leader in the testing of vaccines and antivirals using human challenge clinical trials," Mr Friel said.
"Our stated objectives when we acquired hVIVO in January of this year was to increase its 24-bedroom quarantine clinic annual utilisation from its traditional 20-25% utilisation up to maximum capacity and to build out a clear pipeline of signed contracts going forward," he said.
"With this contract, we are close to having the hVIVO quarantine clinic block booked with our conventional challenge studies until December 2021. Within a month or two we are likely to have our quarantine clinic block booked out for the next 18 months to two years with conventional challenge study contracts," he added.