TIDMORPH

RNS Number : 0544Z

Open Orphan PLC

19 May 2021

OPEN ORPHAN PLC

("Open Orphan" or the "Company")

Court Approval to facilitate Distribution in Specie

Continued progress towards planned Demerger

Open Orphan (AIM: ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist pharmaceutical services clinical research organisation (CRO) and a world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials, confirms that, following its announcement on 13 April 2021, it has received Court approval for the reduction in capital. The reduction of capital will become effective on registration of the Court order at Companies House, which is expected to occur in the next few days.

The reduction of capital will give the Company the ability to not only effect the Distribution in Specie, as part of the proposed spin-out of certain non-core Development IP Assets , but also to make other distributions to Shareholders and/or buy back its own Open Orphan Ordinary Shares in the future if and when the Directors may consider that it is appropriate to do so.

As previously announced, the Board has decided that a spin-out and admission to AIM of the wholly owned Development IP Assets may provide the opportunity to secure separate financial resources for the Development IP Assets, with the goal of enabling accelerated development of the asset portfolio and achievement of development and commercial milestones. The Development IP Assets include HVO-001, an orally available, small molecule immunomodulator drug with potential as a treatment for severe influenza and symptoms requiring treatment in hospital with the drug unaffected by viral heterogeneity. It has the potential to treat a broad range of serious unmet needs in patients suffering from severe and fatal respiratory disease.

It is anticipated that a spin-out pursuant to the Demerger would allow the Company's shareholders to benefit from both the value of the Development IP Assets and the standalone value of the remaining business as it progresses through its own key milestones.

The Company continues to make good progress towards delivering against the potential Demerger and Distribution in Specie and will update shareholders in due course.

Terms defined in the Company's circular dated 13 April 2021 shall have the same meanings in the announcement.

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of Open Orphan plc commented: "We are delighted to have received Court approval of the reduction of capital. The reduction of capital will allow us to return value to shareholders as we go forward either as a distribution in specie as part of the proposed spin-off or through a share buy back or a payment of a dividend, as appropriate. The Company and the entire Open Orphan team have made significant progress in the past year and we remain on target with all of our plans as we continue to build the company going forward."

 
 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 / Richard Johnson 
  / Nick Wright 
 
 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 
 Paul McManus / Louis Ashe-Jepson                      +44 (0)7980 541 893 / 07747 515 393 
  / Sam Allen                                                              / 07502 558 258 
 
 

Notes to Editors

Open Orphan plc (London and Euronext: ORPH) is a rapidly growing pharmaceutical service/contract research company that is a world leader in testing vaccines and antivirals using human challenge clinical trials. The company provides services to Big Pharma, biotech and government/public health organisations.

Open Orphan runs challenge studies in London from both its 19-bedroom Whitechapel quarantine clinic, opened in February 2021, and its 24-bedroom QMB clinic which also has a highly specialised virology and immunology laboratory on-site. Open Orphan has a leading portfolio of eight human challenge study models for conditions such as RSV, flu, asthma and COPD. In addition, Open Orphan is also developing the world's first COVID-19 human challenge study model as part of the Human Challenge Programme and has signed a reservation contract with the UK Government for the first three COVID-19 vaccine challenge studies.

Building upon its many years of challenge studies and virology research, the Company is developing an in-depth database of infectious disease progression data. Based on the Company's Disease in Motion(R) platform, this unique dataset includes clinical, immunological, virological and digital (wearable) biomarkers. The Disease in Motion platform has many potential applications across a wide variety of end users including big technology, wearables, pharma and biotech companies. Following COVID-19 there is now a renewed interest and investment in infectious diseases.

Open Orphan's Paris office has been providing biometry, data management and statistics to its many European pharmaceutical clients for over 20 years. For over 15 years, the Company's Netherlands office has been providing drug development consultancy and services, including CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls), PK and medical writing, to a broad range of European clients. Both offices are now also fully integrated with the London office and working on challenge study contracts as well as supporting third party trial contracts .

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