Irish pharma company Open Orphan eyeing profit on back of Covid research work

Specialist Irish pharmaceutical services group Open Orphan is targeting operating profitability by the third quarter of this year, on the back of growing involvement in Covid-19 testing and research work.

The company reported an operating loss of €14.2m for 2019 and reduced revenues of €27m. Both figures include its two main acquisitions of Irish firm Venn Life Sciences and UK pharmaceutical services business hVIVO.

However, Open Orphan has been building up a significant body of work in the area of Covid-19 research this year, including developing the world’s first challenge study model clinical trial aimed at testing the efficacy of the actual potential vaccines that are in development. It has also rolled out a third-party antibody testing service – with capacity for up to 3,000 tests per day and promising 100% accuracy.

“Following the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic it is clear that for the months and years ahead the development of new and novel vaccines and also the testing of such vaccines and antivirals will be one of the fastest-growing areas of the pharmaceutical industry,” said executive chairman Cathal Friel.

Open Orphan is also looking to cut costs by €2.5m this year and is looking to monetise a number of non-core investments.

Meanwhile, Amryt Pharma – the Dublin and London-listed drug firm focused on treating ultra rare diseases and conditions – has publicly registered an application for a US share listing on the Nasdaq exchange. The company had filed a draft registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in February. Amryt does not intend to raise funds through the sale of new shares via the listing.