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.
“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
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.
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.