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Open Orphan

Open Orphan starts trading on AIM

Open Orphan was co-founded back in 2017 by Cathal Friel, the serial Irish investor behind companies such as Amryt Pharma and Fastnet

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Open Orphan’s platform puts drug developers in touch with commercialisation experts

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.

READ: Venn launches £4.5mln placing to fund life after reverse takeover

“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

Friel was the co-founder of Amryt Pharma PLC (LON:AMYT), while he also served as chairman of Fastnet Oil & Gas for five years. More recently, he has chaired the Venn board of directors.

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.

Annual subscription

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.

Quick facts: Open Orphan

Price: £0.06

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £16.26 m
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