Open Orphan plc (AIM: ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist pharmaceutical services contract research organization (CRO) and world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials, announced today that hVIVO, part of Open Orphan plc, has opened a new quarantine clinic in East London. The new site is based in Whitechapel, directly opposite the Queen Mary BioEnterprise Innovation Centre which houses hVIVO’s 24 bedroom unique state-of-the-art FluCamp site and the recently opened new street-level volunteer screening centre. The Whitechapel Clinic will act as an extension of hVIVO`s current QMB site.
Cathal Friel, Exexcutive Chairman of Open Orphan plc told DirectorsTalk,
“This RNS is fantastic news for Open Orphan because we have now, in a very low-cost manner, almost doubled our quarantine bedroom capacity that we hold in our QMB East London facility. We have taken a short-term lease on the former boutique Whitechapel Hotel, the cost of conversion for this new clinic was paid by an existing Open Orphan challenge study client. This client wanted to start their study earlier than the current backlog would have allowed, given that the QMB facility is booked out until the end of 2021. Thus, the cost of converting the hotel into a quarantine unit and also the first year’s lease costs have been funded by this client, therefore there was no net cost to Open Orphan regarding same.
This allows us to facilitate additional studies through this new Whitechapel Clinic and allows us to substantially increase our capacity going forward to service the increasing appetite of pharma companies to run challenge studies on a whole range of disease indications.
Additionally and very importantly, these new 19 quarantine beds which are in addition to our existing 24 beds at QMB are fully repurposed to the highest quarantine standards and are perfect for our challenge study work. With the new Whitechapel Clinic being fifty feet across the road from QMB, it means that we can also use our existing laboratory and admin facilities that are housed inside our QMB clinic. “
The converted 26-bedroom former boutique hotel, which will be known as the Whitechapel Clinic, has the capacity for up to 19 quarantine rooms and will be used as an additional unit for human challenge trials and volunteer recruitment screening. The quarantine rooms are located across three floors of the former hotel, with each level fully converted to include a nurses station on each floor.
The new site, like QMB, will follow the highest safety standards to deliver each clinical study and volunteer screening visit. Of the 19 rooms, 8 rooms on a single floor are flexible use clinic rooms, meaning they can be used as either quarantine bedrooms for challenge studies or for volunteer screening visits. Each room at the facility has been fully repurposed to the highest standard, with all volunteer rooms equipped with an en-suite bathroom, TV, wardrobe, and tea & coffee making facilities. This will provide a comfortable space for volunteers during studies. The Whitechapel Clinic, like QMB, is also equipped with a 24-hour security presence and a working hour reception desk.
Cathal Friel, commented: “Our newest quarantine unit greatly increases our capacity to facilitate hVIVO’s pipeline of upcoming studies. Our QMB clinic is now close to full capacity until December 2021, and as such, the newly renovated, state of the art Whitechapel Clinic will allow us to increase our study capacity substantially in the year ahead.
“We have leased the entire former Whitechapel Hotel and managed to convert the space on a very cost efficient basis which is now almost fully booked to capacity for H1 2021. This new facility will be run at the same high standard as our QMB site, and volunteers will be expertly supervised by our highly trained nurses and doctors in a safe and controlled clinical environment.”