hVIVO was originally incorporated in 1988 as Retroscreen Virology (the name was changed to hVIVO in 2015). The company was spun-out from Queen Mary, University of London, to commercialise the academic research of Professor John Oxford in the field of retroviruses, which at the time, were considered to have promise in the fight against HIV/Aids.
In 2001, Professor Oxford was asked to expand from the laboratory and leverage his early career experience in these early human viral challenge studies. Studies were conducted at hVIVO, led by Dr Robert Lambkin-Williams and Dr Anthony Gilbert, to develop a series of well-characterised virus stocks and human disease models whilst demonstrating that utilising these in human viral challenge studies provided clients a faster and cost effective route to market for their therapeutics. One notable study was the first proof of the efficacy of a siRNA therapeutic, in which hVIVO’s human disease model and challenge study results proved instrumental.
With hVIVO human disease models gaining acceptance in an increasing number of peer-reviewed publications, hVIVO designed and built its own dedicated, bespoke quarantine unit in London, which opened in early 2011.