Starpharma Holdings Limited (ASX: SPL, OTCQX:SPHRY), located in Melbourne Australia, is an ASX 300 company and is a world leader in the development of dendrimer products for pharmaceutical, life science and other applications.
Starpharma’s underlying technology is built around dendrimers – a type of synthetic nanoscale polymer that is highly regular in size and structure and well suited to pharmaceutical and medical uses. Starpharma has three core development programs: VivaGel® portfolio, DEP® drug delivery, and agrochemicals with the Company developing a number of products internally and others via commercial partnerships.
Starpharma’s lead products are based on VivaGel® (SPL7013, astodrimer sodium), a proprietary dendrimer which has antimicrobial properties. VivaGel® formulated as a water based gel and delivered vaginally now has EU regulatory approval for topical treatment and rapid relief of bacterial vaginosis (BV) and is under clinical development for the prevention of recurrent BV. Starpharma has signed a license agreement with Aspen Pharmacare Australia Pty Ltd for the sales and marketing of VivaGel® BV in Australia and New Zealand. Starpharma has also signed separate license agreements with Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN), Okamoto Industries. Inc., (TSE: JP3192800005), Sky and Land (China) and Koushan Pharmed (Iran) to market a value-added, VivaGel® condom. The VivaGel® condom is available for purchase in Australia under Ansell’s Lifestyles® Dual Protect™ brand. Ansell manufactures and sells leading condom brands worldwide, including LifeStyles®, Manix®, ZERO® and SKYN®. Okamoto is the market leader for condoms sold in Japan, which is the world’s second largest condom market.
In the wider pharmaceutical field, Starpharma has both partnered and internal programs in Drug Delivery. A number of dendrimer-enhanced, or DEP® versions of existing drugs are under development. The most advanced of these is DEP® docetaxel, a dendrimer-enhanced version of docetaxel (Taxotere®), which is in clinical development in patients with solid tumours. In preclinical studies DEP® docetaxel has shown significant tumour-targeting and superior anti-cancer effects across a range of important cancer types including breast, prostate, lung and ovarian tumour, when compared to Taxotere® (docetaxel). AstraZeneca has signed a licensing agreement with Starpharma for the use of its DEP® drug delivery platform in the development and commercialisation of an AstraZeneca oncology compound, with potential for follow on compounds directed at a defined family of targets.
In agrochemicals Starpharma has a series of partnerships with leading industry players including global leader Adama (formerly Makhteshim Agan) as well as internal programs including an enhanced version of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup®).