Feb 27, 2019

Starpharma Interim Report and Half-Year Financial Results

Starpharma Interim Report and Half-Year Financial Results

Melbourne, Australia; 27 February 2019: Starpharma (ASX: SPL, OTCQX: SPHRY) today released its interim report and financial results for the half-year ended 31 December 2018.

Financial Summary

  • Reported loss of $7.3M (Dec 2017: $6.2M); and
  • Cash position at 31 December 2018 of $44.4M (June 2018: $51.3M), which excludes the expected $4.0M FY18 R&D tax incentive to be received.


  • VivaGel® BV was licensed to ITF Pharma, Inc., for the US for milestones of up to US$101M in addition to escalating, double-digit royalties;
  • Starpharma and its partners, Mundipharma and Aspen, undertook extensive preparations for the upcoming launches of VivaGel® BV in multiple regions scheduled for the first half of 2019. Extensive marketing activities such as packaging design, sales staff training, promotional material development, and launch meetings occurred in parallel with supply chain activities. Manufactured product has been delivered to Aspen subsequent to half-year end, and manufacturing of product for Europe is well-advanced;
  • US FDA completed its review of the VivaGel® BV NDA and advised it requires confirmatory clinical data prior to approval. In preparation for a meeting with the FDA to discuss the data required, Starpharma has been working closely with expert FDA consultants and is currently awaiting confirmation of the meeting date;
  • VivaGel® condom received final regulatory approval in Japan and Starpharma’s partner, Okamoto, commenced launch activities; and
  • Positive independent market research was conducted in the US for SPL7013 ophthalmic drops for viral conjunctivitis and a patent was granted for the product.

DEP® Drug Delivery

  • Recruitment activities progressed well for two DEP® clinical trials - for DEP® docetaxel (phase 2) and DEP® cabazitaxel (phase 1 / 2), with new sites opened to support recruitment. Efficacy signals have been observed in a number of patients and both products continue to exhibit a notable lack of bone marrow toxicity and other common side effects including hair-loss, anaphylaxis and oedema;
  • Final preclinical work for the DEP® irinotecan phase 1 / 2 trial was completed, study product was manufactured, and other trial preparations, including CRO/site selection, are well advanced ahead of the planned trial commencement later in FY19;
  • AstraZeneca’s first patent application on DEP® Bcl2/xL inhibitor conjugates was published and included compelling efficacy data on DEP® Bcl2/xL inhibitor conjugates, both alone and in combination with market-leading anti-cancer treatments, in various human leukemia models;
  • DEP® irinotecan showed impressive efficacy and safety benefits over standard irinotecan in combination with 5-FU in a human pancreatic cancer model;
  • DEP® docetaxel & DEP® cabazitaxel outperformed both gemcitabine & Abraxane® in a human pancreatic cancer model; and
  • A range of DEP® radiopharmaceutical and other DEP® candidates have been made and are currently undergoing testing in a variety of models.

Starpharma concluded the half-year in a strong financial position with a cash balance of $44.4 million, which does not include the $4.0M FY18 R&D tax incentive expected to be received after 31 December 2018. The net loss after tax for the half-year of $7.3 million (Dec 2017: $6.2 million) reflects investment across the VivaGel® and DEP® portfolio, including DEP® docetaxel, DEP® cabazitaxel, and DEP® irinotecan. Expenditure includes an increased investment in commercialisation, regulatory and operating costs associated with the US VivaGel® BV licence and the preparation for product launch in a number of territories.

Starpharma’s CEO, Dr Jackie Fairley, commented: “We achieved several important milestones in the VivaGel® portfolio during the half-year, including signing a US licence for VivaGel® BV with ITF Pharma, Inc. We were clearly surprised and disappointed by the FDA's request for confirmatory data and we are working with expert FDA consultants to expedite this process. In non-US territories, launch activities are in the final stages as we approach the launch of VivaGel® BV in Australia and Europe (1HCY19). We also continue to work closely with our partner, Mundipharma, on further registrations to support launches in several other regions.”

Commenting on the DEP® drug delivery portfolio, Dr Fairley said: “We’re pleased to see efficacy signals once again in both our DEP® clinical trials as well as a notable lack of bone marrow toxicity and other common side effects. An abundance of positive data from the DEP® platform, both preclinical and clinical, continues to build amid partnered program discussions with a number of multinational and US pharmaceutical companies. Our first partnered program with AstraZeneca for AZD0466 is expected to commence clinical trials this year and preparations at AstraZeneca for this activity continue with priority. This partnered program is just one example of the value that can be generated from our unique DEP® platform.”

Dr Fairley concluded: “We expect to announce a number of key milestones throughout 2019, in addition to the launch of VivaGel® BV in Australia and Europe, and regulatory progress across a range of markets, including the US; launch of the VivaGel® condom in Japan; regulatory approval of the VivaGel® condom in other regions; and progress across internal and partnered DEP® programs including commencement of the DEP® irinotecan and AZD0466 clinical trials.”

Download ASX Announcement: Interim Report and Half-Yearly Financial Results (PDF, 766kb) 

 This contains certain forward-looking statements.