Starpharma says SPL7013 shows significant activity COVID-19

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Melbourne-based company Starpharma (ASX:SPL) has announced that its VivaGel active, astodrimer sodium (SPL7013), has been shown in laboratory studies to have significant antiviral activity against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 ).

According to the company, SPL7013 inhibited the infection of cells with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the finding was validated by replicate testing against a positive control compound, remdesivir (Gilead), which is considered a leading candidate for the treatment of COVID-19.

It said the finding was also significant because SPL7013 was reported to be the best performing test compound against SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory’s assay to date.

"With these positive results, Starpharma is evaluating product concepts and formulation options for SPL7013, which may have potential applications in the prevention and management of COVID-19," said the company.

It continued, "Given SPL7013 is already approved as the active component of two marketed VivaGel® products (VivaGel® BV and the VivaGel®condom) and these products have regulatory approval in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia and South East Asia, Starpharma anticipates it should be possible to fast-track certain aspects of the development path for products targeted at COVID-19. "

Dr Jackie Fairley, Starpharma CEO, said, “Following the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in February, Starpharma instigated testing of SPL7013 via a specialist antiviral testing laboratory in Melbourne.

"We are very pleased to find that the compound is highly active against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and we are now exploring a number of product opportunities, including a potential preventative application to reduce the risk of infection.

"Such a product could provide additional personal protection including for those in the frontline of this crisis, such as doctors, nurses and other essential workers, and is in keeping with Starpharma’s strategy to expand commercial applications of our dendrimers. We are very pleased to be in a position to potentially help with the effort in overcoming the current global COVID-19 pandemic.”