Starpharma wins recognition for development of COVID-19 antiviral nasal spray

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Starpharma (ASX:SPL) has been announced as the winner of the ‘Most Significant Commercial Outcome’ award following the completion of a Biomedical Translation Bridge (BTB) program backed by the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and MTPConnect.

The award recognises the substantial and rapid impact of the company's novel, broad-spectrum antiviral nasal spray in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starpharma developed and commercialised the novel nasal spray, which is marketed outside Australia as VIRALEZE, within 12 months. It was the first ASX-listed biotech to bring a COVID-19 preventative product to the international market.

Starpharma was selected by an expert international panel for the government-funded program in September 2020 and awarded $1 million in funding to help expedite the development and commercialisation of VIRALEZE. It launched in the UK just six months later in March 2021.

The broad-spectrum antiviral nasal spray was first launched in the UK through the national chemist chain LloydsPharmacy. Starpharma has since signed sales and distribution agreements for VIRALEZE in Italy, Vietnam, and the Middle East as well as making the product available direct to consumers across Europe, Asia and the Middle East online.

Starpharma CEO Dr Jackie Fairley said, “It is pleasing to see the external recognition of the significant development and commercial achievements made possible by the hard work of Starpharma’s team in a very short space of time.

“VIRALEZE is an innovative, easy to use and cost-effective nasal spray and given its broad-spectrum antiviral activity, it has great potential to provide significant benefit in a range of settings, including seasonal cold and flu outbreaks and in pandemic preparedness.”

The company said the funding provided by the MRFF and MTPConnect has supported development activities and the extensive antiviral testing of VIRALEZE and the product’s main ingredient, SPL7013, which has now demonstrated the ability to effectively trap and block a number of pandemic and endemic viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, influenza A (H1N1, H3N2) and B, and RSV.