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  • Advanced meditech developer Starpharma (SPL) has reported the company is rolling along nicely, despite global interruptions due to COVID-19
  • The company’s quarterly cashflow and activity report paints a picture of a sturdy operation only minimally affected by the virus outbreak
  • Starpharma’s end of quarter cash balance was $36.1 million, an increase of $200,000 when compared to the previous quarter
  • Starpharma has also released a long list of highlights associated with ongoing clinical trials and the rollout of its products across Australia, Asia and the U.S.
  • Three separate trials with cancer drugs are showing very positive interim results for tumour shrinkage and other indicators
  • The regulatory approval and commercial rollout of VivaGel BV also continues to expand across the globe
  • Despite all the good news, Starpharma is down 2.8 per cent to 87.5 cents a share at Tuesday’s market close

Advanced meditech developer Starpharma (SPL) has reported the company is rolling along nicely, despite global interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quarterly Cashflow and Activity Report

The company’s quarterly cashflow and activity report paints a picture of a sturdy operation only minimally affected by the virus outbreak. Starpharma’s end of quarter cash balance was $36.1 million, an increase of $200,000 when compared to the previous quarter.

The company believes its strong cash reserves and clean balance sheet provide a strong base from which to continue its research & development (R&D) programs, and to maintain its marketing and manufacturing arms even amid pandemic-related safety protocols and restrictions.

Highlights include reduced net operating cash outflow for the March quarter of just $900,000, as compared to the total of $5.1 million over the first half of the financial year. Outflow costs are associated with the company’s ongoing R&D work, plus the manufacturing, regulatory and commercialisation costs of its VivaGel BV products.

A US$3 million payment from AstraZeneca was also a big win. The payment marks the milestone achievement of commencement in the clinical trial of AZD0466 using Starpharma’s unique Dendrimer Enhanced Product (DEP) technology. AstraZeneca has indicated the trial will be continuing and expanding to additional sites across the U.S.

R&D and Marketing Highlights

Starpharma has also released a long list of highlights associated with ongoing clinical trials and the rollout of its products across Australia, Asia and the U.S.

R&D

The company’s DEP technology uses synthetic nanoscale polymers to deliver drugs in a way that SPL believes is safer and more efficient than other systems. The DEP tech is currently being trialled in the delivery of three different oncological drugs, for a diverse range of cancers including prostate, breast, pancreatic and colorectal tumours. Starpharma reports positive interim results from all three trials, whereby each study has reported indications of tumour shrinkage, reduced side-effects and stabilisation of the disease.

The company is also expanding the application of DEP beyond the field of oncology. Starpharma is in discussions with potential partners for the use of DEP in antiviral therapies – a fairly hot topic at the moment.

Marketing

The company’s VivaGel BV product line is also making some positive strides around the world.

Starpharma reports promotional activities for its Fleurstat BVgel were expanded across Australia, with strong support from physicians and pharmacists. The product now ranks as the number one topical bacterial vaginosis treatment in Australia. The product also recently launched in New Zealand but marketing activities have hit some roadblocks as strict pandemic measures limit the capacity for promotional activities.

VivaGel is also commencing its rollout across Asia, pending regulatory approvals from a number of countries. The product will be rolled out under the BETADINE BV imprint via Mundipharma’s distribution network.

Japanese condom manufacturer Okamoto has also expanded its licensed territory, giving its VivaGel condom reach into another 11 Asian markets including China, Indonesia and Thailand.

Starpharma is also pursuing regulatory approval for VivaGel in the U.S., and has made further progress towards the formal review process. There have been indications though of a time lag at the FDA due to pandemic pressures.

COVID-19

Starpharma says its operations have been only minimally impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The company has initiated protocols to ensure the safety of its staff and trial patients, and will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds worldwide.

So far there have been no tangible disruptions to any supply chain or distribution partners, and R&D is continuing, albeit with stringent safety protocols in place.

Starpharma CEO Dr Jackie Fairley says the company is operating from a position of strength

“Whilst COVID-19 is impacting companies around the world, Starpharma is in a very favourable position with $36.1 million in cash and is currently fully operational with laboratory and in-house manufacturing facilities unaffected,” she said.

“Starpharma is well-positioned with programs continuing to operate across each portfolio, including commercial partnering activities,” she added.

Despite all the good news, Starpharma is down 2.8 per cent to 87.5 cents a share at Tuesday’s market close.

SPL by the numbers
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