Shares in Starpharma (ASX: SPL) couldn't get up by market close today despite a landmark approval for the biotech's VivaGel condoms to be marketed in Europe.
The Melbourne-based company describes the condom as a world-first product and the only condom of its kind incorporating the proprietary compound SPL7013 (VivaGel) in its lubricant.
Lab tests have also shown VivaGel inactivates up to 99.9 per cent of HIV, herpes simplex virus (HSV) and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Already approved for sale in Japan, Canada and Australia, VivaGel condoms will now be allowed for sale in all 28 EU member states as well as the four member states of the European Free Trade Association.
"It's great to have another important market approved for the VivaGel condom and to achieve a further commercial milestone for our VivaGel portfolio," says Starpharma CEO Jackie Fairley.
"The global condom market was valued at US$7.9 billion in 2018 and projected to grow by 8.5 per year."
Starpharma's marketing partner in Europe is Lifestyles, which used to be owned by Australian company Ansell (ASX: ANN).
"Europe is a major region and our partner LifeStyles is a significant player in that market," says Fairley.
"LifeStyles is a global leader in sexual wellness. We are committed to making safe sex fun by offering new and unique products, and we're delighted to add the highly innovative VivaGel condom to the range we offer in Europe," adds LifeStyles CEO Jeyan Heper.
LifeStyles is undertaking marketing preparations ahead of the VivaGel condom's launch under the brand name 'AbsoluteTM DUAL PROTECTION'.
"The AbsoluteTM DUAL PROTECTION condom is a great example of a new and ground-breaking sexual-health product," says Heper.
LifeStyles is also Starpharma's chosen marketing partner in Australia and Canada, while in Japan the condom was launched under Okamoto's 003 brand.
Starpharma has licence agreements with several condom manufacturers including a consortium of China's Humanwell-Citic and Shenyang Sky and Land Latex, Japan's Okamoto Industries and Iran's Koushan Pharmed.
Sky & Land is a major supplier to the Chinese government, which provides around three billion condoms per annum to the public through various initiatives. Meanwhile, Okamoto is the market leader for condoms sold in Japan, which Starpharma highlights is the world's second largest condom market.
Koushan Pharmed is one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in Iran.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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