Starpharma secures funding to develop COVID-19 nasal spray

Starpharma secures funding to develop COVID-19 nasal spray

Shares in Starpharma (ASX: SPL) are on the rise after the pharmaceutical company announced it has received $1 million in funding to develop its COVID-19 nasal spray.

The company was selected by the Australian Government's Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) as a recipient of the funding to expedite the development and commercialisation of its novel SPL7013 nasal spray.

The listed pharmaceutical company was selected as one of five recipients of MRFF funding for its project the Fund determined was "capable of achieving substantial and rapid impact in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic within 12 months".

The spray has demonstrated potential to prevent both acquisition and transmission of COVID-19 due to its broad-spectrum antiviral properties.

While its efficacy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was at the forefront of the company's mind during development, Starpharma says the spray could also play a role for other respiratory viruses.

Additionally, Starpharma says while its initial focus is on a nasal spray as the most rapid path to market, SPL7013 could also be administered via eye drops, inhalers, or injections.

"Feedback from clinicians and healthcare providers indicates a strong interest in a preventative product for COVID-19 as an additional line of defence, in addition to conventional PPE and vaccines," says Starpharma.

"The product would have application for the general population, including those in the frontline of this crisis, such as doctors, nurses and those exposed to crowded and high-risk environments, such as public transport, airlines and aged care."

The expedited development and commercialisation process to get SPL7013 onto shelves has been ongoing since April.

To date, the company has already identified a manufacturer for the spray with pilot manufacturing already underway.

Further, work has commenced on compiling regulatory documentation in preparation for submission.

"We are very pleased that the SPL7013 COVID-19 nasal spray has been selected for this grant, especially from such a large and competitive field of applicants," says Starpharma CEO Dr Jackie Fairley.

"This is an important initiative aimed at accelerating Australian innovations to address the global COVID-19 pandemic and we thank the Government for continuing to fund programs like these that drive the local development of novel, innovative therapies for patients globally.

"We are proud of our contribution to the Australian biomedical industry response to combat COVID-19."

Receipt of the funding comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Starphrama has created a slow release, water soluble version of COVID-19 treatment remdesivir.

That announcement saw the company's shares hit a record high of $1.90 per share on 1 September.

Today, the company's shares are up 4.91 per cent to $1.71 per share at 2.40pm AEST.


Photo: The concept of the treatment of the common cold at home. Male nose and nasal spray close up by Marco Verch under Creative Commons 2.0


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