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Why the Starpharma (ASX:SPL) share price is up 27% in 2021

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While the Starpharma Holdings Limited (ASX: SPL) share price is having a reasonable day today – up 0.77%, it’s done very well so far in 2021.

At the time of writing, shares in the pharmaceutical company are trading for $1.96 cents each. While that’s only slightly up on yesterday’s close, it’s up 26.95% since the beginning of the year and almost 120% over the last 12 months. In fact, in February, the Starpharma share price hit an all-time record of $2.52. For comparison, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has increased 4.36% year to date.

Let’s take a closer look at developments that have impacted the Starpharma share price in 2021.

What’s affected the Starpharma share price in 2021?

The biggest factor impacting the Starpharma share price in 2021 has been its Viraleze COVID-19 nasal spray. The product, which was launched in January, has been clinically shown to kill 99.99% of COVID-19 virus loads in a person.

After launching in January, the European Union approved the product for use in its jurisdiction in February. When the company announced the news, CEO Dr Jackie Fairley said at the time:

We know from consumer research conducted with the Boston Consulting Group, that VIRALEZE has strong appeal for European consumers across all age groups. The spray is easy to use and convenient – and works rapidly, without being absorbed into the bloodstream. If you are about to walk into the supermarket, you would use it. The same is true for public transport, elevators, planes, bars and restaurants.

Obtaining the CE Mark for the spray led to the Starpharma share price hitting its record high.

One month later, the company told shareholders it would distribute the spray in the UK through LloydsPharamcy. Despite what was seemingly positive news, the share price fell that day. One explanation as to why is that investors had already factored in widespread distribution of the product after EU approval, including in the UK.

Non-COVID announcements

While the Viraleze spray was the most attention-grabbing product launch announced in 2021 by Starpharma, it was not the only one.

In February, the company announced it was expanding clinical trials on an anti-cancer treatment developed with AstraZeneca PLC (LSE: AZN). In March, Starpharma declared to the market its breast cancer treatment, DEP HER2-lutetium, had achieved “positive” results.

As well, the company posted its half-year results for FY21 in February. Starpharma lost $10.4 million for the 6 months ending 31 December. The loss was 78% greater than the prior corresponding period (pcp). The pharmaceutical company attributed the large decline to an even steeper fall in revenue. For the period, operating income was only $638,000, which was down 89% on the pcp. The Starpharma share price edged slightly lower following the update.

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Marc Sidarous has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Starpharma Holdings Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Starpharma Holdings Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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