The Starpharma Holdings Limited (ASX: SPL) share price is pushing higher on Tuesday morning.
At the time of writing, the dendrimer products developer’s shares are up over 2% to $1.84.
This latest gain means the Starpharma share price is now up almost 20% year to date.
Why is the Starpharma share price pushing higher?
Investors have been bidding the Starpharma share price higher on Tuesday following the release of a positive announcement relating to SPL7013. This is the active ingredient in its Viraleze antiviral nasal spray.
According to the release, new data confirms that SPL7013 has potent antiviral activity against the UK COVID-19 variant in laboratory studies, achieving more than 98% reduction in infectious virus in antiviral assays.
The release explains that the antiviral testing of SPL7013 was conducted in the laboratory of virologist Professor Philippe Gallay at The Scripps Research Institute in the United States. Previous studies at the same laboratory have demonstrated the same level of antiviral activity of SPL7013 against the US strain of COVID-19.
Management notes that this indicates that there is no loss of potency for SPL7013 against the UK variant compared with earlier strains of the virus. This is thought to be due to its mechanism of action, which is not reliant on specific binding sites within the spike protein.
The active in Viraleze acts by blocking the interaction between the SARS-CoV-2 viral spikes and the human cells the virus is seeking to infect. It feels the lack of reliance on specific binding sites within the spike protein could represent a key advantage for the breadth of activity of SPL7013 against multiple variants
Overall, it feels the broad-spectrum antiviral activity of Viraleze is a compelling feature for the product to be used alongside other prevention strategies and complementary to vaccines. This is particularly the case as health authorities respond to the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus variants.
Starpharma’s CEO, Dr Jackie Fairley, commented: “Given the constantly evolving public health challenges presented by SARS-CoV-2 variants, we are delighted to see that Viraleze retains potent activity against the important UK variant. SPL7013 has consistently shown high levels of antiviral activity, not only against multiple COVID-19 variants, but also against a broad spectrum of other respiratory viruses, including influenza, making Viraleze an ideal product to use alongside vaccines and other measures.”
Starpharma is pursuing avenues to provide rapid access to Viraleze in a number of countries where outbreaks have occurred. It is also exploring expedited registration where applicable and progressing other regulatory activities for a number of markets, including Australia.