The Starpharma Holdings Limited (ASX: SPL) share price is racing ahead this morning after confirming its antiviral nasal spray will be launched in Vietnam this week.
The biotech registered its VIRALEZE spray for sale in the Asian country. It recently signed initial distribution agreements to supply 100,000 units and said it is finalising a contract for ongoing supply of the product.
The Starpharma share price jumped 6.5% to $1.16 at the time of writing when the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index:^AXJO) dipped 0.3%.
Vietnam boost for the Starpharma share price
The spray is a broad-spectrum antiviral nasal spray that contains Starpharma's SPL7013 innovation. Tests have shown that SPL7013 caused the inactivation of more than 99.9% of the Delta COVID-19 mutation.
The initial distribution agreements were signed with Healthco Australia Pty Ltd and Vietnam-based Truong Bao Land International Investment Company Limited (TBL). TBL will also distribute VIRALEZE via its local medical distribution networks.
Starpharma share price breathing easier
This development couldn't have come at a better time for embattled shareholders. The Starpharma share price has slumped by more than 20% this calendar year. Even with today's rally, it is still trading close to an 18-month low.
However, the emergence of the Omicron mutation could put COVID-linked ASX shares back into investors' good books.
From Delta to Omicron
Starpharma trying to capitalise on this by hinting that VIRALEZE could lower the risk of mutations too.
It noted that the mechanism of action meant that mutations of the spike protein that make SARS-CoV-2 more infectious appear to make the virus more susceptible to trapping and blocking by SPL7013.
"We are excited to see the product launched in Vietnam this week," said Jackie Fairley, Starpharma's chief executive.
"This registration, the first in South East Asia, builds upon existing submissions as well as registrations already achieved in Europe, India and New Zealand, and we are expediting further regulatory submissions in multiple regions and countries."
Other ASX shares of note
The Starpharma share price isn't the only one in the sector that is making gains. The IDT Australia Limited (ASX: IDT) share price gained 0.8% to 61.5 cents and the CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price added 0.9% to $309.53.
IDT is the first in Australia to develop a manufacturing capability for mRNA vaccines.
The IDT share price jumped by nearly three-fold in 2021 while the CSL share price gained a little over 8%.