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US Patent Grant Extends VivaGel Coverage to 2024

Published on September 22, 2009 at 12:10 AM

Starpharma Holdings Limited (ASX:SPL, OTCQX:SPHRY) today announced that it has received notification of the grant in the US of a key patent specifically relating to the use of SPL7013 to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The granting of this patent means that any product presentation of SPL7013 (the active ingredient in VivaGel® ) is now protected in the US for an additional five years until 2024, with a possible further 12 month extension to 2025. Given the importance of genital herpes and other STIs in the US, this market is clearly a major commercial opportunity for VivaGel® products.

This composition of matter patent is the third patent for VivaGel® to be granted in the US, and adds to the already extensive patent coverage for the product in 26 countries covering all major markets.

VivaGel® is being developed as a condom coating in collaboration with SSL International plc (LSE:SSL), the world’s leading condom company. SSL markets the global brand Durex®, and holds approximately 40% of the global branded condom market. Following a deal announced in 2008, SSL has exclusive marketing rights for the VivaGel® coated condom.

Starpharma is also developing VivaGel® as a vaginal microbicide to prevent the transmission of STIs, including HIV and genital herpes.

Starpharma Holdings Limited (ASX:SPL, OTCQX:SPHRY) is a world leader in the development of dendrimer nanotechnology for pharmaceutical, life-science and other applications. SPL has two operating companies, Starpharma Pty Ltd in Melbourne, Australia and DNT, Inc in the USA. Products based on SPL’s dendrimer technology are already on the market in the form of diagnostic elements and laboratory reagents through licence arrangements with partners including Siemens and Merck KgA.

The Company’s lead pharmaceutical development product is VivaGel® (SPL7013 Gel), a vaginal microbicide designed to prevent the transmission of STIs, including HIV and genital herpes. In September 2008 Starpharma signed a full licence agreement with SSL International plc (LSE:SSL) to develop a VivaGel® coated condom. SSL manufactures and sells Durex® condoms, the market-leading condom brand worldwide. Starpharma's receipts under the agreement are estimated to exceed A$100m comprising royalties on SSL sales, further milestone payments, and development support.

In the wider pharmaceutical field Starpharma has specific programs in the areas of Drug Delivery and Drug Optimisation technologies (using dendrimers to control where and when drugs go when introduced to the body) and Targeted Diagnostics (using dendrimers as a scaffold to which both location-signalling and targeting groups are added to allow location of specific cell type, such as cancer cells). More broadly the company is exploring dendrimer opportunities in materials science applications including water remediation.

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