Starpharma Holdings Limited (ASX: SPL) announced that the company has received the Research & Development Tax Incentive refund of $4.0 million from the Australian Government. The refund relates to the costs of Research and Development activities carried out by the company during the Financial Year 2018, including the developments undertaken in VivaGel® and DEP® programs.
CEO Dr Jackie Fairley stated that “The R&D tax incentive plays a pivotal role in supporting innovation in the Australian biotech and pharmaceutical industry, particularly for companies like Starpharma that are engaged in clinical and late-stage product development.”
Starpharma, a leading developer of dendrimer products for pharmaceuticals, life sciences and other application, told that the amount of this refund was not included in its cash balance reported in the company’s Interim Report for the half-year ended 31 December 2018. Its cash position at 31 December 2018 was $44.4 million, excluding $4.0 million refund amount.
With this significant amount of R&D tax incentive refund, Starpharma would be able to accelerate its expansion and advancement programs across high-value DEP® portfolio including new preclinical programs and various clinical stage products.
The recent progress across the Starpharma’s portfolio outlines the VivaGel® BV obtaining license for its launch, the receipt of final regulatory approval for VivaGel® condom in Japan, the completion of Final preclinical work for the DEP® irinotecan phase 1 / 2 trial as well as the publishing of AstraZeneca’s first patent application on DEP® Bcl2/xL inhibitor conjugates.
During the half year ended 31 December 2018, Starpharma conducted the positive independent market research in the United States for SPL7013 ophthalmic drops and also secured a patent for the product aimed at viral conjunctivitis.
Starpharma and its partners, Mundipharma and Aspen, are currently working towards the launch of VivaGel® BV in multiple regions including Australia and Europe, scheduled to take place in the first half of 2019. As per the company’s information, the product has already been delivered to Aspen and manufacturing of product for Europe is under progress.
On the financial front, Starpharma reported a loss of $7.3 million for six months ended 31 December 2018, up from $6.2 million loss reported in the previous corresponding period. It reportedly reflects the company’s investment across the VivaGel® and DEP® portfolio, including DEP® docetaxel, DEP® cabazitaxel, and DEP® irinotecan.
The company stated that it is highly supportive of the Australian Government’s R&D tax incentive which encourages companies to engage in R&D programs that have the potential to improve global health outcomes while generating economic benefits locally.
As part of its expansion plan, Starpharma intends to commence a phase 1 / 2 clinical trial for DEP® irinotecan in Fiscal 2019 which will be Starpharma’s third DEP® product to progress into the clinic.
In today’s trading session, Starpharma’s stock dipped in early trading hours but is currently trading flat at a price of $1.020 on 12 March 2019 (1:24 PM AEST). Over the past 12 months, the stock has fallen by 24.72% including the negative price change of 28.67% in the past three months.
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