VivaGel® is being developed to provide symptomatic relief, and to prevent recurrence of, bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is caused by an imbalance of the normal vaginal bacterial microflora, with healthy bacteria (e.g. Lactobacillus species) being depleted and harmful bacteria (e.g. Gardnerella vaginalis) overly abundant.
VivaGel® formulated as a mucoadhesive gel and delivered vaginally has been shown to have efficacy for treatment of BV in a Phase 2 clinical study and was shown to achieve statistically significant cure of the signs and symptoms of BV at the end of treatment in two Phase 3 studies. VivaGel® has been shown to reduce risk of recurrence of BV, and phase 3 clinical studies are ongoing to confirm the effectiveness of the product in preventing recurrence of BV.
The global market for topical BV treatments alone is estimated at approximately US$350M. Starpharma’s modelling suggests the addressable global market for prevention of recurrence of BV is potentially in excess of $1 billion.
Throughout the world, BV is the most common vaginal infection. For example in the US, an estimated 21 million women aged 14-49 years (approximately 29%) are infected with BV. BV leads to symptoms including abnormal vaginal discharge and odour that are unpleasant and disrupt and interfere with a woman’s relationships and general quality of life. BV has also been linked to serious public health consequences including acquisition and transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Studies indicate that more than 30% of HIV infections in women could be prevented if BV was successfully treated.
It is commonly recognised that the existing therapeutic options for BV are inadequate because of low cure rates, high rates of recurrence, potentially severe systemic adverse effects and, for some products, incompatibility with alcohol consumption or condoms. Existing antibiotic approaches are not considered suitable for long-term maintenance therapy. In contrast, VivaGel® is well tolerated, is not absorbed (and so is free from systemic effects), can be used with condoms, and is therefore an ideal maintenance therapy to prevent recurrence of BV.