Sep 01, 2020

SPL creates slow release soluble DEP® remdesivir nanoparticle

SPL creates slow release soluble DEP® remdesivir nanoparticle


  • DEP® remdesivir has been created to expand the potential application of remdesivir, by creating a long-acting version which could be administered subcutaneously rather than by intravenous infusion in hospital
  • DEP® remdesivir is a highly water-soluble nanoparticle formulation of the antiviral drug remdesivir (Veklury, Gilead) with improved pharmacokinetics
  • Gilead’s antiviral drug, remdesivir, is being utilised for the treatment of COVID-19

Melbourne, Australia; 1 September 2020: Starpharma (ASX: SPL, OTCQX: SPHRY) today announced it has applied its novel DEP® drug delivery technology to create a long‑acting, water soluble version of remdesivir. Remdesivir is an antiviral drug, currently being developed by Gilead to treat COVID-19 and has emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalised with severe disease.

Remdesivir has broad-spectrum antiviral activity. Current formulations of remdesivir are required to be administered intravenously due to the drug’s low solubility, with each infusion taking up to two hours and requiring daily administration for either 5 or 10 days.

In contrast, Starpharma’s DEP® remdesivir is a highly water-soluble nanoparticle formulation of remdesivir with controlled release properties, which would potentially allow for less frequent dosing and use in a non-hospital setting, such as aged-care. The solubility of DEP® remdesivir is 100‑fold higher than standard remdesivir. The benefit of DEP® remdesivir’s enhanced aqueous solubility is that it would enable subcutaneous injection rather than intravenous infusion, allowing for outpatient treatment and reducing the burden on hospitals.

Dr Jackie Fairley, Starpharma CEO, commented: “Given the limited treatment options available for COVID-19 patients, Starpharma has been actively reviewing development programs globally, and evaluating where Starpharma’s proprietary DEP® technology has potential to improve delivery, expand use or reduce frequency of dosing”.

“The ability to deliver remdesivir via a long-acting, subcutaneous injection has the potential to expand its application outside hospitals, into settings like aged care, and also facilitate its use in countries with less developed healthcare systems. It would also improve patient convenience and reduce the burden on the healthcare system. We’re pleased to be able to utilise the DEP® platform to improve the delivery of this important antiviral medicine”.

“The development of DEP® remdesivir is Starpharma’s 2nd program addressing COVID-19, and potentially future pandemics. This is separate to the development of its SPL7013 antiviral nasal spray for COVID-19, which was detailed in a market update last week”, added Dr Fairley.

Download full announcement: SPL creates slow release soluble DEP® remdesivir nanoparticle (PDF 90kb)

About DEP® 

Starpharma’s novel dendrimer-based DEP® platform has broad commercial applicability in drug delivery by enhancing the therapeutic utility of drugs through improved solubility, efficacy and pharmacokinetics, reductions in certain toxicities (e.g. bone marrow toxicity) and creating a unique intellectual property position. The novel DEP® platform has shown reproducible advantages across a wide range of drug classes and can be utilised with both small molecule drugs, peptides and proteins. The DEP® technology provides the opportunity to create new intellectual property when used in conjunction with an existing drug.

For more information on Starpharma’s proprietary DEP® drug delivery technology visit

Starpharma has a range of clinical-stage and preclinical stage DEP® products being developed internally and also with partners. Starpharma has three DEP® products, DEP® docetaxel, DEP® cabazitaxel and DEP® irinotecan, which are in phase 2 trials, and further DEP® assets are progressing through the preclinical development pipeline. Starpharma’s partnered DEP® programs include a multiproduct DEP® licence with AstraZeneca, which includes the development of AZD0466, a Bcl2/xL inhibitor that is currently in a phase 1 trial in the US. Starpharma also has a research partnership with leading Chinese Pharmaceutical company, Chase Sun, and other undisclosed partnerships, including Targeted DEP® partnerships with world leading ADC companies.

 This contains certain forward-looking statements.