Innovation is noticeably on Australia’s political and industrial agenda; it has become a buzzword synonymous with the present day. However, innovation has long been a trait of Australia’s healthcare sector, with IVF, cochlear ear implants, organ transplantation, vaccines, and antivenoms being just a few medical marvels to come out of the land down under.

Starpharma is a Melbourne-based, globally-focused business that has its roots entrenched in the rich soils of Australian innovation.

With its novel technology, born out of the CSIRO, Starpharma has the potential to have large social and health impacts that traverse Australian borders.

The company has developed a number of valuable commercial products based on its proprietary polymer technology. These include Dual Protect™, the world’s first antiviral condom, marketed by Ansell; VivaGel® BV for bacterial vaginosis; and DEP® docetaxel, an improved version of the leading cancer drug Taxotere. Starpharma has also signed numerous commercial deals for its technology with leading companies including AstraZeneca, Okamoto, Ansell, Aspen, and Adama.

The CEO Magazine spoke with Dr Jackie Fairley, the CEO of Starpharma.

The CEO Magazine: What is Starpharma’s current focus?

Jackie: We have a unique nanotechnology polymer platform called a dendrimer. Its original focus was in the antiviral field and the prevention of HIV, but Starpharma has identified significant versatility of this technology, which has allowed us to develop a deep portfolio of commercially attractive products.

There are three different parts to Starpharma’s business: the VivaGel® portfolio; the DEP® drug delivery platform, and the application of our technology in agriculture. All of these three areas use dendrimers in slightly different ways.