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· Starpharma's Priostar® dendrimer found to improve the effectiveness of agrochemicals including glyphosate, the most commonly used herbicide globally
· Starpharma's internal development program is focused on the improvement of several existing agrochemicals
· New patent filing to extend coverage to 2029
Starpharma Holdings Limited (ASX:SPL, OTCQX:SPHRY) today announced encouraging results from studies applying its Priostar® dendrimer technology to the improvement of globally significant agrochemicals.
Starpharma's studies have demonstrated a number of improvements in these preliminary studies including the ability to increase the effectiveness of agrochemicals such as glyphosate, the most commonly used herbicide globally (also known by the trade name Roundup®) with annual sales in excess of US$5bn.
In the past year Starpharma's internal agrochemical program has explored a number of key off-patent agrochemical agents in combination with the company's proprietary dendrimer technology. In addition to glyphosate, these include the major insecticide imidacloprid (annual sales of US$1bn) and the herbicide trifluralin (annual sales of US$300m)1..
"We are very pleased to report the company's progress in the agrochemical program. The selection of commercially-significant lead candidates by Starpharma gives us a clear focus for future work." said Starpharma CEO Dr Jackie Fairley.
Based on initial studies, Starpharma's Priostar® dendrimers are well placed to capture several opportunities in the US$40bn global agrochemical sector as the market continues to seek new technologies to improve efficiency and enhance performance.
Key results arising from the studies found that Starpharma's Priostar® dendrimers offered benefits including:
· solubility enhancement for more concentrated formulations;
· improved herbicidal activity as measured by brownout; and
· modification of soil penetration properties.
As illustrated below, the addition of Starpharma's patented dendrimers to the glyphosate solution showed an increase in the brownout, or rate of vegetation dying off. This suggests that the dendrimer was significantly increasing the activity of the glyphosate.
Fertilisers and agrochemicals - and their application - represent a significant cost for farmers. More effective chemical formulations could reduce the expense of a crop treatment cycle and the need for reapplication, potentially improving the environmental profile of such products.
These trends are reflected in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's report "World agriculture: towards 2030/2050" which determined that much of future food production growth will come from higher productivity. The report also identifies the promise of biotechnology as a means of achieving this goal.
"Starpharma's internal agrochemicals program focuses on reformulating known generic agents with its proprietary dendrimers to improve their performance. This offers the potential for reduced frequency and amount of application, with the potential to reduce the chemicals' environmental impact." Dr Fairley concluded.
Key patents have already been allowed or granted by the US and other patent offices for broad protection of Priostar® dendrimer technology, relevant to both agrochemical and industrial applications. Additionally Starpharma has filed for protection for specific agrochemical applications, which if granted would provide patent coverage to 2029.
Starpharma's agrochemicals program has been assisted by funding under the Victorian Government's STIUP program announced in March 2011. Starpharma also has partnered programs with a growing number of leading agrochemical companies.
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