Godalming, UK-based Sinclair Pharma has announced the European registration of its novel head lice candidate, SPHR980, bringing it closer to launch in a potentially lucrative market.

According to the company, SPHR980 has been designed to “fulfil a market need for a novel, safe and effective treatment for head lice”, and the group will be hoping that it swallows a hefty chunk of an over-the-counter market estimated to be worth £120 million in the EU’s five main territories (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK) and the USA.

SPHR980 kills head lice by using barrier technology to coat and therefore suffocate them and their eggs, thereby interrupting the life cycle of the parasite, the firm explained. It offers a benefit over current insecticide-based treatments, which can lead to side effects such as scalp irritation, have a very strong smell, and to which resistance is steadily growing.

“Increasing resistance patterns to existing chemical treatments have generated a need for a treatment that is pesticide-free, avoiding the risk of side effects and resistance,” explained Dr Michael Flynn, Sinclair’s chief executive. “Sinclair has again used its expertise in surface acting technologies to develop a novel, clinically proven product that meets a clear market need,” he added.