MedinCell awarded $3.5M grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Press Release
Press Release December 7
MedinCell receives grant to develop long-acting injectable contraceptive
French company MedinCell has been awarded $3.5M grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance development of 6-month acting injectable contraceptive candidate with the company’s BEPO® technology. In the long-term, this program could facilitate access to contraception for millions of women in developing countries.
“By developing innovative and affordable contraceptives with the support of the Gates Foundation, we share the ambition to give every woman the chance to determine her own future,” says the company before adding “Coupling progestin molecules with our BEPO® technology enables us to design contraceptive products that meet users’ needs and address significant challenges such as low affordability, weak distribution systems or cultural barriers that exist in developing countries.”
An estimated 80 million women in developing countries have an unintended pregnancy each year. Among these women, one in four resorts to an unsafe abortion. Increasing access to efficient contraceptives – with relevant family planning information and services – aims to reduce unintended pregnancies, deaths from pregnancy and childbirth, abortion rates and lead to fewer infant deaths. It also aims to improve educational and economic opportunities for women, and lead to healthier families and communities.
The program aims to design a 6-month active contraceptive with a single injection. It would be the first long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) that combines four essential features: progestin molecule, subcutaneous injection, fully bioresorbable depot and affordability.
Studies have shown the superior effectiveness of LARC methods compared to other types of birth control. The risk of contraceptive failure for women using oral contraceptive pills or other methods is 17 to 20 times higher than the risk for those using LARCs. Lack of patient adherence to contraceptive treatments is the main explanation.
Unlike others LARCs, such as contraceptive implants, no surgical intervention will be necessary with the BEPO® contraceptive. After a simple subcutaneous injection of the BEPO® contraceptive, a depot is formed that acts as a virtual-pump until it disappears completely. Due to BEPO’s high stability and low development and production costs, the contraceptive should be suitable for non-profit programs and be accessible to women in both developing and developed countries in accordance with MedinCell commitment to Global Health.
Medincell will now begin formulating the new BEPO® contraceptive and expects to have candidate products ready for next development stages (pre-clinical then clinical trials) within approximately two years.