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 year1.
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
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.2
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
1. Gilda Sedgh,Susheela Singh, Rubina Hussain, “Intended and Unintended Pregnancies Worldwide in 2012 and Recent Trends” (2014)
2. Winner, B; Peipert, JF; Zhao, Q; Buckel, C; Madden, T; Allsworth, JE; Secura, GM. (2012), “Effectiveness of Long-Acting Reversible
Contraception”, New England Journal of Medicine, 366 (21): 1998–2007, doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1110855, PMID 22621627