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MedinCell receives $19 million grant for its mdc-WWM program

November 28, 2019

The agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides that MedinCell owns the marketing rights of the product worldwide, particularly in the United States.

French company MedinCell and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have signed an agreement for up to an additional $19 million to be granted over four years. It aims to fund preclinical activities and a phase 1 clinical trial for the injectable six-month bioresorbable contraceptive (mdc-WWM). The grant is structured in advanced installments to cover the costs that will be incurred by the project. Depending on the options chosen and on the advancement of the program, up to $11.75 million could be raised over the next 12 months including a first tranche of $4.75 million to be paid immediately. The additional $7.25 million may be collected later.

As a reminder, a previous grant of $3.5 million was awarded in November 2017 by the Gates Foundation to fund the formulation research phase. Full results should make it possible to select the candidate formulation. MedinCell owns all marketing rights of the product worldwide, including the United States where the contraceptive market totaled more than $5 billion in 2018. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) alone (primarily solid implants and intrauterine devices) represented 28% of this market – more than $1.4 billion – with a 5-year CAGR at 7.8%. The mdc-WWM product could capture a significant share of this LARC market and even expand it easing
the adoption of this type of contraception1.

In accordance with the Global Access strategy of both partners and to ensure a significant impact on women’s lives, the objective is to make the product widely available. Affordable pricing in emerging economies will help eliminate cost as a barrier to increased availability and voluntary access to the product. High demand among women and girls for long-acting contraceptive options illustrate the potential for market growth and measurably improving maternal, newborn and child health. The Gates Foundation also has a non-exclusive license for non-commercial market in low- and middle-income countries.


mdc-WWM could be the first contraceptive to combine the following essential features to make it a best-in-class product worldwide: progestin molecule (non-MPA), 6-month duration, subcutaneous injection, full bioresorption, affordability.

The Gates Foundation supports the development of products to enhance health outcomes of the world’s most vulnerable populations. An estimated 74 million women fall pregnant unintentionally every year leading to 25 million unsafe abortions and 47,000 maternal deaths2. Increasing access to efficient contraceptive solutions, coupled with 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 foster healthier families and communities.

mdc-WWM could indeed address major challenges such as low affordability, weak distribution systems or cultural barriers. Unlike most LARCs such as contraceptive implants, no surgical or specialist intervention will be necessary with MedinCell’s product. After a simple subcutaneous injection a deposit is formed, acting as a virtual-pump for up to 6 months, which then disappears completely. Studies have shown that the risk of contraceptive failure in women receiving oral contraceptive or other methods is 17 to 20 times higher than using a long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), mainly because of the lack of compliance3.

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