InnoCore Pharmaceuticals, a Dutch pharmaceutical drug delivery and development company located at the Healthy Ageing Campus, announced that it received support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for an ambitious project aimed at the development of a unique long acting self-administrable contraceptive. The contraceptive will be specifically designed to meet the needs of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women. The project brings together expertise of partners from academia (Cardiff University, Edinburgh University), industry (InnoCore Pharmaceuticals, Maddison Product Design, Isca Healthcare, REMEDI), NGOs (Population Council, PATH), partnerships (Hub Cymru Africa), charitable bodies (Knowledge For Change, Life for African Mothers) and NHS Trusts. The research consortium, led by Cardiff University’s Professor James Birchall, aims to use novel microneedle technology to create an effective, single administration, pain-free and discreet method of delivering contraception for a period of 6 months.
According the World Health Organization, ‘214 million women of reproductive age in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern contraceptive method’. Better access to contraceptives and voluntary family planning would result in fewer unintended pregnancies, fewer women and girls dying during pregnancy and childbirth, and fewer infant deaths.
Currently, two of the most popular non-permanent methods of contraception in low and middle-income countries are injections – which are effective for three months – and implants, which last for three years. Both of these methods are invasive, and in the case of the implant, require a skilled professional to insert and remove the implant. These issues can contribute to women not accessing contraception.
The grant will allow the consortium to conduct pre-clinical work to assess the technical feasibility, usability and acceptability of the self-administrable contraceptive microneedle patch for use in developing countries. Utilizing its biodegradable polymer platforms, InnoCore Pharmaceuticals will develop microneedles exhibiting the required mechanical strength for effective and painless puncturing of the skin followed by tightly controlled contraception delivery for up to six months. ‘We are very excited to contribute to the development of innovative and affordable contraceptives for women in developing countries by partnering with this great research consortium, supported by the Gates Foundation’ says the company. If successful, the program will lead to an affordable long-acting contraceptive that combines easy and painless self-administration with full bioresorption thereby avoiding the need for removal surgery.
Source and image: www.innocorepharma.com