More than 170 million women around the world use contraceptives developed by the Center for Biomedical Research (CBR) or based on our technologies. Still, 200 million women worldwide have an unmet need for a modern method of contraception; 1.5 million people are newly infected with HIV every year; and more than 1 million people acquire a sexually transmitted infection every day.
A range of product options is essential to tackle the ongoing burdens of unintended pregnancy, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections. CBR’s innovations offer individuals with options that meet their needs and protect sexual and reproductive health at various points in their lives.
CBR researchers develop the next generation of safe, effective contraception and HIV and STI prevention options. Products in development include:
Next-generation female contraceptive products
New contraceptive methods can help millions of women with an unmet need for contraception and millions more who may be dissatisfied with current methods.
- A 3-month Nestorone®/estradiol intravaginal ring to prevent unintended pregnancy is in clinical development. This ring is designed to have fewer side effects compared to ethinyl estradiol products currently on the market.
- A Nestorone®-only vaginal ring for contraception in breastfeeding women. Postpartum women have fewer options for contraception, thus having a method with Nestorone, a progestin which has no gastrointestinal absorption, is anticipated to be exceptionally safe for the breastfed infant.
- A microneedle patch for discreet, on-demand contraception when used prior to sex. When a woman manually presses the patch on the skin, the microneedles will painlessly penetrate the skin and rapidly dissolve to create a depot for drug release, acting to prevent ovulation.
- A sub-cutaneous injectable Nestorone® formulation, which will provide up to one year of contraception with one injection. The current injectable contraceptive requires four injections. By extending the window of protection to one year, the Nestorone® formulation reduces the number of clinic visits, making it more convenient and accessible. The injection could be administered by a mid-level practitioner.
- A second-generation, one-year contraceptive vaginal system that will deliver Nestorone® and ethinyl estradiol based on the release specifications of Annovera® and developed with a streamlined manufacturing process.
New approach to male contraception
CBR addresses the lack of reversible contraceptive options for men.
- A transdermal Nestorone®/Testosterone gel applied daily to the shoulders is currently in clinical trial. The gel would be a novel, easy-to-use, reversible contraceptive method and would be the first-of-its-kind contraceptive option for men.
Multi-purpose prevention technologies
CBR researchers lead the development of a new generation of multi-purpose prevention technologies (MPTs) that protect against HIV, other STIs, and/or unintended pregnancy.
- A dual-prevention pill for the prevention of pregnancy and HIV created by co-formulating pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV with levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol for contraception.
- A vaginal ring for the prevention of pregnancy and HIV containing Etonogestrel, ethinyl estradiol, and QGriffithsin (EEQ IVR). QGriffithsin is a naturally occurring algae-derived protein that inhibits HIV and other pathogens, including herpes simplex virus. QGriffithsin could eliminate the risk of HIV drug cross-resistance.
- A non-hormonal intravaginal ring—incorporating three inexpensive active pharmaceutical ingredients that operate in combination—with the potential to offer contraceptive activity and broad anti-microbial activity against chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes-simplex virus-2, HIV, and bacterial vaginosis.
- A Griffithsin fast-dissolving insert as a novel pre-coital, on-demand MPT to provide protection against HIV, herpes simplex virus, and human papillomavirus virus.
Council researchers have decades of experience working with active pharmaceutical ingredients for contraception and HIV and STI prevention. Through this work, our researchers explore other health uses for these active pharmaceutical ingredients.
- A Nestorone® formulation to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), reduce symptoms, and delay disease progression. It would be an adjuvant therapy in addition to existing MS disease-modifying agents (all of which address immune function) that patients currently receive. Experimental animal models confirm that Nestorone® triggers myelin regeneration which could, if successful in humans, further reduce episodes of relapse and prevent permanent disability.
- A self-administered, topically active intranasal product containing QGriffithsin and carrageenan that would be used to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 and potentially other emerging coronaviruses.