Ed Gillis is the CEO of Revolution Contraceptives. The company is currently working on Vasalgel, a device being developed as a long-acting, non-hormonal contraceptive intended to be reversible. He is an entrepreneur and senior level executive with proven success in early and mid-stage fundraising, OUS clinical trials, research and development and clinical manufacturing of products in early stage companies.
What is your connection to contraception?I am CEO for Revolution Contraceptives, LLC. We are developing Vasalgel which is intended to be a safe, reliable, and more reversible form of male contraception and an alternative to vasectomy.
How has the sector changed from the time you began working in it to date?I have been at Revolution for just over two years so the field has not changed dramatically in that timeframe. It is clear to me that there is a sustained and increasing interest and demand for more male contraceptive alternatives. Much of this is due to the advocacy of Male Contraceptive Initiative.
What do you think are the biggest challenges affecting contraception, generally, and male contraception, specifically?The challenges for a vas deferens block, which is what we are developing, are shared by many other companies developing implantable medical devices. They are in the substantial amount of time, effort, and clinical evidence required to safely develop the product and obtain regulatory approval. Obtaining the necessary funding to complete this development represents a challenge for our solution.
Have these challenges and opportunities evolved over time? If so, how?The challenges to complete development and obtain approval have not evolved a great deal over time, but the ability to obtain the necessary funding has become increasingly more challenging.
What are your hopes for the near and far future of male contraception?My hopes are that one product can successfully make it through the development and approval process. This will show the promise and help clear the way for additional approaches to become available.
What will it take for these to become reality?Funders, advocates, and product developers who believe in the need and promise of a new male contraceptive alternative.
Please share any anecdotes from your experiences working in the sector.My personal experience is that there are advocates who passionately believe in the need for better alternatives for male contraception. The physicians that I have met as I have shared about our vas deferens block approach is that the care deeply for the patients and couples that they treat, they are genuinely interested in better options but are keenly focused on ensuring that new approaches are safe and that the risks and benefits are clearly and accurately communicated to their patients.
Please share any additional comments or considerations that you feel would be beneficial to the general public with respect to male contraception and your work.New non-hormonal and reversible male contraceptive approaches are an important way to provide couples better control of their reproduction. This can lead to fewer women enduring the side effects associated with hormonal approaches while men and women share reproductive responsibility and reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.