Durham, NC – Male Contraceptive Initiative (MCI), a private non-profit foundation, announced four grants, including a grant to Emory University’s Steven L’Hernault, professor and chair of biology, to support research and development of male contraceptive methods, raising MCI’s total commitment to male contraception to over $3M USD since 2017.
Dr. L’Hernault will receive $150,000 to aid in his work towards developing a novel form of male contraception. His project focuses on developing a platform to use nematodes to screen for male contraceptive candidates that block the binding of sperm and egg. Drugs identified in this screen can be further developed and tested as hormone-free contraceptives. The project provides a unique approach towards contraception, and highlights the opportunity for innovation in the field.
“The early stages of male contraceptive drug discovery are especially challenging because there is a lack of high-throughput screening methods within the context of fertilization,” says L’Hearnault. “We expect that our novel approach will address this current gap in our knowledge and we look forward to contributing to the Male Contraceptive Initiative’s mission of finding suitable non-hormonal contraceptive lead compounds.”
With over $3 million invested in male contraceptive product development, MCI seeks to push male contraceptive research projects towards market. There is a breadth of male contraception research, and funds grants in the drug development pipeline, from early stage screening of drugs up to studies that pave the way for early clinical trials. The organization’s mission is to facilitate research and development of male contraceptives for people around the world, and to build awareness among researchers, donors, and the general public about the demand for and status of novel male contraceptive methods.
Through its funding efforts, the non-profit has championed this mission in manifold ways: investing in promising product development through this and other rounds of funding, supporting students and young professionals through fellowships and travel grants, and consistently advocating with the public and media for an increased method mix that includes male contraception.
“More and more men are expressing the desire to participate in contraception with their partners. We are confident that the time is right to emphatically get behind the talent and energy in the field in order to achieve a real vision for a contraceptive future,” said MCI Executive Director Heather Vahdat.
About Male Contraceptive Initiative: Male Contraceptive Initiative works to bring new male contraceptives to market. We accomplish this through direct funding, technical support, research, and advocacy. We believe that couples deserve more contraceptive options and that we offer the biggest potential impact for them by focusing on male contraceptives. It’s time men are given more opportunities to contribute toward family planning.