U of M male contraceptive grant focuses on access, affordability

A new grant to the University of Minnesota will focus on increased affordable access to male contraceptives.

According to an announcement, the University of Minnesota has been awarded a $6.5 million contract by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Contraceptive Development Program (CDP) in order to maintain its Chemical Synthesis Facility, which conducts research in the synthesis and testing of both male and female contraceptive agents. 

The goal of the grant will be to develop reliable, reversible, affordable, and safe contraceptive drugs available, according to the announcement. 

There are currently 12 types of contraceptives readily available for women, while there are only two for men – condoms and vasectomies. 

"This award is more evidence of the critical role that the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development (ITDD) team has been playing in the field of contraceptive development, and drug discovery and development in general," Dr. Vadim J. Gurvich, principal investigator on the award said in a statement

In a 2019 survey from the Male Contraceptive Initiative, 70% of men aged 18 to 44 said, "they are very or somewhat interested in new male contraception." 

"The world is ready for a male contraceptive agent, and we are happy to help make this a reality by working with NICHD," said Dr. Gunda I. Georg in a statement.

The contract is co-led by Gurvich, who is a research associate professor and expert in synthetic organic/medicinal chemistry, chemical process development and regulatory compliance. Georg is a professor of medicinal chemistry and ITDD founding director who has led a number of NICHD-funded programs on the discovery of contraceptive agents for nearly 20 years.