The French company MedinCell has received a €17.3M ($19M) grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to advance its long-acting contraceptive implant to human trials.
The grant is a follow-on to a €3.2M endowment from the Gates Foundation in 2017 to fuel early preclinical development of the implant. The additional funds will help MedinCell to advance the contraceptive through preclinical development and into a phase I trial.
The cash will be available in installments; MedinCell could receive up to €10.7M of the total within the next year, including an immediate payment of €3.7M.
MedinCell’s project with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aims to make contraception easier for women in developing countries where current options are often costly and not always available. MedinCell’s implant is one of a class of long-acting reversible contraceptives, which prevent pregnancy for months without needing regular pills.
MedinCell’s device is designed to stand out from other long-acting contraceptives by combining several advantages into one: not needing specialist expertise to insert under the skin, fully degrading in the body without needing to be manually removed, and being affordable.
According to the World Health Organization, 74 million women living in developing countries have unintended pregnancies every year, leading to 25 million unsafe abortions, and 47,000 deaths. This creates a strong need for more convenient options for contraception.
DelsiTech, a company based in Finland, is also working with the Gates Foundation to develop long-acting contraception. It received an undisclosed sum from the foundation in May this year to fund the development of slow-release gel implants for contraceptive drugs and HIV treatments.
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