Award will continue work to advance contraceptive technology innovation

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — FHI Partners, a subsidiary of FHI 360, has been awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand and strengthen our portfolio of work under the Contraceptive Technology Innovation (CTI) Initiative. Following an initial award made by the foundation in 2013, this additional four-year investment will support ongoing work to advance the development and evaluation of several new contraceptive leads, with the ultimate goal of expanding access to high quality, affordable and acceptable products for those most in need in low-income countries.

microneedle patch being applied to arm
Photo credit: Gary Meek/Georgia Institute of Technology

The contraceptive technologies that will continue to be supported through the CTI Initiative include a biodegradable microneedle patch, biodegradable implant systems, longer-acting self-injectable contraceptives and a smaller copper intrauterine device. Under the new award, FHI 360 will build upon and strengthen established relationships with current product development partners and continue to facilitate collaboration through global knowledge sharing, including through the CTI Exchange platform.

Currently, an estimated 214 million women in developing countries want to avoid or delay pregnancy but are not using a contraceptive. “Our portfolio of products has tremendous potential to offer new, safe, effective, low-cost, easy to use and appealing contraceptive technologies to women in greatest need around the world,” said Dr. Laneta Dorflinger, Distinguished Scientist at FHI 360 and Director of the CTI Initiative. “We are addressing existing technology gaps by advancing products with attributes that women want but are lacking among current family planning options.”

Work under the CTI Initiative builds on FHI 360’s experience over four decades of research, development and introduction of new contraceptive methods. “A cornerstone of our approach is applying innovative drug delivery platforms that are being explored or used in other therapeutic areas to the field of contraception,” said Dr. Gregory S. Kopf, Director, Research and Development within FHI 360’s CTI Initiative. “Through the Gates-funded project, we collaborate with partners, including product development scientists, universities, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing groups and service delivery organizations. For example, we have collaborated with the Georgia Institute of Technology on exciting work to evaluate whether microneedle skin patch technology could be used to develop a long-acting contraceptive. We look forward to growing and strengthening this and other collaborations under this new award.”

Several of the approaches being advanced through the CTI Initiative are also supported with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and other donors.

For more information about the CTI Initiative, please contact us. Read more about FHI Partners.

FHI 360 welcomes Ricardo Michel, new Managing Director of FHI Partners

DURHAM, NC — FHI 360 announced today that Ricardo Michel, a leader in international development and finance, will oversee the organization’s newest subsidiary, FHI Partners. FHI Partners seeks to add to FHI 360’s ability to scale social impact by providing client-focused services that are customized to meet the specific needs of corporations and foundations.

Ricardo Michel, MBA, CPA Managing Director, FHI PartnersMichel brings more than 25 years of leadership in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining FHI 360, Michel served as the Executive Vice President of AMEX International, Inc., an international development consulting firm, where he managed strategic business development and operations. Michel previously served as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he was responsible for public-private partnerships. In addition to driving the agency’s private-sector engagement efforts, he played an integral role in conceptualizing and launching the U.S. Global Development Lab.

“FHI Partners is an example of how we continue to innovate as an organization by developing new business models that are fit-for-purpose,” said Patrick Fine, Chief Executive Officer of FHI 360. “We are extremely fortunate to have a distinguished and versatile leader like Ricardo join our ranks to oversee FHI Partners and increase our ability to deliver social impact.”

Before USAID, Michel spent several years structuring project finance transactions at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. He also served as a Senior Trade and Investment Advisor for the U.S. African Development Foundation and was instrumental in establishing the foundation’s trade and investment initiative for small and medium enterprises. Michel worked for several years as an investment banker and began his career as a certified public accountant.

“FHI Partners provides an exciting opportunity to create innovative strategic partnerships that focus on shared value – impact that benefits both business and society,” said Michel. “I am eager to build on FHI 360’s prolific work by partnering with new and existing clients to generate even greater social impact through our collective action.”