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.
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.