With the exception of condoms, birth control is usually the burden of sexually active women. But surveys show that at least half of U.S. men would use a contraceptive themselves, and recent biotech advances are creating options more effective and comfortable than condoms. For men who want more control over conception, and couples who may want to double up for extra pregnancy protection, this is big news. Here are three standout prospects on the sexual health horizon.
The Gendarussa team at Airlangga University in Indonesia believes that their product, derived from an Indonesian shrub, interferes with fertilization. Their small Phase II human trial gave encouraging results. Phase III is the ?nal phase before public release, which means that Gendarussa is closest to market. However, reaching global consumers requires jumping numerous hurdles to meet international research standards, so it will take some time before it’s available in the U.S.
North Carolina’s Eppin Pharma is developing a drug that works by binding to a protein on the sperm’s surface. This bind turns sperm into bad swimmers. Team leader Dr. Michael O’Rand has tested the concept on monkeys and is prepping for another monkey trial soon. If the next one succeeds, the team will start more work on toxicity. Then on to actual men!
Think of Vasalgel as a sperm ?lter; it’s a polymer gel that’s injected into male sperm-carrying tubes. It’s also expected to be reversible through a second injection that dissolves the polymer. Phase I human trials are scheduled for 2016, which means the U.S. market could see Vasalgel as soon as 2018. If successful, Vasalgel would be the ?rst long-acting, reversible contraceptive for men.
By Aaron Hamlin
Aaron Hamlin is the executive director of Male Contraception Initiative at MaleContraceptive.org.
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