New contraceptive technology project will expand family planning options
FHI 360, a global leader in family planning (FP) research for nearly 50 years, has been awarded Innovate FP, a five-year contraceptive technology research project, by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The goal of Innovate FP is to expand desirable, affordable, quality contraceptive options to enable women to better meet their changing needs and desires throughout their reproductive lives. Despite recent progress, more than 218 million women of reproductive age, who would like to delay, space or limit their next pregnancy, do not use modern contraceptives. Many do not use methods for product-related reasons. Innovative solutions are essential to address product gaps.
Activities under Innovate FP will build on the current USAID-funded Envision FP project and FHI 360’s broader contraceptive technology work. Through Innovate FP, FHI 360 will seek to strengthen and build partnerships to improve contraceptive options, advance novel approaches with potential for fewer side effects, respond to product-related issues and address existing gaps in knowledge and practice.
“As the global community works to define the post-2020 family planning agenda, FHI 360 recognizes that we must continue to prioritize efforts to ensure that women are able to choose contraceptive methods that meet their needs and desires,” said Dr. Laneta Dorflinger, Distinguished Scientist and Project Director for Innovate FP. “Under Innovate FP, we will address product gaps and advance new, safe, effective, low-cost, easy-to-use and appealing contraceptives to increase choice and expand the method mix for those in greatest need around the world.”
Innovate FP’s product development goals will include advancing the development of longer-acting injectables, a microneedle patch, a biodegradable implant and a novel, nonhormonal, on-demand contraceptive. Research will also be conducted with users and providers to understand their attitudes toward and preferences for the design of products in our pipeline, including contraceptive-induced menstrual changes. We will also continue to address emerging field concerns about current methods and implement strategies to ensure affordable access to contraception in low-income settings and to expand method choice.
Strategic partnerships will be key to advancing the goals of Innovate FP. “We are excited to collaborate with partners who offer cutting-edge technical leadership in product development, and we are proactively seeking commercialization partners to help bring these products to the market for the benefit of women,” said Dr. Gregory S. Kopf, Director, Research and Development at FHI 360. “As a part of our approach, we will work closely with several field-based groups to contribute to research capacity building at the local level.”
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