Development of a longer-acting injectable contraceptive

More than 40 million women worldwide use injectable contraceptives. Use is particularly high in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than one-third of contraceptive users choose injectables. However, despite their popularity, discontinuation rates are high, often due to missed follow-up appointments. Currently available injectables are effective for 1 to 3 months (depending on the formulation), requiring women to return to their provider 4 to 12 times per year. An injectable that lasts six months would help address this problem, as users would not have to return to the clinic as frequently for re-injections. Longer intervals between injections may lead to higher compliance and continuation rates.

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FHI 360 has launched a project to support early testing of innovative approaches to developing an injectable contraceptive that would last for 6 months. This project is the first step toward bringing a game-changing injectable contraceptive to market, thereby expanding contraceptive access and choice for women around the world.

Proof-of-Concept Testing

In 2012, FHI 360 issued a Request for Proposals for proof-of-concept testing of candidates that have the potential to be developed into a longer-acting injectable. Concepts were received from lead drug delivery research groups in the US, Europe, India and China, and represented a wide range of innovative approaches. After a rigorous review by the project team, the Technical Advisory Group for the initiative, and external experts, several proposals were selected to move forward for proof-of-concept testing. We are currently partnering with the following organizations:

Orbis Biosciences

  • Technology: poly(lactic-co-glycolic) (PLGA) microspheres manufactured using the Orbis Biosciences’ patented Precision Particle Fabrication (PPF) technology and releasing etonogestrel
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Nathan Dormer

Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood Research (SIPPR)

  • Technology: poly(lactic) and poly(lactic-co-glycolic) (PLA/PLGA) microspheres releasing levonorgestrel
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Linglin Feng

University of California, San Diego

  • Technology: nanostructured porous silicon microparticles releasing a contraceptive steroid
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Michael Sailor

For more information, please email us.


  • Contraceptive Technology Innovation brochure
    2016 — Throughout our 40-year history, FHI 360 has helped increase access to family planning by developing, evaluating and introducing a range of new contraceptive methods. Research is under way to develop innovative mid- to long-...
Funder: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Duration: 2011 - 2016