Groningen-based pharmaceutical company InnoCore is part of a consortium developing a promising form of contraception for women with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
It was announced on Tuesday that InnoCore would be receiving support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the consortium working on the project. InnoCore is a pharmaceutical company which specialises in “long-acting injectable depots in the form of microparticles, implants and gels”. The company is located at Campus Groningen’s Healthy Ageing Campus by UMCG.
The contraceptive technology relies on microneedles which administer enough medication to prevent pregnancy for up to six months. Microneedle technology is a relatively new method of drug delivery which uses patches with tiny needles on the patient’s skin.
InnoCore’s role in the consortium will be developing micro needles using their biodegradable polymers which are strong enough to be effective and painless. “We are very excited to contribute to the development of innovative and affordable contraceptives for women in developing countries by partnering with this great research consortium, supported by the Gates Foundation”, the company wrote in a press release on Tuesday.
The new contraception is described as an “effective, single administration, pain-free and discreet method of delivering contraception for a period of 6 months.” The microneedle patches will help more women of reproductive age in poorer nations have better access to longer term birth control. “Currently, two of the most popular non-permanent methods of contraception in low and middle-income countries are injections – which are effective for three months – and implants, which last for three years”, according to the press release. “Both of these methods are invasive, and in the case of the implant, require a skilled professional to insert and remove the implant. These issues can contribute to women not accessing contraception.”
The consortium working on the project includes Welsh and Scottish academic institutions, namely Cardiff University and Edinburgh University, several other pharmaceutical development companies – Maddison Product Design, Isca Healthcare and REMEDI – and a number of NGOs, partnerships, charitable bodies and NHS Trusts.