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Development of IPM's Vaginal Ring Designed to Reduce HIV-1 Receives $25 Million Boost

The United States Agency for International Development recently announced that it will award the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) up to $25 million for a period of 5 years to accelerate the potential rollout of its monthly vaginal ring designed to reduce the risk of HIV in HIV-negative women.

Made of a flexible silicone material, the ring contains dapivirine, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that blocks HIV’s ability to replicate inside of a healthy cell.

“This would be the first new product for women for the prevention of HIV,” Sharon Hillier PhD, principal investigator of the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN), director of reproductive infectious disease research in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said in a press release.

The award supports ongoing research of the ring including further study of former participants in ASPIRE and The Ring Study. It follows previous USAID awards, bringing IPM’s backing from the organization to $91 million.

The ring releases dapivirine over the course of 1 month, offering a discreet and long-acting HIV prevention method for women, who insert and replace the ring themselves. IPM will also be able to accelerate the development of a 3-month dapivirine ring offering women greater convenience, as well as reducing the product’s annual cost.

In July, IPM submitted the product for review to the European Medicines Agency. The application was based on the results of The Ring Study and ASPIRE, 2 independent, placebo-controlled phase 3 clinical trials assessing the ring’s long-term safety and efficacy in more than 4500 women in Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Data from 35 supporting clinical studies were also included.

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