Formulating Products for Women

One of the most important decisions made by microbicide developers is to identify product forms can work for and meet the needs of different women at different times in their lives.

It’s about giving women options, because a product that best suits a woman’s needs and preferences is much more likely to be used consistently and correctly. IPM places high importance on formulating products that match women’s needs. 

Products Women Can and Will Use

Because there will be no single solution to stopping HIV, having multiple prevention options is not simply a best-case scenario, it is the only scenario that can end the epidemic. This is especially true for women, who bear the brunt of the epidemic.

IPM has focused on investigating delivery mechanisms that are “coitally independent,” meaning the microbicide could be applied once a day or even less frequently, independent of the time of sex. 

Our most clinically advanced formulation is a long-acting vaginal ring that slowly releases the ARV dapivirine over the course of a month.

We undertake each formulation project with the needs and expectations of women in mind, based on the preferences they express in qualitative studies. 

Product Acceptability Studies

To assess the acceptability of different microbicides, IPM conducts product acceptability studies in which women use and evaluate a variety of dosage forms from daily vaginal films and gels to monthly vaginal rings. 

These studies help to inform IPM and other product developers on the product characteristics women prefer, and serve to guide the drug development process, because a product will be effective only if it is used consistently. 

To ensure future microbicide products will be widely available and accessible after approvals from in-country regulatory authorities, IPM also works to minimize manufacturing costs and analyze the product's stability in a range of different climates.