Maintaining Momentum in 2013

A message from Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, IPM's CEO

As we enter 2013, I want to thank you on behalf of everyone at IPM for your ongoing support of our work to develop HIV prevention products and other technologies women can use to protect their health.

Last year we saw exciting advances made across the HIV prevention field, from the launch of new studies of vaginal and rectal microbicides to US regulatory approval of oral Truvada to scientific progress on vaccines. We also witnessed an inspiring surge of public support for women’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH), including increased access to family planning, continued research on multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) and calls for integrated SRH programs and policies. We at IPM look forward to building on this momentum in the coming year and want to take this opportunity to share a glimpse of what lies ahead.

IPM’s most advanced product, a monthly vaginal ring that slowly releases the antiretroviral (ARV) drug dapivirine, is being studied in two Phase III trials across Africa to determine whether it can help prevent HIV infection in women. Conducted in partnership with the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN), we expect the trials to reach full enrollment this year. Results from these two trials, along with additional smaller studies tied to our licensure program for the dapivirine ring, are anticipated in 2015, with the potential for a licensed product in 2016. The ring could expand women’s HIV prevention options with a discreet and long-acting method they can control.

IPM is building on its ring technology with the development of a 60-day dual-purpose ring that combines dapivirine with the contraceptive levonorgestrel to simultaneously prevent HIV and unintended pregnancy, both primary causes of death for women worldwide. We expanded our product portfolio to include MPTs in the past year given the urgency for new tools women can use to address their related health needs in one long-acting product.

IPM’s work on the first combination ARV microbicide, the dapivirine-maraviroc ring, is also progressing in partnership with MTN. Results from the Phase I trial, conducted in the United States, will be available this year. This study is the first to look at maraviroc for use as a microbicide. We are hopeful that combination products like this one, which employs two types of ARVs that attack HIV at different stages of the infection cycle, could one day provide greater protection than a single drug alone. Dapivirine belongs to a class of ARVs called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors that block infection by preventing HIV from making copies of itself. Maraviroc, on the other hand, is an entry inhibitor that blocks HIV from getting inside healthy cells. In combination, they may provide a double barrier of defense against HIV.

To truly allow the world to get to zero new HIV infections — and stay there — we continue to build on the latest science to advance new products that will help us stay a step ahead of the virus. One compound at the center of IPM’s research efforts this year is a gp120 inhibitor, which binds to and inhibits key proteins that HIV uses to attach to healthy cells. This and other ARV drugs we are studying have promising potential to be developed as long-acting rings, and daily tablets or films either alone or in combination with other ARVs and contraceptive hormones to prevent HIV and unintended pregnancy.

Finally, I am very pleased to announce that IPM welcomed the year with an additional contribution of US $1.3 million (DKK $7.5 million) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, which acknowledges our progress to date and the urgent need for new health solutions for women. These funds, along with the support of all our donors, bolster us for a productive year ahead.

I am excited to continue our work together this year to advance HIV prevention technologies, and new sexual and reproductive health solutions for women around the world. Thank you for your dedication to global health research and advocacy, and all the best for a healthy, happy and fruitful 2013.