The Promise of Progress in 2014
A message from Dr. Zeda F. Rosenberg, IPM's CEO
Over the past year, researchers, advocates, donors and others across the public health field have made inspiring advances in efforts to create new HIV prevention tools for women and address their other sexual and reproductive health needs. This is not just good news for women — it is crucial to reaching global development goals that depend on women’s health. Several landmark clinical trials continued to determine the efficacy of microbicides that could revolutionize the way women approach HIV prevention. Reproductive health and rights remained at the forefront of the global agenda, highlighted at Women Deliver 2013 and the International Conference on Family Planning. At the same time, new political and funding commitments bolstered family planning and women’s HIV prevention efforts.
We are optimistic that this momentum will continue in 2014. The HIV prevention field eagerly awaits results from the FACTS 001 trial, which will hopefully confirm that tenofovir gel can reduce women’s risk of HIV infection. At IPM, we are focused this year on our monthly dapivirine ring, now in two parallel Phase III clinical studies across Africa: IPM’s Ring Study and the Microbicide Trials Network’s ASPIRE study. This novel, antiretroviral-based product would give women a discreet, long-acting prevention option. We anticipate announcing the results by 2016.
Other products in our pipeline include single and combination rings, gels, films and tablets that attack HIV at different points in its lifecycle. Using drugs with different mechanisms of action will allow us to stay one step ahead of the virus and reduce the risk of drug resistance in the future. A diverse toolkit of women-initiated products that fit varying needs is also essential if we are to reduce rates of transmission to young women, who are still becoming infected in alarming numbers.
HIV prevention has long been IPM’s priority and is often most effective when integrated into women’s broader sexual and reproductive health. In 2014, IPM will continue to develop a multipurpose prevention technology to protect against HIV infection and unintended pregnancy – two of the greatest health risks women face. Our 60-day vaginal ring that combines dapivirine with the contraceptive levonorgestrel is set to enter clinical trials in 2015.
As we begin the new year, IPM welcomes two additions to its Board of Directors: Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Germany’s former Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Michael Stevens, Chairman of the ENTHUSE Charitable Trust in the United Kingdom. We are thrilled to have their guidance and unique perspectives on IPM’s Board. We are also excited to announce Dr. James McIntyre, who has served on IPM’s Board for two years, as the new Board Chair. He follows the two-term tenure of Dr. Peter Corr. We will miss Peter’s invaluable insight and direction, and look forward to James’ leadership on the IPM Board as we continue through the dapivirine ring licensure program.
Thank you again for your unwavering commitment to women’s sexual and reproductive health. I look forward to our work together this year and wish you a happy, healthy 2014.