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Development of a novel, non-hormonal female contraceptive device

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41HD111106-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41HD111106
Amount: $300,067.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NICHD
Solicitation Number: PA21-262
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-09-21
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-08-31
Small Business Information
Boston, MA 02120-3303
United States
DUNS: 083377757
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (415) 608-1534
Business Contact
Phone: (415) 608-1534
Research Institution
One Boston Medical Center Place
BOSTON, MA 02118-2908
United States

 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

The applicant, Venova Technologies, is a woman-led medical device startup company. Venova Technologies is
applying for a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grant to fund development towards
technical milestones that will advance the commercial potential of our patent-pending non-hormonal
contraceptive device. Half of pregnancies in the United States are unintended due to inconsistent or non-use of
contraceptives. Current contraceptives offer a range of options in an attempt to meet the varying needs of
women at different stages of their lives. Yet many women remain dissatisfied with their options, and many
discontinue use due to hormonally-related side effects. Women who discontinue use of an otherwise highly
effective method are likely to resort to less effective contraceptives and increase their risk of unintended
pregnancy. The only highly effective non-hormonal method is the copper intrauterine device (IUD). However,
the copper IUD is associated with heavier menstrual bleeding and increased cramping. Other non-hormonal
options, such as diaphragms and condoms, are considerably less effective. Although many women may prefer
non-hormonal methods, the choice to avoid unwanted side effects comes with a higher risk of pregnancy.
There is a critical unmet need for birth control options that are reliable, discreet, affordable, acceptable, and
without adverse side effects. Venova Technologies is developing a non-hormonal long-acting reversible device
to directly address the paucity of methods that are highly effective with a reduced side effective profile. Venova
Technologies’ contraceptive solution does not rely on hormones or metals to achieve contraception, and it does
not interfere with the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis nor interrupt natural menstrual cycles. The device is
fitted and placed by a trained healthcare professional and should provide effective contraception for several
years. In vitro studies confirmed proof of principle, and devices have been successfully screened and tested by
a medical practitioner using hyper-realistic anatomical models. In this STTR Phase I program, Venova
Technologies will further refine the functionality and performance of the contraceptive device using three
screening steps in increasingly realistic environments: benchtop in vitro tests, advanced tissue-mimicking
anatomical models, and ex vivo female reproductive tissues excised during surgical hysterectomies. Success
in this project will increase confidence in the device design needed to proceed with in vivo studies and to
pursue future grants and external funding opportunities. The device will offer women control over their fertility
with a safe, discreet, long-acting, reversible, highly effective method that does not rely on hormones or metals.
Venova Technologies’ mission to address the global unmet need for more non-hormonal options that are
affordable and acceptable for family planning fully aligns with the NICHD Strategic Plan 2020 and has
immense positive health and socioeconomic implications for women in the United States and around the world.PROJECT NARRATIVE
Contraceptive innovation is urgently needed to help women manage their fertility and mitigate the risks of
unintended pregnancy. Venova Technologies is developing a highly effective long-acting female barrier method
that does not rely on hormones or metal to prevent pregnancy. This STTR Phase I project will accelerate the
design development and refinement of Venova’s novel device enabling progress towards first-in-human clinical
trials and a successful commercialization program.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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