DURHAM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today the Male Contraception Initiative (MCI), a private non-profit foundation, announced the award of a $500,000 grant to Vibliome Therapeutics, Inc., for the development of a new, non-hormonal birth control pill for men.
The project will focus on the development of a Vibliome drug candidate that is a highly selective inhibitor of homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 4 (HIPK4). Researchers at Stanford, led by James Chen, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, have determined that the protein kinase HIPK4 is essential for male fertility. Mice lacking the HIPK4 gene have impaired spermiogenesis but are otherwise healthy, supporting HIPK4 as a therapeutic target for reversible male contraception.
“We’re excited about giving this grant after it made it through our panel of experts,” said Aaron Hamlin, MCI’s Executive Director. “Vibliome has a great team and a great concept. It’s non-hormonal and focuses on the later stages of sperm maturation. We hope that by supporting their pre-clinical work we can get them closer to Phase I human clinical trials down the road. This is how getting a new male contraceptive to market must start. We have the patience and will continue offering support wherever we can.”
“This is a great application of our core technology that provides for unprecedented selectivity,” said Robert Goodwin, the CEO of Vibliome. “Selective inhibition of kinases has applications for therapeutic benefit well beyond the oncology indications for which commercial kinase inhibitors are currently licensed, and improved selectivity is likely to deliver more favorable therapeutic indices for all indications. We are very much looking forward to working with MCI and our collaborators to advancing our HIPK4 inhibitor lead to clinical testing as a new approach to male contraception.”
About the Male Contraception Initiative: The Male Contraception Initiative works to bring new male contraceptives to market. We accomplish this through direct funding, technical support, research, and advocacy. We believe that couples deserve options and that we offer the biggest potential impact by focusing on male contraceptives. It’s time men are given more opportunities to contribute toward family planning.
About Vibliome Therapeutics, Inc.: Vibliome was incorporated in 2017 to establish proof of concept in humans for a new family of highly selective small molecule kinase inhibitors offering both reversible and irreversible binding to a broad range of targets. The company is focusing on validated and promising new kinase targets while co-targeting relevant compensatory pathways to improve patient outcomes.