This week marks the beginning of the phase I trial for a revolutionary non-hormonal male birth control pill by YourChoice Therapeutics. Known as YCT-529, the pill involves British participants in the trial phase.
YCT-529 stands out as a hormone-free retinoic acid receptor-alpha (RAR-alpha) inhibitor, distinct from the female birth control pill. This unique mechanism works by blocking access to vitamin A, thereby hindering sperm production.
Previous studies indicate that vitamin A deficiencies can affect male reproductive functions, sperm production, and the upkeep of the male genital tract.
Preclinical trials on male mice showcased promising results: the male contraceptive demonstrated 99% efficacy in preventing pregnancy, proved 100% reversible without any side effects, and restored fertility in the mice within four to six weeks after discontinuing the pill.
Research conducted in 2021 indicates that between 34% to 82.3% of men expressed willingness to adopt male contraceptives, according to the Journal of Sex Research.
Prospects for Availability:
The clinical trial is anticipated to conclude in June 2024, although a definitive timeline for the pill’s availability remains unclear.
Significance of the Market:
An estimated market value of $200 billion has been projected for new male contraceptives, with a potential market size of 10 million men in the U.S. and 50 million men globally, as per Current Obstetrics and Gynecology Reports.
Gunda Georg, the researcher spearheading this initiative and founding director of the Institutes for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, emphasized, “The world is ready for a male contraceptive agent, and delivering one that’s hormone-free is simply the right thing to do given what we know about the side effects women have endured for decades from The Pill.”
Context and Background:
Presently, men’s contraceptive options primarily consist of condoms and vasectomies, while women have an array of contraceptive choices. The challenge in creating male contraceptives lies in the continuous production of sperm, which amounts to millions daily, contrasting with women’s monthly egg release.
Previous attempts at hormonal male birth control have faced setbacks due to severe side effects, similar to those experienced with female birth control methods.
The current progress includes trials of a hormonal gel and a pill aiming to lower sperm production without hormonal influences, displaying positive safety and efficacy results, according to earlier studies.
Female birth control options encompass various methods with efficacy ranging from 71% to 99%, each with associated benefits and health risks. These risks include mood swings, blood clots, weight changes, vaginal irritation, migraines, and potential increased risk of breast cancer, as indicated by recent research.