Pharma company Bayer has recently received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As part of the grant, the two organizations have each committed more than $12M over four years to co-fund pre-clinical research activities with the goal of providing women globally with an option for non-hormonal contraception. In addition to research co-funding over a four-year period, Bayer will leverage its experience in women’s healthcare as well as research and development expertise in order to identify a pre-clinical development candidate. Bayer has also committed to make such a product available in low- and lower-middle-income countries at an affordable price once it would have been approved by health authorities.
“The collaboration brings together Bayer’s research expertise, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s purpose, to help reduce inequalities around the world by facilitating access to health in low- and lower-middle-income countries,” said Marianne De Backer, Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy, Business Development & Licensing/Open Innovation and Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Division. “Together, we aim to further advance our vision to provide non-hormonal contraceptive options to millions of girls and women around the globe in a sustainable manner.”
“Sustainability is an integral part of our business,” said Jeanne Kehren, Senior Vice President Digital & Commercial Innovation, Chief Information Officer, as well as responsible for Sustainability and a Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Division. “With our strong heritage and deeply rooted expertise in women’s healthcare, Bayer has been supporting initiatives that contribute to providing women in low- and lower-middle-income countries with access to family planning for more than 50 years. We are proud to work together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and join efforts to expand access to contraceptive options that help address the unmet needs of women worldwide.”
This new partnership adds to Bayer’s commitment focusing on providing scientific and sustainable solutions to support the individual health needs of women worldwide and to help provide women and girls in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) with access to modern contraception. It’s the second joint activity involving both parties in family planning, along with the collaboration on The Challenge Initiative (TCI).
Today, gender inequality remains an ongoing problem and teenage pregnancy and maternal death continue to be a serious health concern, especially in LMICs. Increased choice in modern contraceptive methods help women have better control of their reproductive planning. Family planning is not only central to women’s health but also may give them greater autonomy over their lives, which may have a positive ripple effect on families and communities.