IPM Welcomes New Board Member Dr. Florence Houn

Internationally recognized biomedical regulatory expert joins Board as IPM seeks approval for its monthly dapivirine ring for HIV prevention in women

SILVER SPRING, Md. (January 25, 2017) — The International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) today announced the addition of Dr. Florence Houn to its Board of Directors. Dr. Houn brings more than two decades of experience leading drug development and regulatory programs in government and private sectors.

She currently serves as the vice president for global regulatory science at Celgene Corporation, where she is responsible for advancing the science of Celgene’s interactions with regulatory authorities on products designed to treat cancer, inflammatory diseases and other health conditions.

She previously oversaw regulatory policy, intelligence and strategy at Celgene. Prior to Celgene, for 15 years, Dr. Houn held senior positions managing drug, vaccine and biologic product approvals for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In 2016, IPM’s monthly dapivirine ring was found to safely help prevent HIV in women, and the organization is now assembling applications for the ring’s potential licensure in countries where women remain at high risk for HIV. IPM welcomes Dr. Houn’s appointment during this critical period in the nonprofit’s history as it pursues a robust pipeline, featuring the dapivirine ring as a platform technology.

“I look forward to contributing to IPM’s pioneering work advancing innovative HIV prevention tools for women,” said Dr. Houn. “IPM is committed to realizing the public health impact that promising products like the dapivirine ring could have for women, and I am honored to support this important effort.”

Dr. Houn serves on the advisory board for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Harmonization Center, which promotes regulatory harmonization for drugs and medical devices in the region. She is also a member of the committee that advises the US Medicare program on the strength of scientific evidence available on medical products and services.

“We are thrilled to add Dr. Houn’s significant regulatory and product development expertise as we prepare to seek approval for the dapivirine ring in areas where women urgently need new HIV prevention methods,” said Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, CEO of IPM. “Her counsel will be invaluable as IPM navigates the regulatory pathway toward the ring’s potential introduction.”

The long-acting tool could help expand women’s prevention options, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 60 percent of adults living with HIV are women. IPM, as the ring’s developer and regulatory sponsor, plans to submit the first applications for regulatory approval in mid-2017. First approvals could come in late 2018 and 2019.

IPM’s novel product provides sustained release of the antiretroviral (ARV) drug dapivirine, for which IPM holds an exclusive worldwide license from Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Next-generation products in IPM’s pipeline include a 90-day dapivirine-only ring that could improve convenience and reduce overall costs and a 90-day dapivirine-contraceptive ring that could help prevent both HIV and unintended pregnancy.

IPM’s work is made possible through generous support  from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs, Irish Aid, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through the KfW Development Bank, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About IPM: IPM is a nonprofit organization that developed the monthly dapivirine ring, and is dedicated to developing other new HIV prevention tools and sexual and reproductive health technologies for women, and making them available in developing countries. Our partnerships with public, private and civil society sectors bring scientific ingenuity, political will and financial resources to bear on developing and delivering products designed to have significant public health impact. IPM has offices in South Africa and the United States. Please visit www.IPMglobal.org.   

Contact: Holly Seltzer, hseltzer@IPMglobal.org, +1.301.608.4277