Dear friends and colleagues,
Much has changed since our last annual report, both in HIV prevention research and in everyone’s lives as the world responds to a new pandemic. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, we at IPM have continued working diligently with our partners to advance new HIV prevention options that women can use on their own terms.
It is that persistence and hard work that led to the exciting news in 2020 that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) adopted a positive scientific opinion for the dapivirine vaginal ring’s use by women in developing countries, a pivotal step on the path toward making the product available where the need is urgent.
This is a major milestone not only for the ring but also for IPM, which was founded to help fill a critical gap for long-acting, woman-centered HIV prevention products.
Research and development is a complex process. When IPM began exploring dapivirine as a vaginal microbicide in 2004, there was no guarantee that a viable product could even be created, much less shown effective and become the first long-acting HIV prevention method to receive a positive regulatory opinion. Getting a product to this point requires tenacity and we and our partners stayed focused given how high the stakes are for women.
We are so pleased to share this achievement with the women who participated in the ring studies and our many other partners around the world—researchers, donors, advocates and others. Their contributions and support were pivotal to getting the ring to the threshold of country approvals, and we extend our profound thanks.
We also want to recognize James McIntyre and Robin Shattock, who recently completed their tenures as the chairs of IPM’s Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board, respectively. Their leadership has helped achieve a landmark for microbicides. Thanks also to our staff, past and present, for devoting long hours to this pursuit.
While the EMA’s positive opinion is an extraordinary milestone, many more steps remain to get the ring into women’s hands, from country-level submissions in sub-Saharan Africa to establishing a consortium for the ring’s successful rollout.
We also continue advancing longer-acting dapivirine products, including one designed to offer both HIV prevention and contraception.
This is an exciting time for women’s HIV prevention and in IPM’s history, and we hope to share more successes with you as both the prevention landscape and IPM continue to evolve. Thank you for supporting our vision of a future where women can choose among a range of HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health options that meet their varied needs.
Dr. Zeda F. Rosenberg Dr. Alex Coutinho
Founder and CEO, IPM Chair of the Board