MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael O’Rand, PhD
Retired professor of cell biology and physiology in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and president/CEO of Eppin Pharma, Inc
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: My lab at the UNC School of Medicine discovered the protein Eppin in 2004. It coats the sperm cell. Through our subsequent research, we learned it is essential for sperm protection in the female. We thought it could make an excellent target for a male contraceptive.
Subsequently we developed a compound called EP055 that would bind to Eppin and as a result stop sperm from swimming. In our latest study published in PLOS One, we show that EP055 substantially limits sperm motility in non-human primates. And we showed the effect of EP055 is temporary, which would make it a good contraceptive.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our approach is non-hormonal. The female “pill” alters the natural hormones in the body. There are male contraceptives currently in clinical trials that work by targeting male hormones. This approach is worth pursuing, but there are side effects to targeting human male hormones.
Our approach is simply to make the sperm in an ejaculate stop swimming. We have seen no side effects in our animal research. We are working toward a phase one human trial.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We are currently formulating an oral version of EP055.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: This work was started in my lab when I was a full professor at the UNC School of Medicine, where I was a professor for 35 years in the department of cell biology and physiology. In 2014, I retired and started Eppin Pharma Inc with help from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am currently president and CEO of the company.
Michael G. O’Rand, Katherine G. Hamil, Tiffany Adevai, Mary Zelinski. Inhibition of sperm motility in male macaques with EP055, a potential non-hormonal male contraceptive. PLOS ONE, 2018; 13 (4): e0195953 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195953
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