Development of a novel male contraceptive through specific inhibition of the CatSper ion channel in human sperm cells
Almost half of all pregnancies are unintended. The contraceptive options of today do not adequately meet the needs. Especially males are left with few choices. A sperm-specific ion channel, CatSper, which is essential to male fertility, represents a novel safe and specific contraceptive target, as it is exclusively expressed in sperm cells. We have identified a non-hormonal pharmaceutical, which inhibits CatSper twice as potently as the best known CatSper inhibitor, the steroid RU1968. Using this pharmaceutical as a molecular starting point, we aim to synthesize chemical derivatives to develop a highly potent and specific CatSper-inhibitor. Using state-of-the-art techniques, we will assess the specificity of the derivatives on CatSper, their ability to inhibit CatSper-controlled sperm responses, and their ability to reach blood and semen after oral administration. This way we aim to develop the world’s first non-steroidal CatSper inhibitor as a contraceptive for both males and females.
Basic Mentor: Professor Hans Bräuner-Osborne, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen
Clinical Mentor: Professor Anders Juul, Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet
Life science industry mentor: Associate Professor Bo Hjorth Bentzen, Acesion Pharma and Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen