Technology ID

Cyclic Peptides as Non-Hormonal Male Contraceptive Agents and Methods of Use Thereof

Lead Inventor
Dufau, Maria
Raju, Murugananth Kumar (NICHD)
Kavarthapu, Raghuveer (NICHD)
Anbazhagan, Rajakumar (NICHD)
Hassan, Sergio (Center For Information Technology (CIT))
Therapeutic Areas
Reproductive Health
Development Stages
Pre-clinical (in vivo)
Lead IC

The available options for male contraceptives are limited. Current research is focused mainly on hormonal male contraceptives. This technology is a potential non-hormonal contraceptive using cyclic peptides to prevent spermatogenesis or the process of generating sperm within the male reproductive organs.  Specifically, this technology describes the development of a class of cyclic peptides inhibiting phosphorylation of gonadotropin-regulated testicular helicase (GRTH/DDX25). Images of the structures of the cyclic peptides currently designed and tested are included in a Journal of Medicinal Chemistry article published October 2, 2021, see PMID 34601876. These peptides have not exhibited toxicity in vitro. 

GRTH is expressed in the male gonad. Phosphorylation of GRTH is required for the successful completion of spermatogenesis. This invention from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) demonstrates effective delivery into Cos-1 mammalian and germ cells and dose-dependent inhibition of GRTH phosphorylation.  The peptides inhibit GRTH phosphorylation by interfering with the kinase efficacy at the GRTH/PKA binding interface.

The NICHD seeks licensees and/or research co-development partners for the development of cyclic peptides or peptidomimetic molecules as potential non-hormonal contraceptives for males.

Competitive Advantages:

Does not reduce sex drive or physical enjoyment
Significant, unmet medical need given limited male contraceptive options (condoms, vasectomy, and withdrawal)
Novel approach could attract interest from pharmaceutical partners, whose involvement is needed for commercialization


Commercial Applications:

  • Contraceptive for human males
  • Contraceptive for domestic animals (e.g., dogs and cats)
  • Contraceptive for livestock animals (e.g., cows and pigs)


Licensing Contact:
Gunas, Heather