A Next-Generation Pipeline to Discover Male Contraceptives
Martin Matzuk, along with Nicholas Simmons of Baylor College of Medicine in the U.S. and Masahito Ikawa of Osaka University in Japan, will build a male contraceptive drug discovery platform comprising a library of two billion small compounds generated by DNA-Encoded Chemistry Technology (DEC-Tec) at relatively low cost, and a panel of male-specific fertility proteins. Contraception options for men are currently limited to condoms or vasectomy. A safe, low-cost small molecule contraceptive similar to the female "pill", could also help men to better control family planning. They are using the CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis strategy to identify new genes essential for male fertility in mice. For ten of these new genes, they will synthesize the corresponding fertility proteins and test them for binding to the compounds in their new, expanded DNA-tagged drug library.