Developing the “male IUD” with Kevin Eisenfrats from Contraline

The first pomy was performed in 1897 and Since then every innovation in birth Control has been created for women to Use while female Focus birth control Encouraged women to be more independent And achieve more at work it actually Placed the onus on women to be in charge Of Family Planning luckily clinical Trials have started to put equal weight On this issue creating long-lasting Solutions that some are calling the male [Music] IUD you're listening to found the tech Crunch podcast that brings you the Stories behind and the startups and Today we're talking to Kevin Eisen fratz The co-founder and CEO of contraline Which is developing a long- lasting Reversible solution for male birth Control I'm Becca scac and here to talk About how men can become a bigger part Of the birth control conversation is my Amazing co-host Dominic madori Davis and Of course before we get into our Conversation with Kevin we have our two Troops in a lie so listen carefully to See which one of these statements is not True is it that Kevin got the idea for This company while watching 16 and Pregnant or that over 1500 men were Interested in the first clinical trial Or is it that harsher abortion laws in The US have lowered interests in getting Birth control listeners you'll have to

Keep listening to figure out which one Of those three statements is true and Which one of those is the lie but before We hop into our conversation with Kevin Just a quick housekeeping note we would Love if you could rate and review the Show on any of the platforms that you Currently listen to found on that gives Us very helpful feedback and we would Greatly appreciate it but without Further Ado here's our conversation with Kevin Hey Kevin how's it going I'm good thanks For having me no thanks for coming on The show I'm super excited about this Conversation because your company fits Into a broader political conversation We're having a broader conversation About health and it just feels very Timely to have you on the show in Today's climate so I think we should Just Dive Right In I won't bother by Asking you about the weather like I do For every guest and shouldn't so why Don't you start by telling us a little Bit about contraline contraline is a Biotech company we're working on male Birth control our lead product is called Adom and Adam is a hydrogel that is Implanted into the bass deference to Block sperm our goal with Adam is to Create the first long lasting non- Hormonal and easily reversible male Contraceptive think what the IUD is for

Women there is nothing like that for men And that's the area we're playing in so Walk me through the whole joury how you Got interested in this space and sort of Why Did You Have you decided to spend The last looks like almost 10 years Working on this it's actually been even Longer than 10 years for me personally Believe it or not so I'll kind of take You back a little bit from day one so I'm originally from New Jersey and I Went to a medical high school and I kind Of always wanted to become a doctor Specifically I was thinking about OBGYN And Women's Health and it was during my Time in high school that I started Really thinking about the concept of Using biomedical engineering or Innovation and applying that towards Reproductive Health like I just felt Like reproductive Health kind of has Stagnated and there's not a lot of Innovation going on in it so this is Kevin I don't know probably 15 16 years Old thinking about these big problems And then one day I came home I was Watching MTV and there's a show if you Guys remember 16 and Pregnant back in The day and I just remember this Conversation that this guy had with his Girlfriend where he's like you know they Had an unintended pregnancy 16 years old And he's like oh you know my condom Broke or I forgot to use a condom that

One time and it just like dawned on me It was like if there was something Better than condoms for men I think that We would actually be able to reduce the Number of unintended pregnancies and why Is there no male birth control and so I Started thinking about this problem and I actually wrote my essay to get into The University of Virginia on why There's no male birth control out there I've been thinking about this for a While and when I got to UVA I was doing A lot of research in reproductive Health Fast forward four years I'm still on the Path to Med School entrepreneurship was Not my original plan and then I had a Friend that was like hey you should Think about coming up with an idea for a Company for this competition and the First thing that came back to me after Those four years was why is there no Male birth control and so I came up with The idea the original idea for Contra Line that I'm still working on about 9 Years later so Contra line we brought This really from just me being Fascinated with this big Global problem To actually we currently have one of the Only male contraceptives in the world That's in clinical trials today and I Just got to point out that you are Definitely the first founder we've had On the show who was inspired by an MTV Show to launch their company so I

Definitely am obsessed with that but I Am curious because you have done so much Research into this space I know there's Been other companies that kind of Attempted to do this but not many like Why has this been like a forgotten piece Of the reproductive Health conversation Yeah I think that there's two aspects to It there's sort of the scientific aspect To it and then there's the social aspect To it so I'll start with the science Believe It or Not people actually have Been working on male contraceptives Since the female contraceptive pill came Out in 1960 so it's not like this is a Forgotten area of research it's just That the science is really really Difficult with female birth control There is one egg once a month that needs To get stopped With male birth control we're talking About hundreds of millions of sperm that Are produced every heartbeat so getting A drug that is safely going to you know Immobilize or kill those sperm or block The sperm effectively is really really Difficult and so we've been working on This for decades but or we as a society Have been working on this for decades But the science has never really gotten Far enough along where we actually have A safe and effective product then There's also the social aspect of it Which is that like yes big Pharma has

Been working on male birth control but They also never saw it as a big enough Market opportunity versus female birth Control and there's actually been a huge Movement and shift in the tides I would Say in the past like less than 10 years Where you have women that are saying hey Like I don't really want to be using Hormonal birth control as much as I have Been for the past 20 30 years and you Have more men that are saying I do want To have control over my fertility those Are not that wasn't the case and so now I think that there's more interest in This area of research than there was Like in the 1980s or 90s or even the 2000s and so I guess like in building This product because you said the Science hadn't yet caught up with how to I guess do it so as you've done Scientific research what did you Discover that has now allowed you to be Able to create this product that's a Phenomenal question so let's talk Specifically about contal lines research And our product called atom what we're Doing in very simple terms is we're Putting a gel or a biomaterial into the Vast Defence which are a pair of tubes That transport sperm during a vasectomy The vast Defence are literally cut in Half and we're just doing the same thing But inserting a tiny little gel inside So I never had this light bulb moment of

What happens when you put a gel in the Vast difference actually the first time That was ever proposed was 1979 in India And so I knew about this but every Everyone that's tried to do what we call Vast occlusive contraception has failed They've put stuff in the vast difference That has been either toxic like Polyurethane they did that in China and It caused cancer so they're like okay we Can't do that anymore or in India They've been injecting this material Into the vast difference that seems to Be probably permanent not really Reversible people have tried putting Rubber in the vast difference and that Wasn't very effective so you can see People have tried to do this my big idea For Contra line was I was learning about These really cool materials called Hydrogels hydrogels are basically these Water soluble polymers that are very Biocompatible what that means is the Body tolerates them really well and no One's ever thought about putting a Hydrogel in the vast Defence before even Though there's like 15 to 20 different Hydrogels that are FDA proof today for Other applications so I basically had This idea of taking this class of Materials that we know we love is very Safe and effective in the body and Applying it towards the Vass Defence Easier said than done but that's the

High level concept and this gel that we Created can last for years but still be Reversed and that is the sort of Crux of What makes us special and when you say Reversed can you just remove the gel Like when someone decides they want it Removed exactly okay so really we are Like I I know some people don't love When I compare this to the IUD for men But the concept is you want a device That you can implant pretty quickly it Will be very very effective when it's Implanted you don't have to think about It as a patient until you want to get it Removed and then you get it removed in Another procedure that is minimally Invasive quick and then restores the Patient's fertility after they get the Product removed I think some of the Differences between us and an IUD is one Men don't have uteruses so you know the Vast difference is is different than the Uterus so our procedure let me just tell You a little bit about it it's done in In office setting mostly by Urology Olist because urologists are actually The most skilled at doing vasectomy or Vasectomy like procedures and it takes About 10 15 minutes and and it's under Local anesthesia so it's actually Virtually painless the guys awake can do This in under local anesthesia and then They walk out with with a gel and it Starts working pretty soon after we've

Seen within a couple weeks the gel is Already basically 100% effective and I'm Definitely curious with the research you Guys have done what has it been like Taking that research getting these Different findings and then actually Turning it into what became Adam and Starting the trials and things like that Cuz I know we've had some biotech Founders on before and it's always Interesting to hear about how much Science just like dies in the lab even Though there are commercial use cases For it cuz obviously that is such a Difficult process so what has it been Like coming to these discoveries on the Science and then kind of taking it to Where you guys have gotten today yeah From a really high level I mean this Stuff we call Deep Tech and biotech is Kind of a subset of that it just takes a While right so from 2015 when I started The company to around 2018 was us Developing just the polymer formulation Alone like really just chemistry Material characterization optimization From 2018 on it was a lot of Pre-clinical studies so animal trials we Tested this on a variety of different Animal models toxicity testing and then We had to figure out how to manufacture This what's called GMP manufacturing Which is for human use that's where Biotech differs in Hardware you can just

Be like okay we have a prototype now Let's figure out how to manufacture for Biotech you're like not only do we have To manufacture this but it's got to pass All this rigorous testing that the FDA You know employs what we call GMP and Then we found out okay we have this cool Gel it works in animals but then we Don't have really a consistent way of Getting it into the vast eff so we Actually had to develop the first ever Hydrogel delivery device it's like this Sort of gun looking device that Urologist can use it loads the syringes They press a button and it automates the Delivery of the gel into the body the Same way every time we had to develop That from scratch so only after doing All of that and 40 patents later about $20 million raised then could we start Clinical trials and of course all of Those things had to go well too so it Was a long journey about probably six Seven years before we from an idea to Starting a clinical trial no that is Interesting I think that you guys had to Come up with the own application as well Whereas so many cases in biotech there's Like oh well this treatment for this Used this type of application so we're Going to model it after that but with This being something so different you do Have to come up with your own medical Device too yes and on top of that no

One's done this before this is a first And- class product so if you're Developing a stent or like a hip Replacement I can go look at so many Devices that have how they developed it And how they work here we have to learn About the anatomy and physiology and Develop all the models while we're also Developing the product so that is uh That's also really unique and so you're Still in Trials right now right we just Finished our first inum trial so this is Some people call it a phase one we call It a first in human but we actually Implanted 25 patients in Australia with Adam and we just finished that like two Months ago oh that's exciting what Happens next next we are actually Gearing up to start our us trial the big Registration trial to get to FDA That's what we're gearing up for today Is there any reason why you chose Australia to start or is that just yeah I get ask that question a lot so with Medical devices you could do your trials A lot of different places as long as They're done well with under the right Guidance and then you want to make sure That the data we generate rfda in the US Is going to accept that data Australia Is actually a hot B of innovation Especially in reproductive Health Urology so the doctors were the right Fit we've also found for Contra Lin

Specifically that the number one thing That tells us if men are going to be Interested in Adam is what the rate of Ectomies in that country are now even Though Adam is not trying to compete With or take over the vasectomy Market It's sort of similar it's part of the Same equation if men are more likely to Get a vasectomy when they're done having Kids they're more likely to get Adam Before they're done having kids and so Australia actually has one of the Highest rat of ectomy in the world There's just not as much stigma there For this procedure so that was another Reason why we chose to go there it was Easy to recruit patients and let me just Tell you a data point so I mentioned we Have 25 patients for this clinical trial We started recruiting using social media For this trial I mean Facebook Instagram Google we had 1,500 men want to be in This clinical trial that just tells you How many people are interested in this And men are willing to step up and get a Procedure so that can take over Responsibility for birth control that's So interesting I mean it makes sense to Start your first trial somewhere where It definitely seems like people will be More likely to want to participate how Do you think that kind of information or That kind of demand for that first trial Translates to what you're seeing what

You would see in the US per se cuz I Know what you mentioned a little earlier That it definitely seems like in general Men are more interested in finding this Type of solution which definitely Socially anecdotally feels correct but How do you think about that transferral Of demand as you plan like future trials That you guys need to do for the FDA Approval yeah well I think Australia Another reason we chose it I think it is A huge parallel to the United States the Markets and the demand are very similar In the United States there's about half A million bomes per year in the US after Roie Wade was overturned we've seen About a 30% increase in the interest in Vasectomy so men are even more Interested now than they were before but What's interesting is with contra line We're going after a younger population We're going after men who have not even Had any kids so we estimate that in the United States alone there's somewhere Between 13 and 14 million men who would Get Adam and so it's a humongous Market Somewhere between a 10 and 11 billion Opportunity in the United States alone I Think Australia was a great proof of Concept point and I think it will Translate very very well to countries Like us what has it been like Fundraising for this product and talking To investors about it cuz investors are

Always like hit or miss in terms of what They get and what they like and so I Would love to hear kind of your Fundraising Journey on this I think it's Pretty unique to be honest with you Because from Face Value Contra line Looks like a medical device company and There are medical device investors out There there not as many met Tech Investors as like deep Tech or biotech But what's interesting is Contra line Has been able to gather interest from a Wide variety of investors so some of our Bigger investors are Google Ventures Founders fund mbx Capital we've got two Women's Health funds Amboy Street Ventures and Rh capital and then we have Some life science investors like Shang Bay capital myin and folks like that so What you can see is we I think appeal to Investors with longtime Horizons that Are really here for the big vision of Changing society and how we think about Reproduction we've got this grandio Mission this is bigger than any single Product I mean if you think about what The pill did for women in when it came Out in 1960 and how much it gave women Better rights it impacted education Society their ability to go up the Ladder in the workforce I mean Everything control when couples can have Children like that's what Adam I think Could potentially do in the future as we

Move forward in this especially with This political climate so I think we Attract a certain type of investor that Really is here for the long run and Seeing how far cont can go and and Impact the world and that's why we Attract the Google Ventures and Founders Fun of the world and you just mentioned It a couple times and I definitely Wanted to ask you about it but building This product in the current political Climate must be very interesting I know You mentioned people are getting Mor Vasectomies post roovy weight and people Are definitely focusing on reproductive Health what what we're seeing with Abortion and abortion restrictions and Things people are worried some states Will come for birth control after that What has it been like building this Product of course there's always Thoughts and opinions about reproductive Health and the access and things like That prior to what happened with roie Wade a couple of years ago but things Have are very hypercharged now things Are very different how has that affected You guys if at all and how do you think About building this kind of a solution When there are so many thoughts and Opinions about the space that there Weren't when you got started I think as A whole what's happening politically is I would say net positive to Contra line

And companies like us because what People are realizing is like okay there Are people trying to create restrictions On Women's Health right now in different Ways so okay what can we do about it Well I think there are great people out There who are lobbyists and that's what They do well and I think that me I'm an Innovator and so when I think about what Is the impact that I can have well I Think that if we create products that Take some of the burden off of women and Put it on men that could help with this Whole equation that could help with this Whole problem that's going on so we're Seeing that impact in a couple different Ways one we see a lot more men reaching Out to us saying Hey I want to be in Clinical trials you bring this to the us We have a waiting list right now of like 9,000 men in the United States alone who Are ready to get this that by the way Increased dramatically after roie Wade Was overturned we have investors Reaching out to us and saying I want to Put my money behind things that are Going to help women and this will do That like Contra line is a women's Health company and so we see interest From that perspective and then for me Personally I just wanted to move faster I mean I've always been someone that's Trying to you know move as as quickly as I can but like this is the time is now

For us right like and I want to get this Out to the world and I want to help People ASAP this has just been very Motivating for me and my team have you Already run into some backlash from Certain groups of people not as much as You think no and that maybe I shouldn't Say that but I I think really a majority Of people I speak to I think are pro the Idea of male contraception existing and That is a good thing I don't face a lot Lot of backlash so all the backlash Always is about women I fear we already Knew that but good to get that Confirmed and I definitely wanted to ask You I'm curious what is it like Obviously you started running this Company pretty soon after you got out of School and this is obviously a big Problem to tackle you originally grew up Wanting to be a doctor so what has it Been like pursuing this entrepreneurial Career and founding your own company When it was a different path than you Were originally expecting it's the best Decision I've ever made I get to wake up Every day and think about how am I going To create devices new procedures and Drugs because I'm involved in a couple Of really interesting pharmaceutical Projects for doctors and patients one Day so I think I would have been very Happy as a doctor but the impact I could Potentially have and contraline can have

On society might be even greater than Any one doctor could have and I'm not Putting doctors or surgeons down it's Just I feel like the best impact I can Have is by creating new inventions in Medicine and so I don't regret my Decision a single day I get to work with Doctors every single day so I still am Extremely close to Medicine when we were Finishing our trial in Australia I was There watching our procedures happen Thinking about ways we can even improve It so I'm constantly around it it's just My brain is operating in a slightly Different way than if I was the one Doing the procedure as you've been Growing the company and working and Being on this journey Have there been any unexpected Challenges of being a Founder like Everyone knows being a Founder is hard But has there been a situation where you Were like oh I was not expecting that to Happen What have some of the challenges Been I think that doing something Technically hard is just going to take a Lot of time and a lot of technical Challenges along the way and you just Have to expect it be like okay there are Things that we've pursued for a year Where it ended up being like Oh we Shouldn't have done that or like we Shouldn't have put so much time into That and like looking back it feels like

A little bit of a waste of time but it's Okay like you learn so much from those Sort of quote unquote failures I think Funraising is always going to be a Challenge because we don't really fit a Box like I always will have to go and Find new investors every time we hit an Inflection point that are willing to get Behind this Mission that's always going To be challenging I was the first person To ever pitch venture capitalist on new Male contraceptives when I started the Company in 2015 before that it was all Nonprofits and like academic researchers So I'm having to educate the market a Lot there's going to be potentially Regulatory hurdles this is the first Time the FDA is going to prove a new Male contraceptive we don't know what we Don't know so the lesson with being a Founder is this is a marathon definitely Not a Sprint and have backup plans and Be ready for like the unknowns that are Going to come across in the future and I Wanted to ask you one question about the FDA approval process because know sort Of like we talking about a lot of things That you guys are working on these are Just hard like getting FDA approved is Just a hard process kind of no matter What but since you guys are working in This category that people have been Trying to crack the code in for so long And haven't been able to what does that

Process look like for you guys what will It be like to actually eventually go for That FDA approval so specifically for Adam this is because it's a medical Device there is a documented path for Implantable medical devices a lot of It's similar if you're developing a gel For M contraception versus developing a Hip implant you know like the amount of Testing you have to do is very similar So one big thing is like you have to do All this biocompatibility toxicity Testing animal studies and specifically The most important thing is clinical Trials so we're going to have to put This device into hundreds of patients And we're going to have to look at Things like safety and efficacy safety Is going to be like pain infection and Long term safety short-term safety and Then efficacy is like does it work does This thing block sperm potentially we Might have to do a pregnancy study is This thing able to prevent pregnancy Just like you would expect with the Contraceptive so this is not easy stuff The average implantable medical device Cost somewhere between 75 and 90 million To get to the Finish Line you know from Beginning to the finish line so it's a Pretty expensive path but that's what is Ahead of us and then when this gets FDA Proved you that this thing will will Impact the lives of millions and

Millions of people out there and what Does the timeline look like for that Whole process and I know of course it's Always going to vary based on a ton of Factors based on your company as well as Factors outside of your company too but Just to get an idea because we like I Mentioned earlier we don't have a ton of Biotech Founders on so maybe our Listeners aren't super familiar with Like what this kind of timeline looks Like well we believe that we are Somewhere around 3 to four years away From FDA approval so that's 2027 28 is Our sort of really kind of realistic Prediction of when this thing will be on The market oh wow Okay more from this conversation right After a quick Break I wanted to switch gears just a Little bit to talk about you as I guess A Founder a leader and talk a bit about Your team and so how big is your team Right now that you're working with Currently we have 17 employees full-time We've got a beautiful headquarters in Charlottesville Virginia our own lab That we built here and then we also work With a lot of different partners for Anything from manufacturing to Pre-clinical trials and clinical trials And consultants and things like that but 17 full-time employees and when you were Building out this company what is your

First hire is it a doctor or is it some Other job first hire was a biomedical Engineer followed by a polymer scientist So like a chemist basically like PhD Level chemist oh wow that's so Interesting that's so cool oh my gosh How would you describe yourself as a Leader in terms of managing all of these Different types of people and working on This product how would you describe Yourself as a leader I personally think I'm extremely ambitious and sort of like You know the book that talks about I Think it's like Ben hitz's book of like A wartime versus peacetime CEO or Something like that I actually have Really worked to figure out how to be Both and it depends on what occasion I Need to like pull from so there are Times where I'm like getting the team to Really hustle and go as quickly as Possible and I'm a little bit in Wartime Mode and then there's times where I'm Like really really good at just taking a Step back focusing on like what I can be Best at which is usually like Fundraising strategic input and things Like that and let the team do what They're best at so also I wouldn't say I'm consensus driven a little bit but Like I love that our company does still Have the sense of flat organization so We have an executive team there's four Of us I can't remember the last time we

Went forward with something that not all Of us agreed on not saying there has to Be consensus there are times where I I'll be like hey we like at the end of The day let's just pick a path and move Forward but I really like hearing Everyone's opinions and really debating Them and I love when people challenge me I never want to think I'm the smartest Person in the room and then I love just Having diversity of thought diversity of People uh diversity of just ideas coming To the table so we can find the best Path forward I try to hire people that I Really want to be friends with and Collab orate with not saying I have to Be friends outside of work but I want to Enjoy working with people while I'm There wait are you allowed to reveal What the last thing you and all the Executives had a massive disagreement About no I I literally can't think of The last big thing we had a disagreement About I'm sorry I I I can't I would I Would if I could think of it I guess I Chose pretty good Executives that we all Have like we think through all the Options but it's very rare for us to Have a major disagreement what is it Like ing for this company cuz as you Mentioned with like the first employees There's of course a lot of aspects to it There's the actual male contraceptive Part there's the medical device part of

Course there's all the business Operations as you mentioned you guys had To do like marketing to get people Involved in Trials that's obviously a Big piece of these kinds of companies And Innovation what is it especially With you guys only being 17 full-time People when you've been around for Almost 10 years which I mean you've Watched startup hiring we don't need to Tell you that people kind of went a Little crazy over the last few years and Why companies needed thousands of Employees to do things that definitely Didn't need that many people how has it Been like being really intentional about Who to hire and kind of like when to Actually add to the team I love that Question it's something that it's been My viewpoint from day one I never wanted To over hire ever like before I just saw The writing on the wall was like I just Think people are happier like high Performers and I'm talking about for Like a deep tech company High performers Are happier when they've got interesting Stuff to work on how do you give Interesting stuff to work on don't put Them in a little Silo and give them one Specific project so that's how we are Able to hire people that normally would Want to go work for big Pharma like or Big biotech companies because if they Went to go work for big Pharma big

Biotech they' be doing the same Experiment for like two years some Boring experiment and I'm like hey come Here in your first week at cont line You'll learn how to do 10 brand new Experiments and then the next week you Might learn develop five more you know And it's like so we hire amazing people That are hungry and ambitious and then We give them responsibilities that they Probably would never get at bigger Companies and it allows them to grow Faster and I'm really really proud of This I've been working on this like I Said you know we talked about almost Nine years now I have employees who have Been with me now six years I think Almost seven years so that's not also Very typical for a startup and I think That says a lot about our culture and How we can see when people are ready to Grow take that next step learn some new Skills we invest in our people and I Think that's the Bey here so on average We only grow by like two employees a Year maybe it's not a lot but because of That everyone always has a lot to do Thinking about where you guys are now You sort of have the timeline in mind For potential FDA approval thinking back To the fact that you originally got this Idea when you were in high school how do You feel personally about the progress You guys have been able to make and the

Fact that you were able to take that Idea you had so long ago and kind of put It into practice I feel proud I Genuinely do I mean I I it's not Something I think about every day that I'm like I don't think we need to Constantly be patting ourselves on the Back I think we need to be looking Forward and being like what else can we Do how else can we improve this how fast Can we move but yeah there are times Like when I'm doing this interview and I'm getting ask these questions that I'm Like yeah we have come a long way and we Have made strides in in a field that not Many people have been able to so I do Feel proud in that way I know that it's All still kind of early because we have To get to the US first but have you Started planning a European expansion a Little bit yeah a little bit we Europe Australia and us are kind of our three Biggest markets in terms of launching And the question is really who are the Best Partners For Us in sort of those Markets I don't think conine can do it All we may have to figure out like what Is the commercial strategy in each of Those places do we partner with another Company that already has a large Footprint in commercializing Contraceptives or Urology products in UK And Germany and France and Spain and Things like that or you know how are we

Thinking about this so the next few Years are going to be really interesting As we develop our go to market strategy Is it easier or harder to get a medical Device product approved in Europe versus The US it used to be from what I hear it Used to be easier these days for what We're doing like an implantable device It's actually on par with the US in Terms of difficulty so it has increased In difficulty and a similar follow-up Question that I had is you guys are Working on adom product number one but Reproductive health and things that Would fall under that umbrella it's a Huge category are there other products In the future do you anticipate Launching other things are there areas You're interested in that you think Would kind of fit under that Contra line Umbrella how do you think about Expansion once you guys do kind of Eventually get that FDA approval for What you're working on now we see Contra Line like I know we've been talking About male contraception here this whole Time but we really see controline as a Hydrogel company like that is what we're Really good at we're really good at Creating these Innovative new Biomaterials and that's where our IP is As well so when you think about it You're like okay what else can you do With hydrogels like where else can you

Apply these cool materials to and There's really two Paths of research for Us that we're actually already working On the first one is actually more atom Related so we see adom as a platform and The platform is really if you think About iuds the first IUD that ever came Out I think last Ed either three or five Years and now there's like a seven-year One and the copper one's 12 years so With Adam it's like can we create Different formulations or different Versions of adom that can last for Different periods of time and that's the Interesting thing for us is like maybe There's a product that's one to two Years and then the next one's three to Five years and maybe we do another one That's longer or permanent as like an Alternative to vasectomy but we're Continuing to make a lot of Innovations On that product line and then separately Is like okay what other applications to Your question can use the gel for and That's really where we're going to a lot Of potential strategics and saying hey We've got this interesting technology But we are thinking about using this for Things like non-h hormonal female Contraception or other reproductive Health issues that are unsolved and I Can't really talk about right now so That's kind of where we're going after I Will say our theme is like we do not

Want to develop oneoff products like go After industries that already have great Solutions in we want to go after these Big unsolved reproductive health Problems and that's we're willing to Take that risk that others are not Willing to take oh cool well that puts Us right at time so thank you so much For coming on the show Kevin this has Been really interesting thank you for Having Me and that was our conversation with Kevin before we dive into the outro Don What was the LIE the lie was that Harsher abortion laws have I guess Lowered the interest in getting birth Control the truth is that it's actually Increased the want for birth control and Contra line apparently has a wish list Or what like not like a wish list what Is it called like a wait list a wait List 9,000 men apparently have signed up For clinical trials and they've seen an Uptick an investor interest no this is One of the things that stood out to me Throughout this conversation was just How much interest for this there was Because on the one hand I'm not super Surprised especially unplanned Pregnancies of course they do have an Impact on men as well and men would have An interest in preventing those and the Financial and then other type of Implications that come with unplanned

Pregnancy but at the same time men don't Talk about this stuff like ever so it's Like I don't my friends don't talk about This I don't hear people talking about This I don't read about this I don't see It on TV I don't so it's like Interesting to see how much support and Interest they have gotten across the Board yeah cuz I definitely think more Men would be on birth control if they Had the option people make it seem like It's like a woman thing or like we don't Want to get pregnant or we don't want to Do this and I'm like no I'm pretty sure If both people had control over whether Or not to bring a baby into the world There would be more effort on both parts Like it's not like we're not trying to Kill families here like everybody wants To have more control over Family Planning and so I think this is really Cool and I also thought it was super Interesting cuz I know going into it I Think we both were curious like why did Conine do its first clinical trial in Australia and so it was really Interesting that Kevin was saying that How they came to that decision of like Looking at what rate people got Vasectomies in different countries and How it's obviously not a perfect one Toone comparison but CU I remember Reading it I was like Australia that's Random must have something to do with

Like the rules then he was like no like It's the rate of we thought people would Be interested and I was like oh okay Australia is so funny oh my gosh yeah Cuz what did he say that it's not as Stigmatized down there right or Something like that which just goes into Societal differences and yeah I mean I Know Australia was no offense to Australia but kind of a random country Yeah um I don't know what I was Expecting but like Australia was not the First one I expected no me neither but It's interesting to hear that they'll Have it seems like even more potential People interested for the clinical trial When they do launch it here in the US What did you think about the fact that They haven't had too much issue Fundraising it kind of plays back into What said earlier where it seems like Things are going so smoothly and Everyone wants this on both sides of the Table and I'm like I don't doubt it but It just seems a little out of the field I know I wonder if he was a woman if he Would still be getting this amount of Funding for this product in particular I Was just starting to think about that For no reason at all I was just thinking About it but yeah I was actually shocked 24 million is a lot of money and it just Goes to show that everyone is interested In having more control over Family

Planning and it was shocking series A You know that's pretty far along but of Course they need like a bajillion Dollars because they're medical people And scientists and this stuff isn't free So they actually need more money I think They need a lot of money so actually 24 Million is kind of low no I know this is Like biotech flavored and I know he Mentioned it's also kind of like a Medical device company but anything in This area like the quote unquote like Venture standard operating procedures is Just so different like they just have to Raise such a different amount of money And all go public booking early and they All like do these they just on such a Different timeline that it is always Interesting to like check in on that Side should this be a VC backed company I think so I definitely was surprised by Some of the investors that they had Because preo it was always very like That hard line where like biotech Investors invested in biotech and Medical devices and non- biotech Investors invested in everything else They have some like traditional VCS on Their cap table which I thought was Interesting but maybe people are really Just that jazzed about this idea or Really have that conviction it's going To work which I can't say I don't agree With them yeah I'm trying to figure out

What this gel is cuz when I think of gel Like I'm literally thinking like hair Gel but it can't be that type of gel cuz That would dissolve I assume yeah what Do the gel look like no I know I Definitely medical stuff interests me And at the same time I'm always just Like maybe that's none of my business How that works like I feel like I like Don't Know yeah like I don't need to someone Who like is always on Web MD probably The less I know the better in terms of Like medical stuff I don't need to know Actually no I feel like I would just Have more questions the more I found out Which would mean I wouldn't end up with More answers at the end of the day Indeed I have more Questions I will say though it is funny And I know we mentioned this in the Actual show but I just love that the Founding story of this company involves 16 pregnant on MTV a show I watched all The time as a youth probably too young To watch it but definitely did the job Scared me out of anything like that but Like I don't know I feel like you'd get A Founder and they would be like oh I Came up with this great idea when I was In college and I was starting to become A prestigious doctor and he was just Like yeah I got the idea watching Reality TV in high school and I'm just

Like I love the authenticity reality TV Has changed lives and has inspired the Next generation of innovation first of All six impr pregnant stands rise Teen Mom stands Rise MTV was doing the thing Single-handedly teaching us stuff I Don't know um I I know I loved that was A really honest answer and honestly just Makes a lot of sense also the story Makes sense in terms of he's watching 16 And Pregnant and then he gets this idea That was a good show if MTV stops Playing Ridiculousness 23 hours a day Yeah 23 hours a day put back the hits But other than that I mean I cannot wait To see where this goes how far it goes What happens to it what angry Politicians try to get rid of it because Otherwise this would be a really nice Addition to the Family Planning medical Sphere no I agree and I think this will Be one to watch for sure especially as The political landscape around this Stuff continues to be confusing and Depressing overall so like we'll see We'll see how this goes politics and Stuff we cover interact all the time but This one seems a little more closely Aligned than a lot of the areas that I Care about I would say so I'm definitely Curious to see what happens with this Company found is hosted by myself Tech Crunch senior reporter Becca scac Alongside senior reporter Dominic madori

Davis found is produced by Maggie Stamitz with editing by Kell our Illustrator is Bryce Durban founds Audience development in social media is Managed by Morgan little Alysa Stringer And Natalie chman Tech crunch is audio Products are managed by Henry pikovit Thanks for listening and we'll be back Next week [Music]


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