From June 24-25, 2024 in Rockville, Maryland the MPT Summit will bring together experts from stages of the MPT pathway and serve as a forum to discuss emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities in the field. 

The meeting is sponsored by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the NIH and will occur at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Fishers Lane Conference Center. This Summit aligns with the priority of the recent Executive Order to advance research in contraception (EO 14101 – Strengthening Access to Affordable, High-Quality Contraception and Family Planning Services), the NIH Strategic Plan for HIV and HIV-Related Research, and the importance of multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) mentioned throughout the HHS STI National Strategic Plan 2021-2025.

Registration is free and open through June 13th. In-person registration is capped at 175 attendees. No limit on virtual attendees.

Meet Our Speakers

Day 1 | June 24, 2024

Opening: Welcome, introductions, and setting the stage

Leigh Allen, Ph.D., became a program officer with CRB in 2022. Prior to joining NICHD, Dr. Allen spent 6 years at the University of Minnesota in the College of Pharmacy’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry. She was the research program manager for a portfolio of more than 15 different contraception-related projects and the administrative core of a Contraception Development Research Center grant (U54/P50). She managed the submission of more than $125 million in grants and contracts and administered the pre- and post-award grants. She also served on an executive committee of university governance and handled the operations of a 130-person academic department and its affiliated Institute for Therapeutics Discovery & Development.

Dr. Allen earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from Duke University, where she was a trainee in their T32-funded pharmacological sciences training program. She performed postdoctoral studies in structural biology at both Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute in Buffalo, New York, and North Carolina State University.

Dr. Jim A. Turpin, Ph.D. is president and owner of TurHow Consulting Group, LLC. Previously (2003-2021) he was a NIH Program Officer and in 2021 Chief of the Preclinical Microbicides and Prevention Research Branch and Deputy Director of the Prevention Sciences Branch in the Division of AIDS at NIAID/NIH. His scientific expertise is in immunology, inflammation and HIV virology. For the last 20 years he has specialized in HIV prevention and drug development with a recent focus on development of long-acting HIV antivirals and Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPT).

Session 1: Addressing the similar needs and desire for MPTs among end users in the US and globally

Dr. Young Holt is the Founder and Executive Director of CAMI Health, an organization dedicated to advancing the health of women and girls worldwide. She is also the Co-Founder and Director of the Initiative for MPTs (IMPT), and a Principal Investigator (PI) at the Public Health Institute.

Dr. Young Holt has over 25 years of experience working on health prevention programs and research projects in the United States, Africa, and South Pacific. Her research expertise includes mixed-methods study design, data collection, and data analysis. She has collaborated with multidisciplinary teams of researchers, including clinicians, product developers, socio-behavioral and market researchers, funders, advocates, and community groups to build and advance the field of multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) – an innovative class of products that deliver varied combinations of HIV prevention, other STI prevention, and contraception.

Bridgette Picou, LVN, ACLPN, is a licensed vocational and certified AIDS Care Nurse in Palm Springs, California. She works for The Well Project as stakeholder liaison, representing the interests of women living with and affected by HIV in medical, research, policy and advocacy spaces. Bridgette is a director at large for ANAC (the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care), and a member of the board of directors for HIV & Aging Research Project-Palm Springs (HARP-PS). Sitting at the intersections of being Black, a woman, and living with HIV, her goal is to remind people that there are lives being lived behind a three-or four-letter acronym.

Session 2: Current MPT product development

Dr. Joseph Romano is President of NWJ Group, LLC, a biotechnology and pharmaceutical consulting firm that focuses primarily on non-profit and academic support for drug, device and diagnostic development. He consults to multiple organizations involved in HIV prevention product development. As Scientific Advisor, Dr. Romano supports CAMI Health’s capacity to provide central leadership as the IMPT Secretariat, including the planning and implementation of activities related to funder collaboration; refining the IMPT strategic plan to ensure scientific coordination across the MPT field; and support of other scientific, technological and development issues related to the MPT field. Prior to his role at NWJ Group, LLC, Dr. Romano was Chief of Product Development at IPM, and was responsible for the product research and development activity there for microbicides.

Dr. Romano’s training is primarily in molecular virology and immunology, and he received a BS in biology from Lehigh University, and MS and PhD degrees in microbiology from Rutgers University. Dr. Romano has published widely and he regularly presents at international scientific conferences. He is listed as the inventor on multiple patents.

Dr. Jim A. Turpin, Ph.D. is president and owner of TurHow Consulting Group, LLC. Previously (2003-2021) he was a NIH Program Officer and in 2021 Chief of the Preclinical Microbicides and Prevention Research Branch and Deputy Director of the Prevention Sciences Branch in the Division of AIDS at NIAID/NIH. His scientific expertise is in immunology, inflammation and HIV virology. For the last 20 years he has specialized in HIV prevention and drug development with a recent focus on development of long-acting HIV antivirals and Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPT).

Daniel S. Johnston earned his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and conducted postdoctoral studies at Washington State University. He spent almost 10 years at the pharmaceutical company Wyeth/Pfizer, where he led projects focused on early stage drug discovery for contraception and developed translational research expertise in the therapeutic areas of women’s health and oncology. Between 2010 and 2016, Daniel worked as Vice President of Pharmaceutical Research for Delcath Systems and as Director of Preclinical Research and Development at Cellphire, Inc. In 2016, Daniel moved to the NICHD, where he is chief of the Contraception Research Branch.

Marc M. Baum, Ph.D.: Marc is President, Senior Faculty, and Founder of the nonprofit organization, Oak Crest Institute of Science, an innovative chemistry and biology research and education center in Monrovia, CA. He earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Imperial College, London, UK. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the development of parenteral, sustained release drug delivery systems for HIV PrEP, including injectable, implantable, and topical strategies. His principal research interests include: development of innovative and practical long-acting biomedical technologies to combat infectious diseases; pharmacology of antimicrobial agents; drug discovery of novel antimicrobial peptides and peptide-drug conjugates; and microbial dynamics in specialized niches.

Dr. Rohan is a Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy.  She also holds appointments in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences in the School of Medicine and the Clinical Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh.  Additionally, she is an Investigator at the Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI).  She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Mucosal Immunology.  With over 35 years of experience in pharmaceutical product development, including several years in the pharmaceutical industry, her current research focuses on the areas of women’s health, infectious diseases, and global health needs. Her laboratory is dedicated to “transforming global and women’s health through pharmaceutical innovation,” and her team has successfully developed over 50 pharmaceutical products, with 13 of them translated from the bench to the clinic.  She is also a co-founder of PDS Biotechnology, an immunotherapy company that focuses on cancer and infectious disease. In addition to her research, she is passionate about mentoring and has trained over 100 trainees. 

Teri Senn has served as a Scientific Program Officer and Program Chief of the Psychosocial Comorbidities of HIV Prevention and Treatment Program in the Division of AIDS Research at the National Institute of Mental Health since 2017, where she coordinates Division activities focused on understanding and addressing psychosocial factors such as mental health, violence, and trauma, that may interfere with optimal HIV prevention and treatment outcomes. In addition, her portfolio includes work focused on behavioral HIV prevention and treatment interventions for women, including multipurpose prevention technologies. She works closely with colleagues at other Institutes to advance the integration of behavioral science into early HIV product development.

Prior to joining NIMH, Dr. Senn spent over a decade in academia, where she developed a program of funded research focused on addressing the intersection of violence and HIV.

Alexandra Minnis, PhD MPH, is a social epidemiologist who has spent the past 25 years conducting research on the prevention of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa with a core focus on adolescents and women. Much of her work is designed to understand and address social and structural factors that affect the adoption and use of biomedical prevention. She is the director of the Women’s Global Health Imperative, a program of RTI International where she has worked since 2008.  She has conducted multiple end-user research studies to inform biomedical prevention for HIV and dual prevention for HIV and pregnancy and is currently is a co-chair within the Design to Delivery Activity Hub of the USAID MATRIX project designed to advance the research and development of innovative HIV prevention products for women in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Tolley is a Senior Scientist in the Global Health and Population Research Department of FHI 360. Betsy and her team apply design thinking approaches and a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods to obtain end-user feedback on sexual and reproductive health technologies across the critical path of product development.

Ariane van der Straten PhD, MPH holds a PhD in Molecular Biology, and a MPH in International Health. She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, and an independent investigator and consultant through ASTRA Consulting, Kensington, CA. Currently she serves as the chair of the Socio-Behavioral and Structural Working Group (SBSWG) for the HPTN and is part of the Prime team for MATRIX, a USAID-funded R&D collaborative project for developing new HIV prevention products and Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs) in cis-gender women.

Session 3: Experiences from other fields to help address MPT roadblocks

Anke Hemmerling

Dr. Hemmerling is a researcher at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, focusing on the prevention of HIV and bacterial vaginosis in women. She also serves as faculty at UCSF and at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, where she directs the Interdisciplinary MPH Program. Dr. Hemmerling also serves as scientific advisor to CAMI Health and the Initiative for Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (IMPT).

Scott Knackstedt, MBA, MPhil, is a Senior Commercialization Officer for PATH, a global health non-profit headquartered in Seattle. Helping to improve health equity by developing and advancing affordable, life-saving innovations, Scott supports the Medical Devices and Health Technologies program with a primary focus on formulation and delivery-related products. His recent project work has included characterizing costs associated with mRNA vaccine production, reducing barriers in medical oxygen access, developing a novel dual-chambered injection device, and supporting WHO efforts to improve polyvalent antivenoms and their manufacture to confront the global burden of snakebite envenomation.

Richard Hughes IV, JD, MPH is a partner at Epstein, Becker & Green and a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School. His practice and teaching focus on access strategies for vaccines and other clinical preventive interventions.

Professor Hughes was formerly vice president of public policy at Moderna, guiding the company’s policy strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic. He held previous roles with Avalere Health, where he founded and led the firm’s vaccines group, Merck and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and as a gubernatorial appointee to the Arkansas State Board of Health.

Professor Hughes received his Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School and his Master of Public Health from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Day 2 | June 25, 2024

Opening: Welcome and opening remarks

Leigh Allen, Ph.D., became a program officer with CRB in 2022. Prior to joining NICHD, Dr. Allen spent 6 years at the University of Minnesota in the College of Pharmacy’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry. She was the research program manager for a portfolio of more than 15 different contraception-related projects and the administrative core of a Contraception Development Research Center grant (U54/P50). She managed the submission of more than $125 million in grants and contracts and administered the pre- and post-award grants. She also served on an executive committee of university governance and handled the operations of a 130-person academic department and its affiliated Institute for Therapeutics Discovery & Development.

Dr. Allen earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from Duke University, where she was a trainee in their T32-funded pharmacological sciences training program. She performed postdoctoral studies in structural biology at both Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute in Buffalo, New York, and North Carolina State University.

Session 4: Regulatory considerations and risks for MPT product candidates

Dr. Joseph Romano is President of NWJ Group, LLC, a biotechnology and pharmaceutical consulting firm that focuses primarily on non-profit and academic support for drug, device and diagnostic development. He consults to multiple organizations involved in HIV prevention product development. As Scientific Advisor, Dr. Romano supports CAMI Health’s capacity to provide central leadership as the IMPT Secretariat, including the planning and implementation of activities related to funder collaboration; refining the IMPT strategic plan to ensure scientific coordination across the MPT field; and support of other scientific, technological and development issues related to the MPT field. Prior to his role at NWJ Group, LLC, Dr. Romano was Chief of Product Development at IPM, and was responsible for the product research and development activity there for microbicides.

Dr. Romano’s training is primarily in molecular virology and immunology, and he received a BS in biology from Lehigh University, and MS and PhD degrees in microbiology from Rutgers University. Dr. Romano has published widely and he regularly presents at international scientific conferences. He is listed as the inventor on multiple patents.

Dr. Deal is Chief of NIAID’s Enteric and Sexually Transmitted Infections Branch (ESTIB), which is responsible for basic research through product development and clinical trials for Sexually Transmitted and Reproductive Tract infections and syndromes. Prior to joining NIAID, Dr. Deal was at the Food and Drug Administration in the Office of Vaccines Research and Review,
Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. She is a microbiologist who received her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois.

Bríd Devlin, Ph.D. joined the Population Council in 2022 as Chief Scientific Officer overseeing the Product Development team.  In this role, Dr. Devlin is responsible for formulation and analytical development, manufacturing, project management and supply chain of contraceptive and STI prevention products. Prior to joining the Population Council, Dr. Devlin worked at International Partnership for Microbicides for 12 years overseeing the development of HIV prevention and contraceptive products. Dr. Devlin also worked at Sanofi-Aventis for seven years serving as assistant director and group leader of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department. In these roles, Dr. Devlin directed formulation development of therapeutic compounds for global markets. Dr. Devlin has also worked as research group leader at Biosyn and research associate at McNeil Consumer Healthcare.  Dr. Devlin received her BS in Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

Kevin Whaley is the CEO of Mapp Biopharmaceutical and ZabBio (San Diego, CA). The development of therapeutic and prophylactic antibody-based technology for contraception and for major infectious pathogens (e.g. HIV, HSV, Ebola, Marburg, Nipah) has been a primary focus for over 30 years. He is Co-PI of the BU/CRCs that have clinically evaluated components of an antibody-based MPT: (a) MB66, topical antibodies against HIV and HSV in film, was safe in a Phase 1 trial; (b) the human contraceptive antibody ZB-06 in film was effective in a Phase 1 surrogate efficacy study.

Session 5:  Making the value case for MPTs to achieve public health equity

Dr Paul Barnsley is a health economist working at Policy Cures Research, where his research focuses on R&D funding for neglected and emerging infectious diseases and valuing health interventions. After graduating with his PhD in Economics from the University of Sydney, Paul spent time with the Office of Health Economics in London, where he contributed to the redesign of the UK’s system of health technology assessment, and the Royal Lifesaving Society of Australia, where he focused on public health interventions to prevent drowning.

Policy Cures Research is the global health research and policy organisation responsible for the annual G-FINDER survey of R&D funding for neglected disease, emerging infectious disease and sexual & reproductive health.

Gabriela Gomez is an infectious disease epidemiologist with over fifteen years’ experience supporting the introduction of and access to prevention and therapeutic technologies in low- and middle-income countries.

Her research has focused on the integration of economic theory into infectious disease modelling to advance policy in TB and HIV. After working for Sanofi as Decision Science Expert, she joined IAVI as a Senior Director Global Access and holds an honorary position at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as an Associate Professor of economics in infectious diseases. Currently, her work aims to inform product development and facilitate the accelerated introduction and access to new technologies such as TB vaccines, monoclonal antibodies for HIV prevention, and vaccines for emerging infectious diseases. 

Session 6: Looking forward to ongoing MPT engagement 

Everyday Dr. Barreto dedicates her work to advancing women’s health innovation by equipping key stakeholders with data-driven insights and strategic advice on the femhealth market. She received her doctorate from Baylor College of Medicine in Molecular and Human Genetics. As a serial entrepreneur, she is most known for Pheramor, the world’s first DNA-based dating app. Her time in venture capital included senior venture associate at Capital Factory and co-founding Coyote Ventures. Today she hosts the FemTech Focus podcast, is a FemTech Forbes contributor, and founded FemHealth Insights a boutique consulting firm with market research software specializing in women’s health innovation.

Closing: Summary and Future Directions

Leigh Allen, Ph.D., became a program officer with CRB in 2022. Prior to joining NICHD, Dr. Allen spent 6 years at the University of Minnesota in the College of Pharmacy’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry. She was the research program manager for a portfolio of more than 15 different contraception-related projects and the administrative core of a Contraception Development Research Center grant (U54/P50). She managed the submission of more than $125 million in grants and contracts and administered the pre- and post-award grants. She also served on an executive committee of university governance and handled the operations of a 130-person academic department and its affiliated Institute for Therapeutics Discovery & Development.

Dr. Allen earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from Duke University, where she was a trainee in their T32-funded pharmacological sciences training program. She performed postdoctoral studies in structural biology at both Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute in Buffalo, New York, and North Carolina State University. Her primary focus was the study of the mechanisms underpinning antibiotic resistance and bacterial biofilms, solving the structure of several enzymes involved in various key bacterial pathways, synthesizing substrates, and developing novel biochemical assays. During this time, she also was a contract scientific editor for journal articles covering nearly all fields of science.

Dr. Young Holt is the Founder and Executive Director of CAMI Health, an organization dedicated to advancing the health of women and girls worldwide. She is also the Co-Founder and Director of the Initiative for MPTs (IMPT), and a Principal Investigator (PI) at the Public Health Institute.

Dr. Young Holt has over 25 years of experience working on health prevention programs and research projects in the United States, Africa, and South Pacific. Her research expertise includes mixed-methods study design, data collection, and data analysis. She has collaborated with multidisciplinary teams of researchers, including clinicians, product developers, socio-behavioral and market researchers, funders, advocates, and community groups to build and advance the field of multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) – an innovative class of products that deliver varied combinations of HIV prevention, other STI prevention, and contraception.