New pill 'can increase chances of pregnancy'

By John Mercury July 9, 2024

A pill for couples struggling to conceive with IVF treatment has been found to increase the chances of pregnancy, scientists say.

Researchers said initial trials of the drug – known as OXO-001 and created by Spanish biotech company Oxolife – showed “promising” results.

It acts directly on the inner lining of the womb to improve the embryo implantation process during fertility treatment.

Around 96 infertile women who were aged 40 or under and were receiving fertility treatment – either IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with donor eggs – at 28 centres across Europe took part in the new study, between September 2021 and January 2023.

They were either given a placebo or OXO-001 – taken twice daily, one menstrual cycle before the embryo transfer and five weeks after.

Researchers found “ongoing pregnancy rates” measured 10 weeks after embryo transfer were 46.3% for patients treated with OXO-001 – compared with 35.7% for those given a placebo.

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This is a “clinically significant finding”, they said, presenting their study to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s (ESHRE) 40th annual meeting in Amsterdam.

They said there was also a clinically meaningful increase in the number of women who went on to have a live birth.

The live birth rate was 42.6% for women who took the new pill compared with 35.7% among those who took the placebo, according to the study – also being published in the journal Human Reproduction.

Women in both groups suffered similar side-effects including headaches, nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal issues and dizziness – most of which were mild to moderate.

The drug had already gone through safety checks in early studies – known as pre-clinical trials.

It is now to be tested on a larger group of women, including those who are using their own eggs.

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Oxolife chief executive Dr Agnes Arbat said: “Most rounds of IVF or ICSI still end in failure – many because a viable embryo does not implant.

“A simple-to-take pill that materially improves the chance of success would therefore be of huge benefit to those who want a baby. This proof-of-concept phase two study shows that hope is now a step closer.”

She added: “This study was purposefully designed to include only women who used donor eggs so it could single out the true effect of OXO-001 on the endometrium.

“However, we believe OXO-001 has the potential to work equally well in those using their own eggs, and we are already planning a pivotal phase three clinical trial in this more extensive group to support product registration.”


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