Akash Bakshi

Akash Bakshi - 2019 Nominee
Position: CEO and Co-founder
Organization: YourChoice Therapeutics
Current Location: United States, North America
Masters in Biotechnology-Molecular Biology from University of Queensland
75 Public Votes Reached!
Akash and his team are working on the next generation of non-hormonal female contraceptives. Capitalizing on discoveries about what makes sperm swim and how to inhibit this action, he is leading an effort to bring better products to women. – Stasia Obremskey, Strategy Director, Contraceptive Technology at Rhia Ventures
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Contraceptive development is a severely underfunded area of drug development. While it seems as though there has been a great deal of innovation in female contraceptive development, new contraceptives are simply novel ways of administering hormones to women, which have a number of adverse long-term side-effects. Technological innovation regarding the mode of action has been missing since the 1960s.

Contraceptive development for men has stagnated even longer! The two options available to men, modern condoms and vasectomies, were developed in the 1800s.

As the CEO of YourChoice Therapeutics, it is my responsibility to continue raising capital in order to develop novel contraceptives that can be used by women and men.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

The passion for family planning sparked when my co-founders, Polina Lishko and Nadja Mannowetz, disclosed their inventions. I was able to better understand their research and became passionate about translating their technology.

Since founding YourChoice, I have interacted with countless women and men who continue to hope for our success, either because they themselves, or their partners, have suffered from side-effects of current contraceptives. This support just continues to drive our team!

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

Driving the development of new contraceptive products is one way in which I have displayed leadership in family planning.

Translating early research is typically quite risky for large pharmaceutical companies. After securing IP rights on our novel targets required for fertilization, I have been able to engage 7 pharmaceutical companies into the development of our non-hormonal unisex contraceptive. Their support will help derisk the development of next-generation contraceptives.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

In order to usher in a new generation of family planning leaders, it is important to have new tools. By being selected as a winner of 120 under 40, we can highlight the need of new contraceptive options! By creating non-hormonal contraceptive options available we can eliminate side-effects like breast and cervical cancer, blood clots, or mood swings, and improve the health and well-being of families across the world!

The $1000 grant would go towards running IND-enabling studies.

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