Licensing status

Publication and contact information

Endocrine/metabolic disease

Contraception; infertility

Folate receptor 4δ (FOLR4)

Cell culture and mouse studies suggest FOLR4-targeting compounds could be useful as fertility treatments or contraceptives. A screen using epithelial cells that express mouse oocyte genes identified Folr4 as a surface receptor for izumo sperm-egg fusion (Izumo1), a protein shown to maintain fertility in male mice. In in vitro fertilization assays, anti-Folr4 antibodies blocked fertilization. Folr4-deficient female mice were infertile despite normal growth and natural mating behavior. Next steps include exploring the role of IZUMO1 and FOLR4 in human fertilization and looking for a commercial partner.

SciBX 7(19); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.559
Published online May 15, 2014

Patent application filed; available for licensing from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Contact: Ross Rounsevell, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, U.K.

Bianchi, E. et al. Nature; published online April 16, 2014;
Contact: Gavin J. Wright, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, U.K.