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cat in laboratory with microscope
The Michelson Prize & Grants in Reproductive Biology is a $75M program that exists to incentivize research through prize philanthropy and grant funding to rapidly develop a permanent, single-dose, nonsurgical sterilant for male and female cats and dogs.

Michelson Prize Criteria

The winning entry for the Michelson Prize in Reproductive Biology will have, at minimum, the following characteristics, as defined below.

  • Single-dose, permanent, nonsurgical sterilant
    • Administered in a single patient encounter
    • Must not require general anesthesia
    • May require sedation or local anesthesia
    • Injectable administration is preferred to oral administration
    • Subcutaneous implant is considered nonsurgical for the purpose of the Michelson Prize
    • Must induce permanent sterility for the reproductive lifetime of the species, defined as at least 10 years after administration
    • Will generally require 3 years of data with a trend line with no expectation of recovery of fertility, may require that study extends for additional time
  • Safe and effective in male and female cats and dogs
    • Must be one product for both species and genders, pre- and post-pubertal
    • Must be no more dangerous than surgical gonadectomy
    • Must be safe for the treated animal, environment (including predators), and the person administering the product
    • Efficacy must be ≥ surgical spay/neuter. For the purposes of experimental design, a lower standard of proof may be acceptable.
    • Must not induce clinical abnormalities or pathological lesions at 1X dose in safety studies
    • Must not be carcinogenic, mutagenic, or clastogenic
    • Must not be a “bait” formulation (i.e. administered without handling of treated animals)
  • Ablates sex steroids and/or their effects
    • Must prevent testicular secretion of testosterone in males, or ablate androgen receptors
    • Must prevent ovarian secretion of estradiol and progesterone in females, or ablate their receptors
  • Suitable for administration in a field setting
    • May require refrigeration/cold chain but no frozen storage, water source, or other electricity than refrigeration
    • Must have shelf life of at least two years
    • Must not require sterile environment/surgical theater
  • Viable pathway to regulatory approval
    • As defined by the Food & Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA CVM) as a prescription product in dogs & cats
    • Regulatory approval, including requisite clinical trials, will be sought by Found Animals
  • Reasonable manufacturing process and cost
    • Target is a low cost product to deliver to shelters
    • Must be no greater than $50 cost per dose to deliver labeled, packaged product to Found Animals or other distributor, with <$25/dose preferred when manufactured at commercial scale