A biochemist from Arizona State University believes that his newly developed material could eventually put a vastly improved condom on drug store shelves.
Shengxi Chen was one of 11 applicants to receive a grant for a "Next Generation Condom" from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2014.
The foundation challenged scientists to develop a condom that "that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure" in order to encourage more men to use them, thereby preventing the spread of disease.
Chen said that the material he developed is far more hydrophilic — or water-loving — than conventional latex condoms, and therefore more closely mimics the feel of human skin.
He also said that testing showed the material to be considerably stronger than latex condoms.
Chen has patented the material and formed a company called Joys LLC. He hopes to secure additional funding from grants or investors before increasing production and conducting tests required by the Food and Drug Administration.
“It’s better than the other condoms, and we don’t want this to just stay in the lab," Chen said.