Millions awarded in search for nonsurgical sterilant

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Updated October 22, 2020

The search for a nonsurgical sterilant for dogs and cats has been fueled by more than $6 million in research grants since 2008 when a $25 million prize was offered to the first person to successfully develop a method of chemically castrating pets.

cat and kittenIn the three years following the Found Animals Foundation's launch of the Michelson Prize & Grants program, the private nonprofit has received more than 150 letters of intent, and some 50 investigators were asked to submit full grant proposals.

As of August, 15 grants totaling more than $6 million had been awarded to researchers in the United States and around the world, according to Found Animals.

"We are thrilled with the high level of interest we've seen from qualified applicants to date and we are confident that we'll see many more proposals of equal excellence in the future," said Aimee Gilbreath, Found Animals executive director.

"What's even more exciting is that we're seeing proposals based on new technologies, such as nanocontainers and gene silencing, meaning that researchers are applying cutting-edge science to this problem, which was our hope when launching the program," Gilbreath said.

In addition to the $25 million incentive to the first person to successfully develop a nonsurgical method for sterilizing cats and dogs, the Michelson Grants in Reproductive Biology offers up to $50 million in overall funding for promising research in pursuit of nonsurgical sterilization technology. The Foundation seeks proposals for up to $250,000 per year for a maximum three years of funding.

The Michelson Prize & Grants program is named after Found Animals' creator Gary Michelson, a billionaire orthopedic spinal surgeon and philanthropist who wants to see an end to the nation's dog and cat overpopulation crisis.

Research proposals are reviewed by Found Animals' scientific advisory board, which is made up of scientists from a variety of relevant fields, including reproductive biology, immunology, biotechnology, drug development, and animal welfare.

"Through the interest we've seen so far, we're confident this innovative program is moving in the right direction, and we're excited about what's in store with this group of elite researchers," said Dr. Shirley Johnston, director of scientific research for Found Animals, who oversees the Michelson Prize & Grants program.

Learn more about the Michelson Prize and Michelson Grants in Reproductive Biology at, where resources on applying for the prize and grant program are also available.