Connect with us


Biotech start-up raises US$33m to develop new fertility treatments

The financing will support the clinical development of Gameto’s novel investigational in vitro maturation (IVM) solution in the US



Dr Dina Radenkovic, co-founder and chief executive officer of Gameto

The US biotech start-up Gameto has raised US$33m in Series B funding to advance the development and commercialisation of new fertility treatments.

Gameto works towards developing a product suite to support women in need of fertility treatment.

The company’s lead programme, Fertilo, aims to make IVF and egg freezing shorter, safer and more accessible through reduced hormonal injections by maturing eggs outside of the body.

This latest funding, led by Two Sigma Ventures with RA Capital and participation from existing investors, brings Gameto’s total capital raised to US$73m. The financing is hoped to support the clinical development of Fertilo in the US.

Following productive discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Gameto received tentative approval to proceed to Phase 3 trials, subject to the completion of certain assay and manufacturing requirements.

The funding will also support the commercial launches of Fertilo in Australia and Latin America where the solution is already being used.

“I am proud of the strong scientific foundation, driven and high performing team, innovative pipeline and encouraging data that we have cultivated at Gameto, and I am incredibly excited to amplify and build upon this momentum with the addition of leading investors with extensive expertise in reproductive medicine,” said Dr Dina Radenkovic, co-founder and CEO of Gameto.

“These funds will support our late stage clinical development in the US, post-market surveillance outside the US and the creation of a commercial operations function.

“We are honoured to have added the teams at Two Sigma, RA Capital, and others to our stellar investor base, and we’re pleased to see increased investor confidence in our platform technology and a recognition of the pressing need for modern treatments in the historically underfunded women’s health space, despite a challenging market.

“I believe that each small step we take in investing in women’s health can lead to a giant leap in medical breakthroughs and innovation.”

Dusan Perovic, partner at Two Sigma Ventures, said: “Gameto’s pioneering approach to IVF has the potential to impact families and societies on a global scale.

“In addition to making treatments much easier and more accessible for women, Gameto’s advanced IVF/egg-freezing solution addresses a massive societal need as we’re living longer and looking to start families later in life while facing rising female and male infertility rates.

“There’s also a growing demand for IVF from a broader group of people, such as those with certain genetic disorders now discoverable by carrier screening, and single and same-sex parents starting families, to name a few.

“By harnessing cutting-edge breakthroughs in genetic sequencing and cellular engineering – tools that didn’t exist until recently – Gameto is poised to upend traditional IVF treatments to make them more accessible, convenient, and faster for anyone to start a family.”

Laura Stoppel, principal at RA Capital Management, shared: “It’s astounding how little innovation has gone into improving IVF over the past 45 years.

“Gameto is a pioneer in the women’s health industry, and we believe Fertilo represents a much-needed option for women as they navigate their fertility journey.”

Peter Kolchinsky, managing partner of RA Capital Management, added: “This investment is among the most personal any investor can make.

“Many at our firm have been blessed by what IVF makes possible, and know the ordeal that women tolerate at the outset of that journey just to conceive.

“To contemplate the importance of easing that burden, of expanding the freedom of many to have children when they are ready, it’s hard to overestimate the potential impact of such an advance on humanity, for all of our society, for the rest of time.”

To receive the Femtech World newsletter, sign up here.


‘Groundbreaking’ endometriosis study identifies patient priorities



A “groundbreaking” study into endometriosis has identified three areas for future research that can help improve the outcomes for women with the condition.

The study, commissioned by Endometriosis New Zealand, attracted 1,262 participants, including 1,024 people with confirmed endometriosis, making it the largest ever study involving endometriosis patients and supporters in New Zealand.

Study participants identified the management and treatment of endometriosis, the need for a better understanding of its cause and improvements to diagnostic capability as the three main priorities for further research.

While these findings provide a clear pathway for future work, Endometriosis New Zealand chief executive, Tanya Cooke, said endometriosis research had historically been underfunded.

“With an estimated 120,000 New Zealanders living with endometriosis, much more needs to be invested into finding solutions,” Cooke explained.

“The reality is the outcomes for many endometriosis patients are pretty poor, with diagnosis often taking many years and treatment patchy across the country.”

Estimates based on Australian data suggest that endometriosis is likely to be costing New Zealand somewhere in the range of $1.3-1.5bn annually through increased healthcare costs and lost workforce productivity.

Cooke said: “The good news is that our findings align closely with those in Australia and provide three clear priorities for future research – improved treatment options, causation and better diagnostic capability.

“What New Zealand now requires is proper funding for a future research programme that can investigate these priorities more closely and improve the outcomes for individuals living with endometriosis.”

To receive the Femtech World newsletter, sign up here.

Continue Reading


Virtual care platform secures US$46m to address US maternal health crisis

Pomelo Care will use the funding to scale its care model and improve maternal and infant outcomes



Marta Bralic Kerns, founder and CEO of Pomelo Care

The US virtual maternity care platform Pomelo Care has secured US$46m in funding to address the US maternal health crisis.

One in 10 babies born in the US today start their life in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Healthcare access continues to worsen, with one in eight births occurring in US counties with limited-to-no access to maternal care. Due to significant gaps in postpartum care, about half of pregnancy-related deaths in the US occur after hospital discharge.

The evidence exists for how to identify people at highest risk for complications and which interventions are most effective, but existing data gaps and provider capacity challenges make it difficult to apply these interventions at scale.

Pomelo has developed a care model that aims to address these challenges by analysing claims and health record data to identify individual risk factors and providing virtual pregnancy, postpartum, and infant care to patients to reduce those risks.

“We’ve long known what works to reduce maternal and infant complications,” said Marta Bralic Kerns, founder and CEO of Pomelo Care.

“The questions have always been: can you identify the patients who are at highest risk, can you deeply engage them in care to drive uptake of the prevention strategies we know work, and can you do it in the highest risk populations with the most limited access to care?”

“This data demonstrates that we absolutely can. And with this additional funding, we’ll have the opportunity to scale our care model to more pregnant people across the country.”

The funding, led by existing investors First Round Capital and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) Bio + Health, is hoped to help Pomelo accelerate its partnerships with payors across the US and increase access to “evidence-based” care.

Josh Kopelman, partner at First Round Capital and Pomelo board member, said: “It’s rare to come across an opportunity where the incentives between patient, provider and payor are all aligned.

“Marta and the Pomelo team have found an incredible opportunity to dramatically improve outcomes for the highest risk populations, while helping payors reduce their avoidable costs.”

Vineeta Agarwala, general partner at a16z Bio + Health and Pomelo board member, added: “Pomelo is one among a small set of health tech companies that have earned true scale.

“This scale is evident in our partnerships with major Medicaid and commercial plans covering over three million lives, which create the opportunity to collaborate with OB providers, labour and delivery wards, and NICUs nationwide, while serving hundreds of thousands of expecting mothers and newborns with high quality, technology-enabled care.”

To receive the Femtech World newsletter, sign up here.

Continue Reading


One in three UK fertility patients seek treatment abroad due to high costs

Expensive fertility treatments prompt UK patients to seek help abroad



One in three fertility patients in the UK seek treatment abroad due to high costs, a new survey has shown.

Fertility Family has gathered insights from 429 UK participants who have experienced difficulties with infertility.

The Infertility Awareness Report found that the high cost of fertility treatment in the UK has driven over one in four people to spend over £10,000 on both treatments and investigative procedures.

The research showed around 35 per cent of people struggling with infertility have considered seeking fertility treatment abroad due to the prospect of lower costs.

Of those seeking fertility treatment in a foreign country, however, only 14 per cent believed that clinics abroad have a higher success rate.

Of those actively trying to conceive almost one in five have used their life savings in the pursuit of having a child, whilst 25 per cent have paid for their fertility treatments using a credit card.

Dr Gill Lockwood, consultant at Fertility Family, said: “While we tend to cast our gaze on women when it comes to infertility, case studies have shown that infertility can impact both women and men in similar ways. However, women have been observed to seek help more than men.

“Although the psychological struggles of infertility can be overwhelming, many patients ultimately reach some type of resolution. Some of the alternatives include becoming parents to a relative’s children, adopting children, or deciding to adopt a child-free lifestyle.

“Needless to say, this resolution is usually psychologically demanding, and patients may feel forever impacted by the experience of infertility.”

A combination of fertility struggles and accessible healthcare have impacted people across the UK significantly, with one in two admitting to feeling “ashamed” due to their difficulties trying to conceive.

A further 31 per cent reported feeling that other people think “less” of them due to their fertility struggles, showcasing the need for better mental health support.

To receive the Femtech World newsletter, sign up here.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2023 Aspect Publishing Ltd. All Rights Reserved.