Connect with us

News

California start-up bags US$4.6m grant from the Gates Foundation to study preeclampsia

Mirvie aims to help women and their doctors intervene before unexpected pregnancy complications happen

Published

on

California pregnancy care platform Mirvie has received a US$4.6m grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study preeclampsia in Sub-Saharn Africa.

The funding, Mirvie says, will help launch study sites in Cameroon, Ghana and Zambia to understand preeclampsia among pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries using the company’s RNA platform via a blood test.

The platform combines analysis of tens of thousands of RNA messages from the baby, the placenta and the mum, with machine learning, detecting up to 75 per cent of those who will go on to develop preeclampsia.

Maneesh Jain, co-founder and CEO of Mirvie, said: “We’re thrilled to have the support of the foundation as Mirvie works to predict and prevent pregnancy complications, allowing providers and patients to intervene before they become a crisis.

“We’re excited to work with leading maternal-foetal health researchers, Drs Alan Tita and Methodius Tuuli, to bring pregnancy health to the 21st century.”

He added: “The last year has brought meaningful forward progress for Mirvie, including receiving FDA Breakthrough Device Designation, one of only four recipients ever in the obstetrics space.

“We’re looking forward to building on the company’s strong momentum with this latest milestone.”

Preeclampsia disproportionately impacts mothers and infants in developing countries, affecting 10 million women globally, and being a leading cause of maternal death in this population.

Mirvie aims to fill this need by providing women, expecting parents and their doctors with an early detection window to reveal the “underlying biology” of each pregnancy and intervene before unexpected pregnancy complications happen.

Dr Tita, Mary Heersink Endowed chair of global health, director of the Mary Heersink Institute of Global Health, said: “Diversity and inclusion in maternal health research, especially at a global scale, is critical if we want to create meaningful progress and interventions to curb maternal mortality.

“We look forward to working with Mirvie on this research to potentially fill an unmet need and create healthier futures for women and their babies.”

Dr Tuuli, Chace-Joukowsky professor and chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and co-lead researcher for the study, added: “I hope that this research will underscore how state-of-the-art innovation in pregnancy health can contribute to the global good and unleash personalised medicine for maternal health in a way we have yet to see.”

Mirvie says the research funded with this grant builds upon the company’s commitment to inclusive, “evidence-based” pregnancy health research through the Mirvie Research Collaborative.

The initiative is currently enrolling at least 10,000 pregnant individuals from highly diverse populations across the US to create the largest biobank of pregnancy transcriptomes.

News

Start-up launches London Underground campaign to break down period stigma

The two-week campaign seeks to challenge societal taboos surrounding menstrual health

Published

on

The Irish women’s health start-up Riley has launched an ad campaign on the London Underground to “take the fear out of periods”.

Riley, an eco-friendly period product subscription service, aims to take action against period poverty and democratise access to period products.

The company seeks to encourage the introduction of menstrual health policies and foster a workplace where discussions around periods are normalised.

Its two-week London Underground campaign, which coincides with the opening of its first office in London, is hoped to help destigmatise periods and normalise conversations around menstrual health.

“The idea behind this campaign comes from the fact that free period care in the office is often seen as an employee perk or a ‘nice to have’, when it should actually be an essential offering in every office,” Meaghan Droney, eCommerce manager at Riley, told Femtech World.

“Our aim with this campaign is to flip those current mindsets and get people to change their attitudes towards period care in the workplace.

“With 79 per cent of menstruators feeling unsupported in relation to their periods at work, this oversight is clearly fundamentally unfair and it’s time for change.

“We’re encouraging any and all businesses to get in touch with us so we can support them in introducing menstrual policies and free period care in their workplace to empower all employees, no matter their gender, to thrive and feel valued at work.”

Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that only 12 per cent of UK companies provide support for menstruation and menstrual health, despite 85 per cent of women experiencing stress or anxiety when managing their period at work.

Data suggests that half of the women who take absence because of their menstrual cycle feel unable to tell their manager, underscoring the deep-rooted stigma around periods.

Fiona Parfrey, co-founder of Riley, said: “Access to safe and high-quality sustainable period care products not only demonstrates a commitment to employee welfare but also fosters a culture of empathy, equality, and respect, ultimately contributing to a more engaged and empowered workforce.

“Menstrual policies and free period care are a fundamental necessity for every individual in the workplace. It’s about ensuring that employees have the resources they need to maintain their wellbeing and productivity without interruption.”

To receive the Femtech World newsletter, sign up here.

Continue Reading

News

Singapore-based fertility centre sets up grant for couples struggling to conceive

This grant aims to support eligible Singaporean couples facing financial and family planning challenges

Published

on

A Singapore-based fertility centre is to set up a grant to support couples struggling to conceive.

Virtus Fertility Centre Singapore (VFCS) announced that it would set up a grant to support aspiring parents on their IVF journey.

The initial grant is set for at $50,000 SGD and, depending on the take-up rate over the next 12 fiscal months, VFCS plans to increase the pool to benefit more couples in the subsequent years.

The grant will cover the main costs associated with IVF treatments and procedures, including embryo retrieval and transfer, laboratory services and embryo prep. It will also be applicable to fresh and frozen egg transfers.

As grant recipients, their samples will similarly be given a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag, a service VFCS provides for all its patients. It locks the patient’s identity with the respective sample. The RFID identifies gametes—eggs, sperms, or embryos—at every stage of the IVF treatment.

According to VFCS, the grant will also include access to counselling services and wellness resources.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand the emotional toll and occasional frustration that infertility can take on individuals and couples, especially for some who are still young and healthy,” said Dr Roland Chieng, medical director at VFCS.

“The common deterrent of going for fertility treatment is always associated with the cost, more so in a private care setting where their only source of funds is through Medisave.

“By alleviating their financial concerns, we hope ReadyBaby Fertility Grant empowers patients to approach their IVF journey, focusing on their clinical needs and working towards a healthy pregnancy and less on financials.

“With access to the necessary treatments and support, patients can embark on their path to parenthood with renewed confidence, knowing they have the clinical resources and guidance they need to navigate this journey,” he added.

Tim Kwan, VFCS’s managing director, said: “We believe every couple deserves the opportunity to experience the profound joy of parenthood.

“With the ReadyBaby Fertility Grant, we aim to support aspiring couples on their IVF journey and help them bring new life into the world.”

To be eligible for the grant, applicants must be married Singaporean couples diagnosed with medical infertility by a fertility specialist and first-time parents who have not tried IVF before.

To receive the Femtech World newsletter, sign up here.

Continue Reading

News

Canadian insurer launches partnership to support women’s health

Members of the Canadian insurer Medavie Blue Cross will have access to a dedicated women’s health platform

Published

on

Angela Johnson, co-founder and CEO of sanoLiving

The Canadian insurer Medavie Blue Cross (MBC) has partnered with the virtual health platform sanoLiving to support women on their menopause journey.

Currently, more than 10 million Canadian women are navigating menopause, often with little support and misinformation about treatments.

With sanoMidLife, sanoLiving’s online menopause platform, Medavie Blue Cross members will have access to a national women’s health platform tailored to provide care and services for women going through the menopause.

The service includes personalised assessments, access to clinicians, treatments, educational content, peer support and AI assistance.

“Many women lack support for their menopause transition due to the misunderstandings of what is ‘normal’ and misinformation about treatments,” said Angela Johnson, co-founder and CEO of sanoLiving.

“Women are seeking solutions that allow them to thrive during midlife. We are thrilled about our alliance with Medavie Blue Cross, and our shared commitment to providing access to care that empowers women.”

Anita Swamy, senior vice president operations at Medavie Blue Cross, added: “We’ve heard first-hand from our members about the need for more menopause-related services.

“Our partnership with sanoLiving creates an innovative way to increase access to care for our members as we continue to focus on the support women need to navigate their benefits and provide forward-thinking options to support their health.”

Studies report one in 10 women exit the workforce due to unmanaged symptoms. Early onset of menopause and symptoms before age 45 can elevate the risk of health issues like heart disease, diabetes, dementia and osteoporosis.

With this new service, Medavie Blue Cross and sanoLiving are aiming to open up the conversation around menopause, reduce stigma and work towards giving women the access to the care they need.

To receive the Femtech World newsletter, sign up here.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2023 Aspect Publishing Ltd. All Rights Reserved.