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Future Fertility welcomes new advisory board members heading into 2024

The group is comprised of professionals at the forefront of reproductive medicine, artificial intelligence and global healthcare

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Future Fertility, the pioneer of AI-powered oocyte assessment, has proudly announced the expansion of its advisory board.

This distinguished group is comprised of professionals at the forefront of reproductive medicine, artificial intelligence and global healthcare. The advisory board’s members bring a wealth of expertise that spans clinical practice, embryology, scientific research, commercial strategy and AI integration.

Future Fertility held its inaugural advisory board meeting at this year’s ASRM congress in New Orleans, bringing the group together to reflect on the company’s progress in 2023 and identify areas for growth and support into 2024 and beyond.

“As a technology company that serves such a specialised area of medicine and laboratory practice, having the means to gain practical feedback, guidance and advice from industry experts will ensure our products continue to evolve in a way that meets the needs of our clients, and ultimately patients, worldwide,” says Christy Prada, CEO of Future Fertility.

“We are lucky to have such an inspiring group of leaders in their field supporting our ambitions.”

New members of Future Fertility’s advisory board include:

Sebastian Bohl – VP, Global Head of Product Planning & Portfolio Expansion, GBF Fertility at Merck Healthcare

Sebastian Bohl is an accomplished entrepreneurial leader with a diverse background that spans the pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical devices sectors. His global and in-country roles have honed expertise in commercial strategy, marketing, consulting, and business development. With a keen drive for innovation and efficiency, he consistently delivers high performance, exemplifying a commitment to refining business models and organisational structures for optimal results. Mr Bohl’s commercial expertise aligns with Future Fertility‘s ambitions for growth in 2024.

Dr Kate Devine – Medical Director and Chief Research Officer, US Fertility

Dr Kate Devine is US Fertility’s Medical Director and Chief Research Officer. As a board-certified REI (Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist), she treats patients in Washington DC and was Shady Grove’s Research Director for over a decade. In her role as CRO at US Fertility, she leads a dedicated research division, expanding medical care in the field while also overseeing a culture of medical excellence at the network of clinics.  She has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and has a special focus on endometrial receptivity and optimization of frozen transfer cycles.

Dr Kathy Miller – Chief Scientific Officer, Innovation Fertility

Dr Kathy Miller, with a deep background of combined experience in research and laboratory management, serves as the Chief Scientific Officer at Innovation Fertility and is also the Vice President of MedTech For Solutions. She has authored over 100 abstracts, papers, and chapters on her research, which focuses on advancements in blastocyst culture, pre-implantation genetics and other new technologies such as time-lapse and artificial intelligence. This focus makes her a valuable contributor to Future Fertility’s pursuit of innovation.

Dr Mitch Rosen – Fertility Physician and Director, UCSF Fertility Preservation Program

Based at the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health, Dr Mitch Rosen is an expert in reproductive endocrinology and fertility, uniquely holding multiple clinical and laboratory roles. He is a fertility physician and high complexity lab director (HCLD), as well as an Associate Professor at UCSF where he teaches medical students, residents, and fellows. His commitment to medical education and research enhances the clinical and scientific depth of Future Fertility’s advisory team.

Dr Prati Sharma – Reproductive Endocrinologist, CReATe

Dr Prati Sharma, a distinguished REI at CReATe in Toronto, brings a patient-centric approach to the advisory board. Active in various medical associations across North America, her extensive training and board certifications underscore her commitment to providing exceptional patient care. Dr Sharma combines her love for research in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility with “patient-centred” clinical practice.

These new advisory board members join the following established members:

Dr Angie Beltsos – CEO Clinical and Medical Director, Kindbody

Dr Angie Beltsos is a board-certified REI and Chief Executive Physician of Kindbody, a national network of fertility clinics and fertility benefits provider in the US. She is also the founder and was CEO and CMO of Vios Fertility Institute – a network of fertility clinics. She has received numerous awards and is a popular speaker, both nationally and internationally, and a frequent media resource on the topic of infertility. Dr Beltsos is the executive chairperson for the Midwest Reproductive Symposium International and continues to educate and mentor REI doctors and students of all stages of education.

Dr Avi Goldfarb – Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Professor Goldfarb’s leadership and groundbreaking research at the intersection of AI and healthcare provides pivotal insights in shaping Future Fertility’s responsible and interpretable AI solutions.

Dr Jim Meriano – Director, Embryology Laboratory, TRIO Fertility

Dr Jim Meriano has been instrumental in shaping and advancing Future Fertility’s AI-based oocyte assessment solutions. His extensive experience as an embryologist and lab director, spanning over 30 years in the field of fertility, has significantly contributed to the company’s research and academic insights.

Dr Rita Vassena – Founder and CEO, Fecundis

Dr Rita Vassena brings more than two decades of expertise in biomedical and fertility research to Future Fertility. With a notable tenure as the Global Scientific Director at Eugin Group and two terms as an Executive Member of ESHRE, she has co-authored over 110 fertility research papers. Currently leading Fecundis, Dr Vassena’s extensive experience and leadership will enrich Future Fertility’s scientific strategy.

With this accomplished advisory board, Future Fertility looks ahead to a year of commercial growth and innovation in 2024. The diverse expertise spanning clinical, embryology, commercial strategy and research uniquely positions the company to contribute significantly to its mission of developing AI-based solutions that solve real information gaps across the fertility journey.

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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

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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.

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US start-up raises US$2.32m to address pelvic health concerns

The Flyte intravaginal device aims to treat stress urinary incontinence and strengthen pelvic floor muscles

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The US women’s health start-up Pelvital has raised US$2.32m in funding to address “unanswered” pelvic health issues.

Minnesota-based Pelvital aims to restore pelvic health with its first product Flyte, an FDA-cleared intravaginal treatment for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and weakened pelvic floor muscles.

The device, originally developed by physicians from the Arctic University of Norway, uses mechanotherapy, a treatment modality that when paired with an active pelvic floor contraction stimulates tissue regeneration and the creation of neuromuscular memory.

The company will use the funding to speed up the commercialisation of Flyte and raise awareness of pelvic health issues.

“Completing this round is an important step in continuing Pelvital’s unwavering dedication to provide women with innovative solutions for pelvic health, including the treatment of SUI,” said Lydia Zeller, president and CEO of Pelvital.

“This funding will play a crucial role in accelerating our commercialisation of Flyte with a strong emphasis on expanding payor coverage and enhancing clinical education and clinician awareness.”

With this final close, Zeller said, Pelvital would welcome new investors including Pier 70 Ventures, Life Science Angels, Tech Coast Angels Orange County, and Blue Pacific Fund.

Preetha Ram, managing partner at Pier 70 Ventures, would join the Pelvital board of directors.

“Joining Pelvital’s board alongside this investment round is truly an honour,” Ram shared.

“Pier 70 and I are thrilled to be part of this transformational opportunity, as Pelvital’s mission aligns beautifully with our dedication to support disruptive technologies that shake up the status quo in healthcare.

“Pelvital’s pioneering work is shaping a future where women’s health receives the attention and innovation it deserves with novel medical devices like Flyte.”

Oscar Moralez, founder and managing partner of Boomerang Ventures who led the investment round, said: “We are thrilled for the successful completion of this round as we aim to tackle the most pressing healthcare challenges.

“Our participation aims to address the chronic underfunding in women’s healthcare. Investing in Flyte, a truly groundbreaking treatment, addresses underserved pelvic health issues like SUI and contributes to raising vital awareness.”

Two published clinical trials have validated Flyte’s safety, efficacy and durability of treatment effect for women with SUI.

Most recently Pelvital published a paper in Therapeutic Advances in Urology, showing that 71 per cent of study participants achieved dry or near dry conditions as evidenced by a reduction in 24-hour pad weight after using Flyte for between two and 12 weeks.

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Cleveland Clinic launches new women’s health and research center

The programme aims to address women’s unique health needs during midlife and beyond

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From left: Cleveland Clinic CEO and president Dr Tom Mihaljevic, Maria Shriver and Dr Beri Ridgeway / Source: clevelandclinic.org

Cleveland Clinic has launched its new Women’s Comprehensive Health and Research Center, an initiative dedicated to helping women during midlife.

The center, which will focus on access, connectivity, education and research and innovation, aims to empower women to navigate their health journey with confidence and clarity.

Maria Shriver, founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement Prevention and Research Center at Cleveland Clinic, will serve as chief visionary and strategic advisor.

“I’ve always believed our nation needed a first-class comprehensive women’s health center, and now we have one,” said Shriver.

“Over the past several years, I’ve been honoured to work alongside so many talented and passionate doctors at Cleveland Clinic to bring this vision to life. This is a place for women at every stage of life where they will feel seen, will get the research they need, and the care they deserve, from their brains to their bones.

“I am thrilled that today the WAM Prevention and Research Center expands, as it deserves to.”

Dr Tom Mihaljevic, Cleveland Clinic CEO and president, said: “Maria’s unwavering commitment to raising awareness and driving meaningful change aligns perfectly with the mission of our new center.

“Her passion for advancing the quality of care for women is remarkable and will help us transform how we deliver care for women today and into the future.”

The population of women in midlife and in need of healthcare continues to grow. According to US Census Bureau 2020 data, more than 63 million women in the US are 50 years of age or older, and approximately 6,000 women enter menopause each day.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 80 per cent of women aged 55 and older have at least one chronic condition, such as arthritis, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes, which strengthens the need for more comprehensive medical care for women in this stage of life.

The new Women’s Comprehensive Health and Research Center will bring together specialty care in various areas, including behavioural health, breast health, cardiovascular care, center for infant and maternal health, endocrinology, menopause, osteoporosis and metabolic bone density, wellness and disease prevention.

Through initiatives focused on streamlining appointment processes, enhancing outreach programmes and prioritising health equity, the center will seek to ensure that all women can readily access the care they need.

“Midlife is an important milestone and a time to empower women to address health issues and focus on future health,” said Dr Beri Ridgeway, chief of staff at Cleveland Clinic.

“Taking a holistic approach, including menopausal and hormonal health, reproductive health, mental health, chronic conditions and preventive care, is critical to optimise health outcomes.

“Our priority is to help women in this stage of life make educated decisions about their health and have access to the services they need to thrive, while also feeling seen, heard and supported.”

The center, Ridgeway said, will offer support groups and resources to help address health disparities, reach diverse communities and bridge gaps in health literacy.

The institution’s ultimate mission, she explained, is to advance research and innovation specific to women during midlife.

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