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India Funding News:

  • Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw leads investment in women’s health platform – uses technology to provide women with an intelligent dashboard, experts, and personalised journeys for better health outcomes.
  • Diabetes reversal startup Breathe Well-being has raised Rs 50 crore in pre-series B funding co-led by 3One4 Capital, Accel Partners, and General Catalyst, with participation from FounderBank Capital and Supermorpheus.  The Gurugram-based startup said it will use the funds to strengthen its coaching academy, expand the core team, and scale up the technology platform to enhance customer experience.
  • Mankind Pharma Ltd has announced that it has invested in a clinical-stage speciality pharmaceutical company, Actimed Therapeutics Ltd, UK. Actimed Therapeutics is focused on bringing innovation to the treatment of cancer cachexia, an unmet medical need for cancer patients, and other muscle-wasting disorders. 

Global Funding:

  •  LEIA Health, a Swedish startup focused on supporting new parents during the Forth Trimester has raised €1.4M in pre-seed funding. The round was led by People Ventures with participation from Norsken, Unconventional Venture. 
  • Oya Femtech Apparel, an innovative line of performance wear engineered for feminine health has raised $1.3M in pre-seed funding led by Sivers Innovation Lab. Oya Co-founder Mitchella (Mitch) Gilbert is one of only 200 Black women to have ever raised over $1m in venture capital.
  • UK government to fund £150 million to boost mental health services. A £150 million investment up to April 2025 will better support people experiencing – or at risk of experiencing – mental health crises to receive care and support in more appropriate settings.
  • Male Contraceptive Initiative (MCI), a non-profit, has partnered with the pharmaceutical company Eppin Pharma to provide a Program Related Investment (PRI) of up to $800K to support clinical trial activities for the company’s novel short-term, the non-hormonal oral male contraceptive pill.

FemTech News:

  • ChatGPT (barely) passes all 3 parts of US Medical Licensing Examinations – The USMLE is a standardized test that assesses the knowledge and skills of medical students and graduates, and is required for licensure to practice medicine in the United States.
  • Despite 2022’s headwinds, women’s health startups did better than ever before. Even though funding in the digital health sector fell to about $8.6 billion in 2022 from around $16 billion a year earlier, femtech’s share rose substantially from previous years — the sector’s share of digital health funding was 13.26% in 2022, compared to 8.75% in 2021, 7.6% in 2020, and 11.8% in 2019.
  • Male and female hearts react differently to the stress hormone noradrenaline, according to a recent study published in Science Advances. 
  • Scientists have discovered a protein that kick-starts milk production after breastfeeding is over-something which could provide effective new targets for cancer treatments. 
  • Understanding the cost of IVF therapy and how it could be made more affordable. 

FemTech India Members Highlight:

  • Humm Care has partnered with Ditto Insurance to guide through holistic check-ups, help with financial well-being and help find expert-backed, accessible healthcare solutions.
  • Halpocare’s founder Dr.Sonali Quantius got featured in “My Swiss Story” as the Entrepreneur of the Month.
  • PeeSafe will be participating in the Gifts and Stationery India 2023 Expo which is being held in Hyderabad between Jan 27-Jan 29.
  • Swati Kulkarni, Co-founder and CEO at Elda Health participated in the CXO Talks, which was hosted by Souniya Khurana, the co-founder of WYN Studio

Global Femtech Companies & News:

  • A UK-based organisation has announced the launch of its first industry survey on sustainability in the femtech sector. The survey, conducted by the Sustainable FemTech Network, is designed to assess current sustainable practices among femtech, sex tech, women’s health and sexual wellness companies and identify areas where improvement is needed.
  • New data has found women in the UK are facing “stark health disparities” in accessing life-saving care, despite screening uptake increase. The report has shown that testing among women in areas of preventative health such as blood pressure, cancer and diabetes has improved since last year, with a majority of UK-based women (86 per cent) likely to take up a health screening or vaccination invite. 
  • According to a new analysis and market map released by Fermata Singapore a couple of weeks ago, the femtech industry in Southeast Asia (SEA) has grown over 70% within the past year. The report explores what solutions have emerged, what’s driving growth, and what can be expected in the future.

Budget 2023:

  • Ahead of the budget, key industry leaders from the healthcare sector have demanded that the upcoming budget should focus on increasing government health expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP.
  • The healthcare sector is eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Union Budget 2023, as it is expected to reveal the government’s strategy for enhancing the overall healthcare system in the country.
  • In recent years, the healthcare sector has been a priority for the government, with a steady increase in allocations in previous budgets. In the Union Budget 2022-23, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare received an allocation of approximately Rs 86,200 crore, representing a 16.5 per cent increase compared to the previous year.
  • In the Economic Survey of 2022, India’s public expenditure on healthcare stood at 2.1% of GDP in 2021-22 against 1.8% in 2020-21 and 1.3% in 2019-20. Several public sector schemes launched in the last few years, including the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, have focused on building last-mile infrastructure.

Drugs, Diagnostics, and Pharma:

  • Adar Poonawalla, CEO of vaccine maker Serum Institute of India, announced the launch of the first homemade HPV vaccine. The launch took place in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah, Adar Poonawalla, and Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs at Serum Institute of India, Prakash K Singh. 
  • Bharat Biotech will launch its intranasal COVID-19 vaccine iNCOVACC on 26th January, the company’s CMD Krishna Ella announced.The vaccine manufacturer had already received approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) earlier this month for the nasal vaccine, the first of its kind in India.
  • Prochem’s pharma division, a globally recognised leader in API powder handling solutions for various domains has merged with Tapasya, a proven expert in granulation and a single-stop solution provider of solid formulations to pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and food industries.
  • Sandoz, the global leader in off-patent (generic and biosimilar) medicines, has signed an agreement to acquire worldwide product rights for leading systemic antifungal agent Mycamine (micafungin sodium, Funguard in Japan) from Astellas.
  • Seed Group, a company of the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, has entered into a strategic partnership with a Netherlands-based company, Ryberg, which offers AI-assisted and self-driving technology-powered disinfection services for businesses and hospitals across the world.
  • Bayer announced that its iodine-based contrast agent Ultravist-300, -370 is now approved for contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) in the EU. The product can be used to evaluate and detect lesions of the breast as an adjunct to mammography (with or without ultrasound) or as an alternative when a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is contraindicated or unavailable.
  • Cipla flagged off its patient outreach initiative:  Breathefree Yatra. It focuses on helping people identify and understand their respiratory health status. This is done through increased access to channels that can aid in the screening of chronic respiratory diseases like asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
  • Essilor announced that it has launched Essilor Stellest lens in India, to combat myopia progression in children. The Sthe tellest lens has been designed with an exclusive technology called Highly Aspherical Lenslet Target (HALT) by Essilor’s research and development teams.

Government News:

  • The Ministry of Ayush on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), Ministry of Tourism to work together for the promotion of Medical Value Travel in Ayurveda and other traditional systems of medicine. 
  • National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) and Healthcare Sector Skill Council (HSSC) have signed an MoU to skilled healthcare professionals. The initiative is envisaged to provide impetus to quality training, skilling, and creating placement opportunities for skilled healthcare workforce leading to enhanced quality of healthcare for patients.
  • The newly elected committee of the Indian Medical Association-Indore chapter took charge under the leadership of Dr Anil Bhadoria during the annual day organised on 22 January

Research, Insights, and Market Projections:

  • WHO report shows five billion people unprotected from trans-fat leading to heart disease. Five billion people globally remain unprotected from harmful trans-fat, a new status report from WHO has found, increasing their risk of heart disease and death. Five billion people globally remain unprotected from harmful trans-fat, a new status report from WHO has found, increasing their risk of heart disease and death.
  • Study shows overdose deaths involving buprenorphine did not proportionally increase with new flexibilities in prescribing. The proportion of opioid overdose deaths involving buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder, did not increase in the months after prescribing flexibilities were put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new study. These data provide evidence that may help to inform buprenorphine prescribing policies.
  • A study recently published in Cancer Science by researchers from Kanazawa University, shows how some intestinal cancer cells lose their ability to spread as they divide and can be eliminated as cancer grows. The team started its research by isolating and propagating cells from the intestinal tumours of mice. Upon transplanting into the spleens of mice the ability of these cells to migrate, or metastasize, into the livers was observed. 

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