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Funding and Grants:

  • India, Chhattisgarh-based mental health tech startup BetterSpace has successfully raised ₹4.5 million in its inaugural pre-seed funding round, led by the well-known startup community-builder and accelerator PedalStart
  • Pelvital has announced the expansion of its innovative incontinence treatment device, Flyte, into the Middle East. This move aims to address the prevalent issue of stress urinary incontinence among women in the region.
  • Canada-based Somedays has acquired Aisle, a B-Corp period care company. Somedays, founded three years ago and known for its natural approach to pain relief, brings a unique perspective to menstrual wellness.

Global Companies:

  • Freya Biosciences, a clinical-stage biotech company, has raised $38M in Series A funding to advance the development of innovative women’s reproductive immunotherapies. The funding round was led by Sofinnova Partners and OMX Ventures with participants from The Export and Investment Fund of Denmark
  • Maia Oncology, a health tech startup, has raised $4.25M in seed funding to develop a virtual primary care clinic for cancer patients, with an initial focus on breast cancer. The round was co-led and co-incubated by Takeda Digital Ventures and Yosemite with participation from BrightEdge
  • Aditxt has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Evofem Biosciences, known for its FDA-approved hormone-free contraceptive gel, Phexxi. The acquisition, valued at around $100 million, combines stock issuance and debt assumption.
  • Flow Medical, a pulmonary embolism treatment startup, recently secured $2M in a friends-and-family investment round. Based in Chicago, the company is spearheaded by CEO Jennifer Fried, former Head of Explorer Surgical, and Co-founders Dr. Jonathan Paul and Dr. Osman Ahmed, specialists in venous thromboembolism at The University of Chicago Medical Center.

FemTech News:

  • The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) warns of an adverse reaction linked to Meftal, a widely used painkiller. The syndrome, DRESS, exhibits symptoms 2-8 weeks post-drug intake, raising concerns for users.
  • Researchers unveil an AI model predicting cancer outcomes from tissue samples, revolutionizing personalized treatment. Published in Nature Communications, the innovative approach analyzes cell spatial arrangement, a pivotal advancement.
  • Union Minister Smriti Irani addressed menstrual leave in Rajya Sabha, emphasising it’s a natural aspect of women’s lives, not a handicap. While sharing personal views, she suggested that specific policies for paid leave may not be imperative as women increasingly pursue diverse economic opportunities.
  • UK fertility regulator reports varying outcomes for ethnic minority patients in fertility treatment. Data reveals significant differences among groups. While average IVF birth rates increased overall, Black and Asian patients aged 18-37 showed the lowest rates (23% and 24% respectively) compared to white patients (32%) from 2020-2021.
  • NHS England is to launch a nationwide pelvic health service to support pregnant women and women who have gone through traumatic births. Roughly one in three women in the UK experience urinary incontinence three months after pregnancy and around one in seven experience anal incontinence six months after birth.
  • Northern Ireland has announced a new improved primary HPV cervical screening programme to curb cervical cancer.  The cervical screening test aims to pick up changes early that could develop into cervical cancer if left untreated. The test checks for an infection called HPV – the cause of most cervical cancers.
  • A study reveals that employing fertility preservation and assisted reproductive technologies, like IVF, doesn’t affect cancer recurrence rates in HR-positive breast cancer patients. Methods include ovarian stimulation, egg freezing, cryopreservation, and hormone analogues during chemotherapy to safeguard reproductive potential.
  • British men are the first in the world to test a new hormone-free male contraceptive pill. Unlike the female pill, a new male equivalent, YCT-529, is hormone-free and prevents sperm production by blocking access to vitamin A. If the tests prove successful, scientists hope the responsibility for contraception could be shared between the sexes.

FemTech India Partner Company News:

  • Noureen Aysha, founder of Femisafe, held a session at MES College of Engineering covering topics on menstrual health.
  • Mirror published a spotlight series on Suchita A Mukherji, the founder of The Basics on PCOS, dealing with PCOS, PMS and Cramps.
  • PeeSafe has recently moved into the Singapore and Netherlands markets and has partnered with Lazada and Shopee for the same.
  • HempStreet, a Cannabis startup joined hands with Amrita School of Ayurveda to conduct clinical trials on Menstrual cramps.

Drugs, Diagnostics, and Pharma:

  • Imugene Ltd (Imugene), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company, and NeoImmuneTech, Inc. (NIT), a clinical-stage T-cell-focused biopharmaceutical company, announced a strategic collaboration to evaluate Imugene’s allogeneic CAR T, azer-cel, in combination with NIT’s proprietary immune T cell amplifier “Fc-fused recombinant human interleukin-7”, NT-I7, for the treatment of cancer.
  • Pfizer Inc. announced the European Commission (EC) has granted conditional marketing authorization for Elrexfio (elranatamab). Elrefxio is a targeted immunotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) who have received at least three prior therapies, including a proteasome inhibitor, an immunomodulatory agent, and an anti-CD38 antibody and have demonstrated disease progression on the last therapy.

Government News:

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has Invited Expressions of Interest (EOI) for participate in the Indian Child Growth Reference Development Research Initiative study to develop contemporary Indian child growth references. This is to ensure that the care the children receive is likely to be associated with optimal growth and low risk of future metabolic disorders. The duration of the study is 4 years.
  • The National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) has rolled out a series of awareness programmes to implement the NABL accreditation system in Ayush testing laboratories. It recently hosted a programme in Mumbai in collaboration with the Regional Research Institute of Unani Medicine, the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM), Union Ministry of Ayush.

Research, Insights, and Market Projections:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has published the 2023 global health expenditure report, which sheds new light on the evolution of global health spending at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Released ahead of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, the report reveals that in 2021 global spending on health reached a new high of US$ 9.8 trillion or 10.3% of global gross domestic product (GDP).
  • In a study conducted by the Institut Pasteur and the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), researchers have discovered that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for causing COVID-19, can persist in the lungs for up to 18 months after infection.
  • New research has found that smoking causes the brain to shrink and that genetics could be important as about half of one’s risk of smoking can come from their genes. Researchers said that since a natural reduction in brain volume is usually seen to occur with age, smoking therefore effectively ages the brain prematurely.

Jobs on Board:

  • Mamily is looking for an Enterprise Sales Manager. Mamily is a digital health and services provider.
  • Rocket Health is looking for a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Rocket Health is a platform which provides speciality healthcare for mental and sexual health.
  • Niramai Health Analytix is looking for a Senior Manager in sales and Business Development. Niramai is a breast cancer screening solution provider. 

Today’s newsletter is brought to you by Navneet Kaur and Jayant Pal Singh

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