Every Monday we share a quick “best of” from the week that was with our Inner Circle members. What’s trending in the Femtech Insider community and beyond? We’ve got you covered! In this week’s brief we talk about Male Reproductive Health, plus…

  • Femtech Investment Round-up: Feb 2022
  • Startups focused on Black Maternal Health
  • And more!

Let’s Talk about Male Contraception!

Male Contraception Startup Contraline has been awarded “Best Innovation” at Reproductive Health Innovation Summit, which took place in Boston on February 15-16. The company’s ADAM System is the world’s first investigational hydrogel implant designed to provide non-hormonal, long-lasting and non-permanent contraception for men.

👉 Why it matters

The lack of male birth control options puts an undue burden on women to shoulder the responsibility of managing family planning goals. This lack also contributes to the global unintended pregnancy rate, currently more than 120 million globally each year. The global human population is already unsustainable and it continues to grow annually. By providing men with more contraceptive options, we can meaningfully improve relationship and family dynamics, sustainability, global health, and much more. This is not just our opinion either: it is overwhelmingly supported by research data.
(Source: Male Contraceptive Alliance)

👉 How it works

Male fertility can be reversibly inhibited through multiple approaches, and each target area could yield contraceptives with different characteristics. Below is an overview of the different categories. If you’d like to learn more, you can access primers on all of them by the Male Contraceptive Initiative here.

  • Spermatogenesis is the creation of mature sperm from germ cells, and presents unique opportunities with respect to male methods of contraception
  • Sperm Transport. Preventing sperm from being transported out of the reproductive tract is the basis of vasectomy, one of the only existing forms of male contraception, and the ability to reversibly block ​this process represents huge potential for new, additional male contraceptives.
  • Sperm Motility. One key feature of sperm is their ability to swim through the reproductive tract. This ability, or sperm motility, is one of the most exciting targets of male contraception. This prime provides additional details.
  • Fertilization is the joining of human egg and sperm to create a zygote, and is a prime target for male contraception because of its place as the last step in the reproductive chain. Learn more in this primer.

👉 Who’s working on this?

A few startups are working on making male contraceptives a reality these days. Among them are:

YourChoice Therapeutics is revolutionizing birth control options for women and men by developing hormone-free contraceptives and bringing them to market.

Eppin Pharma is an emerging pharmaceutical company focused on developing a safe, effective short-term, non-hormonal oral male contraceptive pill.

VASERA seeks to fill this hole in the market by providing men with a temporary, long-lasting, non-hormonal contraceptive option

Coso is an ultrasound-based approach to male contraception. 

For those interested in this space the list of projects who have received grants from the Male Contraceptive Initiative is always worth a look as well! 👇

Femtech Investment Round-up February 2022

As every month we share an overview of all the fundraising news we covered on Femtech Insider with you, our Inner Circle audience. Check out our February 2022 Femtech Investment Round-up here or visit our Investment Round-up Archive in the Inner Circle Member Hub.

🌟 Some Highlights:

Virtual eating disorder clinic Equip raises $58M in Series B funding to invest in growth, access & R&D.

HerMD adds $10M in Series A funding to scale its physical clinics and launch virtual services throughout the U.S.

Nabta Health raises $1.5M in seed funding to transform women’s healthcare in emerging markets.

Spotlight: Black Maternal Health

The number of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. rose in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   

The report finds there were 861 maternal deaths in 2020, up from 754 in 2019 and 658 in 2018. That translated to 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020, up from 20.1 in 2019.   

Wide racial disparities: The maternal mortality rate for Black women was about three times higher than it was for white women, at 55.3 deaths per 100,000 births compared to 19.1 deaths per 100,000 births.   

Rates for non-Hispanic Black women were significantly higher than rates for non-Hispanic White and Hispanic women. The increases from 2019 to 2020 for non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women were significant.

While the report does not specifically delve into the role the pandemic might have played in the increase in maternal deaths, but it is possible that people delaying care and trips to the hospital could have played a role. 
 🚀 Startups Working to Improve Black Maternal Health Care

Mae is a maternal health platform that connects expectant mothers with critical resources to drive positive pregnancy outcomes.

Poppy Seed Health offers on-demand text access to doulas, midwives, and nurses.

Irth is an app where users can find prenatal, birthing, postpartum and pediatric reviews of care from other Black and brown women.

LOOM offers educational resources and support related to pregnancy and postpartum care

Mahmee is an integrated care delivery platform for maternal and infant health.

Cayaba Care is a maternal health company offering community-based clinical services via technology-enabled multidisciplinary care teams.

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