A $3 million grant from the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) in Australia has been allocated to support a unique IVF study, a collaborative effort between Virtus Health, healthtech startup 23Strands, and Monash University. This study is the first of its kind, focusing on how whole genome sequencing can improve patient outcomes in IVF treatments.

James Pyne, Virtus Health CEO said: “The impact of this grant has huge potential to benefit all IVF patients and is a significant step forward for IVF research and innovation. Having a better understanding of a patient’s genomic sequencing can help clinicians deliver improved fertility insights, treatments, and personalized medicine, and ultimately better success rates.”

Lead researcher Professor Beverley Vollenhoven from Monash University says the study has the potential to revolutionize the entire landscape of fertility care: “The groundbreaking collaboration of integrating genomics, artificial intelligence and clinical care aspires to set a new global standard to positively improve women’s responses to IVF medications.”

One of the study’s goals is to develop an AI-driven tool for delivering better-targeted doses of IVF medication, increasing the likelihood of successful treatments. This goal stems from a pilot study by Virtus Health and 23Strands, which found that genetic variations impact how women respond to ovarian stimulation medication. The MRFF grant will allow the research team to build upon these preliminary findings and conduct a four-year randomized control trial (RCT). The RCT is intended to help develop a tool for personalized dosing of medications.

23Strands Co-founder and CEO Mark Grosser said: “This world-first project is special because we will
be using new ways to process information about IVF treatments. 23Strands brings innovation that
combines data from scientific research, medical records and genetics to deliver tailored personalised
medical reports for women. Our world-leading partners will help ensure that this is done in an
ethical, safe and effective way.”

A/Prof Vinayak Smith, Head of New Ventures at Virtus Health added: “Virtus Health was the first to develop artificial intelligent embryo selection software. With this new study, we aim to be the first IVF service provider in Australia to offer whole-genome sequencing and AI to augment reproductive decision making and help people achieve their dream of starting a family.”

23Strands specializes in integrating genomics into mainstream healthcare, focusing on bioinformatics, scientific literature analysis, and clinical insights based on whole genome sequencing (WGS). Their goal is to utilize these innovations for personalized medicine and disease management. Virtus Health, comprising leading clinicians, scientists, researchers, and support staff, is a major provider of fertility services and related specialized diagnostic and day hospital services. Their network includes some of the world’s leading fertility specialists and operates in Australia, Ireland, Denmark, Singapore, and the UK.

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