Image: Flat6Labs

Women’s health pharma company Organon and Flat6Labs are launching a new femtech accelerator program to help female-founded digital health start-ups, across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), succeed by providing support to build products, test market fit, and improve their business models.

The announcement was made at a thought leadership panel discussion hosted by Organon at EXPO 2020 in Dubai. Held in partnership with the United States Chamber of Commerce, the USA Pavilion, Jhpiego and Friends of Cancer Patients, Organon convened the forum of global experts and industry thought-leaders to better understand the existing gaps in women’s healthcare and explore potential solutions.

The forum also marked the launch of Organon in the MENAT region. Organon serves 140 markets with 60 medicines and solutions, is now operating across UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, KSA, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Ukraine.

Commenting on the launch, Ramy Koussa, Associate Vice President, Organon MENAT, said, “Our goal is to advance women’s healthcare across MENAT by addressing their unmet needs, helping to build a healthier and a brighter future for all women, families and communities. Leveraging our existing global footprint and expertise and working closely with local authorities and industry stakeholders, we are keen to shift the women’s health paradigm beyond reproductive health to encompass the entire life cycle. This forum is an important first for us at Organon MENAT in providing a platform to listen to women and becoming a trusted women’s healthcare partner in the region,” he added.

Among the topics discussed at the forum were existing gaps in data that act as a barrier to improving women’s health, how to monitor progress toward the UN Sustainable Goal of gender equality, investments in healthcare and accelerating change through economic empowerment. Attending panelists included: Dr Susanne Fiedler, Chief Commercial Officer of Organon; Susanne Mikhail, Regional Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women for the Arab States; Bathylle Missika, Head of the Networks, Partnerships and Gender Division at OECD Development Centre; Myra Betron, Director of Gender at Jhpeigo; and Dina El- Shenoufy, Chief Investment Officer at Flat6lab.

Susanne Mikhail, Regional Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women for the Arab States, said, “Better understanding and addressing women’s unmet healthcare needs is essential to achieving the Sustainable Goals of the 2030 Agenda, including the critically important goals of gender equality and female economic empowerment. Besides looking at health services as a basic right by itself, women’s health is directly related to economic development as well. For example, women could add $28 trillion (or 26% of global GDP) to the global economy by 2025, if their health issues are addressed, allowing them to participate in the labor market more fully. Therefore, it is exciting to see Organon focusing on the health needs of women and accelerating advancements in women’s health in this region.”

Commenting following the panel discussion, Dr Susanne Fiedler, Chief Commercial Officer, Organon, said, “At Organon, we are working toward a world where every woman enjoys better health. It is imperative that, as a company, we not only listen to but learn from women about what of their current needs are not being addressed. To that end, we will work closely together with industry stakeholders from private through to public organizations, healthcare providers, patient societies and others, establishing efficient and differentiated operating models to improve the delivery of women’s healthcare services across the region.”

Dr Sawsan A. S. Al Madhi, Director General, Friends of Cancer Patients, added, “Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) is a patient-centric organization. We fundamentally believe that to provide the best care possible, the patient must be heard and empowered. We welcome the launch of Organon across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region, and look forward to our collaborative approach to better understanding and addressing the unmet health needs of women.”

With a dynamic business model and entrepreneurial approach and in line with their commitment to accelerate advancements in women’s health, the company has also announced the launch of the Femtech Accelerator Program in the Middle East and North Africa together with early-stage venture capital firm, Flat6Labs, the result of its first official regional collaboration. Together the companies will support female-led and focused start-ups in the digital healthcare space. Selected start-ups will participate in a two-month intensive acceleration program featuring one-on-one coaching and mentoring with relevant leading sector experts, online training, and matchmaking with potential technical, investment and business partners. 

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