Ovarian biology is getting quite a bit of attention lately. And rightfully so given the large potential impact innovation in this space can have on the lives of literally every single woman on this planet. So it truly is about time we spend some time on ovarian health here on this blog, share an overview and some insights into the space with you!
Let’s dive in!
Just recently a couple of biotech companies made the news:
- Celmatix, Evotec & Bayer hit another milestone in their quest to develop a first-in-class drug for PCOS
- Organon acquired Forendo Pharma, a biotech company targeting PCOS & endometriosis
- Gameto raised $23M to address menopause & infertility with reprogrammed ovarian cells
- Oviva Co-founder & CEO Dr. Daisy Robinton spoke at UCLA about her company’s ambition to slow women’s aging by extending ovulation
Longevity, Menopause, PCOS, endometriosis. While at first glance these announcement might seem somewhat disconnected, they all have one thing in common: The companies mentioned are interested in the ovary not just as a reproductive organ, but are exploring its role as a “hormonal command center”, that can affect change throughout a women’s body.
As Celmatix founder Dr. Piraye Beim puts it in this interview with Fortune: “Just as birth control separated sex and reproduction (our) drug program is separating a woman’s endocrine function from reproduction.”
And for some more context: Dr. Dina Radenkovic, CEO of Gameto also explains “Ovaries age five times faster than other organs, resulting in infertility, early menopause and increased years of poor health for women. We want to change the narrative of female reproductive longevity and address the root causes of sex/gender inequality in our society.”
So in summary: The companies mentioned earlier are developing therapeutics, with the potential to postpone menopause, address infertility and solve for chronic conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis by leveraging ovarian biology in different ways, which is pretty exciting.
Why it matters
Should Gameto, Oviva, Forendo, Celmatix and co succeed in their efforts to translate their research into actual therapeutics, it would be a game-changing for millions of women.
How you ask? Let us fill you in using the example of longevity and menopause.
As a matter of fact every single woman on this planet will go through menopause. Some sooner. Some later. In the U.S. alone more than 2,000,000 women enter menopause each year. Due to societal stigma, which has led to lack of conversation and education about both the condition and its impact, many are left unaware and unprepared.
Oviva Co-founder & CEO Dr. Daisy Robinton explains: “Menopause is lurking out there in every young woman’s future, waiting to steal our potential.”
Sounds scary? Maybe a little harsh? Well. The term “tough love” comes to mind…
She continues “Everyone is always talking about how hot longevity is, but [ovarian aging] is such an obvious early signal and early intervention point that could impact half the population if someone cared enough to put the money into it.”
And if the activity in only the first couple of days of this new year is an indicator for future developments, it is save to say, that we are about to see a lot more interest and hopefully also funding in the ovarian health space.
2022: The Year of Ovarian Health?
Some companies may use menopause as a starting point, others PCOS, endometriosis or infertility. But in the end all of them have one common goal: To better understand ovarian biology and functionality, and to apply their research and findings to the development of first-in-class therapeutics that influence the way ovaries function, age and impact the health, wellbeing and lives of women.
Is 2022 the “Year of Ovarian Health”? Well. maybe. There certainly is more interest in and talk about ovarian biology these days and it’s definitely a space we’re watching very closely here at Femtech Insider. And if anecdotal evidence collected by our team is any indication: A lot of investors in our ecosystem are starting to develop an interest, opinion and potentially investment thesis, which is pretty exciting.
So will all these early signals turn into some serious noise this year? Only time will tell, but we’re cautiously optimistic and exciting to see what other innovators will emerge this year with an interest in ovarian health that extends beyond fertility.