New Technologies for Infertility
This article was originally published in Start Up
The infertility market has historically been dominated by drugs. There have been few product opportunities on the medtech side, which has consisted of commodity products like syringes, petri dishes and microscopes. But that is changing; recently several new companies have been founded with technologies to improve the success rates of in vitro fertilization. VCs have also come to realize that infertility represents a premium, self-pay market for elective procedures.
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Despite a miserable economy, new company formation continues apace. In biotech, recapitalizations and structured deals featured prominently; in diagnostics, interest remains strong even if rounds in 2008 were down from last year's highs; in devices, small and regional VCs have filled the void left by brand-name investors.
In 2007, what did Series A venture investments reveal about the state of the health care industry? It was very healthy, thank you. There were quite a few deals to choose from, and numbers demonstrated continued growth in diagnostics fundraising, a resurgence in vaccines, and evidence of pharma's interest in proof-of-concept projects and large-molecule platforms. Medical device investors, meanwhile, remain enamored with concept companies seeking to blend electronics-such as neurostimulation or miniature sensors-with devices.
The success rates for in vitro fertilization are rather low--about 34%--and although this isn't much worse than the odds that nature offers for getting pregnant, for the couple that has elected to undergo IVF this risk-benefit proposition is difficult to bear. Molecular Biometrics helps to improve the outcomes of IVF with a diagnostic that determines embryo health.