11 March 2024

Virtus Health invests in two startups to improve outcomes in women’s health

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Virtus Health

A new med-tech startup called NeoGenix Biosciences and an early-stage genomics business called 23Strands have secured investment from Virtus Health, Australia’s largest fertility provider. 

Franca Agresta, Virtus Health’s Head of clinical research, says the funding aims to boost innovation in female-focused healthtech. 

"In Australia and globally, healthtech startups encounter many problems, particularly when it comes to sourcing funding and finding accessible pathways to market entry. By assisting women’s health focused startups, we are aiming to boost innovation to benefit the lives of women and their families, ensuring they have access to new innovations that can help them,” said Ms Agresta.

Virtus Health recently partnered with UNSW Founders Health 10x startup accelerator - to create a dedicated Women’s Health stream - created by UNSW Founders and The George Institute for Global Health. 

Health 10x aims to equip startups with business expertise and resources needed to understand the health technology ecosystem, build their company and drive impact through product delivery.

NeoGenix Biosciences was competitivity chosen as the winning reproductive health startup and will receive from Virtus Health several hundreds of thousands of dollars in in-kind commercialisation support. 

23Strands, another alumni of the Health 10x accelerator, has also been selected for Virtus Health investment, as one of the first initiatives of Virtus Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Virtus Health.

According to Reshma Gupta, Head of Strategic Projects - who was instrumental in orchestrating the first initiatives of Virtus Ventures - the Virtus Health investment is more than financial contributions. The two chosen startups will have access to Virtus Health’s experts, business intelligence, clinical trial access, future direct investment and market access across the Virtus network. 

Ms Gupta says Virtus Ventures is dedicated to ensuring that any product brought to market through commercialization adheres to the same rigorous standards applied to research, thereby guaranteeing the delivery of evidence-based solutions with the patient's well-being as the core objective.

Ms Agresta said: “At Virtus everything we do is evidence-based; our goal is to bring the best-in-class reproductive health technologies to market, by aiming to use the highest level of evidence as our guiding principles. As one of the biggest clinical trial operators in the healthcare sector we want to help startups deliver new clinical technologies to patients in the best possible way.” 

Mrs Dina Titkova, Senior Manager at UNSW Founders, adds “UNSW Founders has a proud history of both supporting and empowering entrepreneurial women - 40% of founders who participate in UNSW Founders' entrepreneurship programs are female - and supporting startups for solving major unmet medical needs. 

“We are excited to be partnering with Virtus Health again this year to further drive innovation to improve Women’s Health, a major unmet medical need globally. Women comprise half of the world’s population, but their burden of poor health is disproportionate,” said Mrs Titkova.

- ENDS -

  • NeoGenix Biosciences - commercialising a series of IVF medical devices leveraging the power of microfluidics. Their insightful technologies design smart solutions to sperm selection, gamete handling, AI-based gamete detection, and fertilisation platforms. 
  • 23Strands - is utilising whole genome sequencing and AI to unlock the power of whole genome sequencing to provide a more accurate pathway to better patient outcomes. 
  • They’re developing an end-to-end platform using the whole genome and AI to develop algorithms to help doctors create a specialised, personalised treatment plan.
  • UNSW Founders - Applications are open for the Women’s Health stream of the UNSW Founders Health 10x program 2024.

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