Women signify half of the planet’s inhabitants. Yet tech firms catering to their particular well being wants signify a minute share of the international know-how market.

In 2019, the “femtech” business — software program and know-how firms addressing ladies’s organic wants — generated $820.6 million in international income and acquired $592 million in enterprise capital funding, based on PitchBook, a monetary knowledge and analysis firm. That identical 12 months, the ride-sharing app Uber alone raised $8.1 billion in an preliminary public providing. The distinction in scale is staggering, particularly when ladies spend an estimated $500 billion a 12 months on medical bills, based on PitchBook.

Tapping into that spending energy, a mess of apps and tech firms have sprung up in the final decade to handle ladies’s wants, together with monitoring menstruation and fertility, and providing options for being pregnant, breastfeeding and menopause. Medical startups even have stepped in to forestall or handle critical situations corresponding to most cancers.

“The market potential is huge,” stated Michelle Tempest, a companion at the London-based well being care consultancy Candesic and a psychiatrist by coaching. “There’s definitely an increasing appetite for anything in the world which is technology, and a realization that female consumer power has arrived — and that it’s arrived in health care.”

She stated one purpose women-related wants had not been centered on in the discipline of know-how was that life sciences analysis was overwhelmingly “tailored to the male body.” In 1977, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration excluded ladies of childbearing age from collaborating in drug trials. Since then, ladies have been underrepresented in drug trials, Tempest stated, due to a perception that fluctuations brought on by menstrual cycles may have an effect on trial outcomes and in addition as a result of if a girl acquired pregnant after taking a trial drug, the drug may have an effect on the fetus. As a end result, she famous, “we do lag behind men.”

The time period “femtech” was coined by Ida Tin, the Danish-born founding father of Clue, a interval and ovulation monitoring app established in Germany in 2013. In an article on the firm’s web site, Tin recalled how she first had the thought for the app. In 2009, she discovered herself holding a cellphone in one hand and a small temperature-taking machine in the different and wishing she may merge the two to trace her fertility days, reasonably than manually having to notice her temperature on a spreadsheet.

Clue permits ladies to do precisely that with a couple of faucets on their smartphone. Today, the firm has lots of competitors in the period- and fertility-tracking space. And loads of different women-specific instruments have come onto the market. Elvie, a London-based firm, has marketed a wearable breast pump and a pelvic train coach and app, each utilizing sensible know-how. Another strand of femtech often called “menotech” goals to enhance ladies’s existence as they undergo menopause, offering entry to telemedicine, and data and knowledge that ladies can faucet into.

Finally, there are medical know-how firms centered on most cancers that impacts ladies, corresponding to cervical most cancers and breast most cancers.

According to the World Health Organization, cervical most cancers is the fourth most typical reason behind most cancers amongst ladies round the world. In 2018, about 570,000 ladies had it, and as many as 311,000 died. The WHO in November introduced a program to eradicate the illness utterly by the 12 months 2030.

MobileODT, a startup based mostly in Tel Aviv, Israel, makes use of smartphones and synthetic intelligence to display for cervical most cancers. A wise colposcope — a transportable imaging machine that’s 1 1/2 occasions the dimension of a smartphone — is used to take {a photograph} of a girl’s cervix from a distance of about 1 meter (3 toes). The picture is then transmitted to the cloud through a smartphone, the place synthetic intelligence is used to establish regular or irregular cervical findings.

A analysis is delivered in about 60 seconds — in comparison with the weeks it takes to obtain the outcomes of a typical smear check (which, in creating international locations, extends to months.) In addition to this screening, medical doctors nonetheless use smear assessments.

The know-how was lately used to display 9,000 ladies throughout a three-month interval in the Dominican Republic as a part of a government-led marketing campaign, the firm introduced final month. Another 50,000 ladies are anticipated be screened in the next six months.

Leon Boston, the South African-born chief govt of MobileODT, stated the privately owned firm was promoting into about 20 completely different international locations together with the United States, India, South Korea and Brazil, and goes right into a fundraising spherical to construct on its preliminary seed cash of $24 million.

But the main reason behind most cancers amongst ladies throughout the world is breast most cancers. One French startup is targeted on coping with its aftermath. Lattice Medical has developed a 3D-printed hole breast implant that enables for the regeneration of tissue and is absorbed by the physique over time.

How it really works: Post-mastectomy, the surgeon harvests a small flap of fats from the space instantly round the girl’s breast and locations it inside the 3D-printed bioprosthesis. That piece of tissue grows inside the implant and ultimately fills it out. In the meantime, the 3D-printed shell disappears utterly 18 months later.

So far, assessments on animals have been encouraging, stated Julien Payen, the firm’s co-founder and chief govt. Clinical trials on ladies are anticipated to begin in 2022, with the purpose of getting the product into the market in 2025, he added.

Asked why the international femtech market was so small for know-how firms, Boston stated it was partly due to the “high level of regulation” concerned in medical know-how.

“If your technology is incorrect and comes up with the wrong result, a woman who thinks she’s not positive for cervical cancer is actually positive,” he stated. As a end result, “the world of medical technology is slow to move.”

Still, prospects are favorable, based on Boston. “It’s very rare to have a totally barren market open for full potential as we have today in medical technology,” he stated.

The knowledge forecasts seem to again that up. According to a March 2020 report by Frost & Sullivan, a analysis and technique consultancy, income from femtech is predicted to achieve $1.1 billion by 2024.

Payen defined that for the femtech market to broaden and develop, there must be many extra tech firms providing real well being advantages to ladies, not simply well-being apps crowding the market and including little in phrases of well being or medical worth. He cited the instance of Endodiag, a French medical know-how firm that enables early analysis of endometriosis and a greater administration of the situation.

Either method, stated Payen, the business confirmed promise.

“Over the last 10 years, thanks to #MeToo and other movements, women are being listened to and heard more than ever before,” Payen stated. And “more and more women are running companies and investment funds,” he added.

“In 10 or 15 years from now, as a new generation takes over, things will have changed even more radically,” he stated. “Femtech is clearly poised to grow.”


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