Innovating Within The Framework of Women’s Health
Springboard Enterprises highlights the opportunities for investment in Women’s Health Innovation.
“Researchers have found sex differences in every tissue and organ system in the human body.” Caroline Criado Perez, author of “Invisible Women”
In May of 2020, Springboard Enterprises launched the Women’s Health Innovation Coalition to drive innovation, investment, and research for women’s health solutions. These solutions address diseases and conditions that either solely, predominantly, or differently impact women. These main areas are what we call the Framework of Women’s Health, and include: Autoimmune, Oncology, Bone Health, Gynecological & Reproductive Health, Sexual Health, Heart Disease, and Cognitive and Brain Health.
In an effort to drive conversation forward about these issues, we held a series of four roundtables to advance opportunities in the sector, spark market interest in investing in research and solutions, and showcase products and services that address unmet needs, each focusing on a different area of the framework. We convened several roundtable discussions, sponsored by Davis Wright Tremaine — Project W, with entrepreneurs, advocates, practitioners, corporate executives, and investors to explore topics within each of the categories of the Framework. Here are some of the key takeaways from each of the discussions.
REPRODUCTIVE AND GYNECOLOGICAL HEALTH
The first two roundtables targeted the range of issues within this category that still have ineffective or no solutions at all are staggering. The first focused on Access to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment, and the second on Perinatal Mood Anxiety Disorders (PMAD).
The COST of IVF, which ranges from $10k-15k per cycle, plus medicine, is prohibitive for most women seeking a solution to infertility. Insurance often does not cover this procedure which could take more than one cycle to conceive. Of the nearly 4 million babies born each year, 1–2% are conceived via IVF. Presenting their solution was Univfy, an AI platform that makes it easier for women and couples to navigate their family-building options and de-risk the payment of the service.
PMADs affect 1 in 7 pregnant and postpartum women nationwide, making it the most common obstetric complication. These conditions often go undiagnosed and untreated, despite the existence of screening tools and effective treatments. In fact, only 50% of perinatal women who are diagnosed with depression receive any treatment. When left untreated, PMADs can become a multigenerational issue, negatively affecting the mother and child’s long-term physical, emotional, and developmental health. A new standard of care is necessary, particularly addressing the prevalence in women of color. Representatives from American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) outlined new legislation — Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020 — to provide funding to improve quality of care management services including telehealth.
Mahmee, a company revolutionizing maternal and child healthcare with a patient-centric care management platform that makes it easy for practitioners to make referrals and collaborate to deliver high-quality, individualized care online and in person, presented their solution.
The discussion on sexual health centered around how to leverage technology to reverse taboo topics such as Sexual Health and Menopause. Significant care management practices must be rethought to address the many issues women face throughout their lifetime such as redefining the well-woman visit and incentivizing and prioritizing the training of medical students and residents about caring for patients with sexual health issues. A recent Medium blog post addressed the lack of personalized medicine training as one reason healthcare fails to address patients’ needs and why some innovations fail.
Madorra presented their non-hormonal treatment option for vaginal dryness, a hallmark sign of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause, also known as atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy.
By 2050, 21% of the population, or 50 million, will be above the age of 65 and women will account for 27.5 million. A new holistic and gender-specific approach to diagnosis & prevention, therapeutics, and care systems needs to be implemented. There is a school of thought that women have a different inflammatory response than men, so it’s important to make sure that sex-related differences are acknowledged and accounted for in healthcare. Innovations in technology, such as remote monitoring devices, can go a long way to democratize healthcare for aging populations.
The Coalition has just scratched the surface of this undiscovered health sector. While there has been much done to address the inequities, there is still so much more research, innovation, public policy and investment needed. We are interested in showcasing and partnering with all who are working at the forefront of innovation and policy in Women’s Health, please reach out to us here.
Springboard Enterprises’ mission is to accelerate the growth of entrepreneurial companies led by women through access to essential resources and a global community of experts. We are a leading network of influencers, investors and innovators dedicated to building high-growth companies led by women who are transforming industries in technology and life science. The measure of our success is in the results. Over 800 Springboard portfolio companies seeking investment and human capital for product development and expansion have created over $22B in value, are revenue generators and job creators. With 200 exits to strategic acquirers and 20 IPOs, Springboard Entrepreneurs are Transforming Industries.
The Women’s Health Innovation Coalition brings together leading organizations, innovators, investors, clinicians, analysts, and executives with the shared goal of advancing innovation in women’s health. The Coalition promotes greater attention to gender specific research, and investment in diseases, conditions, and indications that exclusively or predominantly impact women. The Coalition members have a mutual mission to promote greater gender-relevant data transparency to spur innovation and better health outcomes for all. solutions.