FertilityPro offers a turn-around on how reproductively challenged couples are treated today. The spin-out from Rigshospitalet is developing an efficient treatment with an existing drug that can increase sperm count for men as an alternative to the existing golden standard therapy – assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF or ICSI.
During the past three months, FertilityPro has been part of the Business Acceleration Academy (BAA) and focused on developing the business side of the strong science they present. We had a talk with Medical Doctor, Sam Kafai Yahyavi, who has co-founded FertilityPro in collaboration with Research Group Leader and Medical Doctor, Martin Blomberg Jensen.
What is your solution?
Based on 10 years of research, our group has found that patients treated with a RANKL inhibitor significantly increases their sperm production and fertility. We have used an existing RANKL inhibitor – the drug Denosumab – and repurposed it towards male infertility. The drug is used clinically worldwide against osteoporosis and has few side effects.
How could this change our approach to infertility treatment?
Our solution is a cheaper, faster and safer approach than assisted reproductive techniques and it could be the solution to the worldwide problem of infertility that affects 15% of all couples and where the male contributes to the problem in 50% of cases. Assisted reproductive techniques is an expensive solution with long term hormone treatment that is associated with many side effects for the female partner and used even when it is a male problem that is causing infertility. We provide a solution that treats the disease rather than the healthy partner, which can even be initiated at the general practitioner with simple injections – breaking the stigma and taboo of seeking a specialist, which along with price is the main reason many infertile couples do not seek help.
How far have you come?
We have already proven the effect in mice and humans. We are now in the process of unblinding a randomized clinical trial from Rigshospitalet with 100 patients and if all goes well our next step is to initiate a dose study to discover how low we can go and maintain the same effect. When treating otherwise healthy individuals, we must be extremely cautious, and a lower dose means less adverse effects. When using Denosumab to treat osteoporosis, the patient is given injections twice a year and it is a lifelong treatment. In infertility treatment, it will be at a lower dose and only one injection will be required to see results.
What insights have you gained in the BAA program?
Both Martin and I are scientists and at our first pitch we were far off the business perspectives because we have merely focused on the science. The BAA program has given us so much in terms of insight into how to build a business, how to go from idea to product, who to contact and how to get the team right. Moreover, we have initiated negotiations with the relevant partners to bring this project forward to the next phase. It is something we could not have done on our own.
Want to learn more about FertilityPro? Watch their 7-minute pitch at our virtual DemoDay on May 27 alongside the five other start-ups in the Business Acceleration Academy. Sign up for DemoDay and read the interviews below.
Read the interviews with the five other start-ups that will pitch at DemoDay:
Health tech start-up: Paragit Solutions
Bio-industrial start-up: Chromologics
Therapeutics start-up: BOOST Pharma
Health tech start-up: WARD 24/7
Bio-industrial start-up: SecondCircle