Canadian Women’s Health Medtech Startup Wins Over Audience at MedCity INVEST

Fem Therapeutics won the audience choice award in the Canadian PItch contest at MedCity INVEST in Chicago this week. It competed with Reach Orthopaedics , PragmaClin Research, and OPTT Health.

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Fem Therapeutics won the Canadian Pitch Track at MedCity INVEST this week after it was favored by the audience over three other health tech and medtech startups.

Fem Therapeutics is a Montreal-based medical device company focused on women’s health. It develops devices for the pelvic floor, which can change with pregnancy and age, according to its pitch deck. Inara Lalani, co-founder and CEO, presented the business.

“Our vision is to provide the Invisalign model in gynecology by creating the first ever platform for personalized devices for common pelvic floor conditions,” according to the startup’s pitch deck. “Starting with the biggest market in pelvic floor disorders where over 1.3 billion women are impacted, we intend to provide solutions across several verticals in gynecology to help women age with dignity and grace.“

Part of the pain point it seeks to address is to develop customized devices such pessaries, menstrual cups and vaginal dilators for women. It developed a 3D printing platform for customized pelvic health devices. Pelvic floor measurements are obtained using a Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification system and the FemTherapeutics measuring glove.

To date Fem Therapeutics has raised $2.5 million from investors to support device development efforts. Fen Therapeutics seeks to raise an additional $4 million for 510(k) clearance from the FDA, manufacturing facilities, a pivotal clinical study and strategic sales.

David Kereiakes, a managing partner with Windham Venture Partners who also emceed the Canadian pitch session, observed in an email: “Fem Therapeutics innovative, effective solutions personalize healthcare for women so patients can get the therapies they deserve. It’s exciting to see CEO Inara Lalani’s vision evolving women’s health and pushing the industry further.”

Three other companies took part in the pitch session as well.

Reach Orthopaedics focuses on shoulder pain from massive irreparable rotator cuff tears. It targets the segment of this patient population who are injured due to trauma or degradation, who experience mild to moderate gleno-humeral osteoarthritis, and who are not candidates for other surgical interventions, according to its pitch deck. 

A shoulder implant under development by Reach Orthopaedics could provide long-term benefits for this patient population by helping them be more active. The device business is currently raising $3 million to support manufacturing, a clinical feasibility study, and operations. 

PragmaClin Research developed a clinical decision support tool that offers real-time motion capture and assessments for people with Parkinson’s disease. It was co-founded by COO Gord Genge, who also has the disease, as well as CEO Bronwyn Bridges, who has a PhD in Parkinson’s disease research. By tracking how patients move in and out of the office, clinicians can develop a fuller picture of their patients and the disease progression, with an eye to helping clinicians develop more informed and effective guidance for patients. 

The company’s regulatory pathway is software as a medical device. Its software, referred to as PRIMS, is a patient assessment tool for neurologists in the clinic. PRIMS is an integrated system that monitors, analyzes and rates Parkinson’s disease severity according to international standards. Patients generate the data through the use of cameras and by filling out questionnaires, and can also track their own progress. PragmaClin is raising a $1.5 million seed round, which will be used to hire a U.S. clinical lead as well as a business development lead, complete validation work, obtain FDA clearance, and to secure a scalable manufacturing process, according to its pitch deck.

OPTT Health’s founders are focused on AI to support the enormous demand for mental health. Its approach uses AI and natural language processing to analyze standard questionnaire data, patient narrative, and biomarkers to assist clinicians with triage and choosing the right care, at the right time. The startup collects data from public forums and also uses proprietary clinical data from 1500 patients, and proprietary commercial data – 3,000 end users whose data is anonymized, according to its pitch deck.

Here’s how OPTT Health’s tech works. Patients provide a narrative about why they are seeking mental health care, whether through a vocal or written description. OPTT’s algorithms analyze them using qualitative and quantitative approaches to generate transparent and trustworthy insights. This provides actionable insights for the care team on the patient’s symptomatic condition/situation categories and a care level recommendation. The goal is to provide a digital solution that can more efficiently diagnose patients and help therapists treat patients more efficiently. It has a b2b business model that is based on subscriptions, set-up fees and customization, subscription to its triage product, and care plans for remote monitoring.

OPTT has raised $1 million so far. It seeks to raise another $1 million in bridge funding and a $2.5 million equity round, mainly for sales and marketing but also to support research and development, product development, and customer support, according to its pitch deck.

Photo: Roberto Machado Noa, Getty Images