Each year, more scientists and academics are trying very specifically to extend the lifespan of humans and make sure those extra years are worth it. Some of these teams are focused on early cancer detection as a way to prolong longevity; some are working to improve people’s metabolism.
A small but growing group is also starting to focus on menopause, which affects half the population, whose onset is associated with a long list of health conditions such as high blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, which is a form of fat in the blood, to, even scarier, a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.
The newest cause-focused outfit is gamete, who says he wants to tackle the problem of “accelerated” ovarian aging to change the trajectory of women’s health and equality.
As explained by the company’s co-founder and CEO, Dina Radenkovic, who studied medicine at University College London and spent most of her career in computational medicine, ovaries age up to five times faster than any organ in the sense that they stop working. function much sooner than, say, the liver, or the brain, or even the skin. While women are born with a certain number of oocytes – an immature female sex cell that later gives rise to eggs or fully mature eggs – they end up running out of these, at which point their ovaries stop functioning as an organ and stop producing the eggs. hormones that control a woman’s physiology.
Gameto wants to help slow this process down, or even put it off forever if the woman so desires, by developing a platform for ovarian therapy that will initially be used to improve the assisted fertility process, but hopefully eventually it will too. used to identify cell therapies that can prevent what Radenkovic describes as the “medical burden” of menopause. Asked for more details, Radenkovic is reluctant to delve into details, but she says the young company has already begun testing whether ovarian support cells can help eggs mature and reduce the number of IVF cycles many women expect. get pregnant currently support.
“We have strong pre-clinical evidence to believe our platform,” she adds of the company, which is chaired by serial entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky, whose latest company, Prelude Fertility, created a national network of fertility centers in the US
Some notable investors are also willing to bet on the company. Gameto has just raised $20 million in funding led by Future Ventures, whose co-founder Maryanna Saenko says the company is “deeply excited at the prospect of a better standard of care for menopausal women. The suffering caused by menopause is not a biological imperative, and the many complications that accompany menopause, particularly early menopause, can be entirely avoided” along with current hormone replacement therapies, which she describes as “blunt hammers, no personalization. . ”
Other participants include Bold Capital Partners, Lux Capital, Plum Alley, TA Ventures, Overwater Ventures, Arch Venture Partners co-founder Robert Nelsen and 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki.
Gameto had already raised $3 million in seed funding last year, including from Atomic founder Jack Abraham, SALT Fund FJ Labs, Coatue Management founder Dan Rose and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.
Certainly, the market opportunity is huge and the thesis – since people are living longer – makes a lot of sense. In fact, look to other startups to start focusing more directly on delaying menopause.
Gameto already has some competitors, including Celmatix, a 12-year-old company that creating a drug program to delay the depletion of a woman’s ovarian reserve and who likewise hopes to separate a woman’s endocrine function from reproduction. In the past, according to fortune, the company received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to work on non-hormonal contraceptives, and earlier last year announced a separate partnership with pharmaceutical giant Bayer and drug development company Evotec.
Meanwhile, researchers have been studying the issue of treating menopause as a treatable disease for at least several years. You can check a previous article from 2019 here.