Over 30 years ago, the International Day of Action for Women’s Health was established by women’s rights activists to speak out and raise awareness of reproductive, sexual and maternal health issues faced by women globally. Today, the awareness day is still observed and aims to strive towards a holistic, women-centric and rights-based approach to women’s health.
At Optimum, we work with a number of clients who are dedicated to improving women’s health and treatment options, so on this International Day of Action for Women’s Health we want to recognise these companies and the work they do.
Versameb, is a next generation RNA company, with a lead candidate program in Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). SUI is a very common bladder problem, which is thought to affect about 1 in 3 women during their lifetime. Despite the high prevalence of the condition and the debilitating day-to-day effects it has, there are currently no drug treatments approved that restore function and have a long-term effect.
Versameb has developed a groundbreaking, proprietary technology platform VERSagile which optimizes the application of functional RNA in different disease contexts. Its lead therapeutic candidate, VMB-100, is currently undergoing advanced preclinical development activities and has demonstrated first-in-class potential for treatment of SUI in a pre-clinical animal model. These findings demonstrate regeneration and functional restoration of the urinary sphincter. Versameb aims to file for Investigational New Drug (IND) and commence clinical development later this year.
MinervaX is pursuing the development of a maternal vaccine for the prevention of adverse pregnancy outcomes and life-threating infections caused by Group B streptococcus (GBS) for the prevention of adverse pregnancy outcomes and life-threatening infections in newborns during the first 3 months of life. GBS is estimated to be responsible for some 320,000 cases of neonatal invasive disease, 60,000 stillbirths, 3,500,000 preterm deliveries, and 10,000 babies suffering from long-term neurological damage annually world-wide. Current preventive strategies are insufficient and there is an urgent medical need for a maternal vaccine to reduce the global GBS burden. MinervaX’s maternal GBS vaccine is based on adjuvanted protein antigens covering close to 100% of clinical GBS isolates.
MinervaX’s GBS vaccine received Fast Track regulatory status by the FDA which is designed to facilitate the development of investigational treatments with the potential to address unmet medical needs in serious life-threatening conditions.
The BioInnovation Institute is dedicated to improving women’s health by supporting and accelerating start-up companies working in the space. Its Women’s Health Initiative aims to strengthen the European ecosystem for innovative translational research and start-ups that address the high unmet medical needs within women’s health. Some examples of the start-ups supported through the BII program include:
- FimmCyte – developing the first disease-modifying treatment for endometriosis to help relieve the millions of women affected by this painful disease.
- Dawn Bio – developing a drug discovery platform based on human embryo models for drug development for women’s reproductive health.
- Notify Therapeutics – focusing on the initial ovarian follicle development to help infertile women who do not benefit from today’s standard hormone treatment.
- Cirqle Biomedical has developed an innovative contraceptive for women without the many side effects of hormonal birth control.