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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Partnership unveils first women’s health startup program

Health Industry Hub | May 1, 2023 |

Pharma News: One of the top providers of assisted reproductive services has joined forces to create a first-of-its-kind Women’s Health Accelerator Program.

The purpose of the program led by Virtus Health and UNSW Founders is to close the gap in women’s health innovation. This program is designed to provide a launching pad for startups to develop their women’s health product or service, with the goal of bringing it to the marketplace.

Virtus Health CEO, Kate Munnings, said “Virtus Health is hoping to find startup innovations that are patient-centric and women-centric in design. We are interested in finding deep technologies, AI, machine learning, precision medicine, anything that incorporates big data.” 

A/Prof Vin Smith, Head of New Ventures, Virtus Health explained the focus of the UNSW Founders partnership.  

“We are looking for new innovations that are truly going to deliver clinical benefit for patients. That will make care safer, faster, a better experience, and reduce costs – the quadruple aim in healthcare,” said Professor Smith.  

This strategic and focused approach to commercialisation is in hopes of making a difference in the lives of women and their families.

“The best startup accelerator programs know how to commercialise, and UNSW Founders have built a strong track record in providing tailored commercialisation support to health startups over the last four years. Virtus brings to this partnership an ability to help startups test in a clinical environment,” added Professor Smith.  

Dina Titkova, Senior Manager, MedTech, UNSW Founders, said “One half of the world’s population is women, yet only a fraction of health solutions have been developed with women in mind. UNSW Founders are excited to partner with Virtus Health to change this, starting with accelerating the business growth of reproductive health startups and with future vision of improving women’s health along the lifecycle globally.” 

Health 10x Accelerator Program is the first for Virtus Health’s new corporate venture capital arm – Virtus Ventures. 

Virtus Ventures has already collaborated with UNSW-affiliated startup Drop Bio, an Australian biotechnology and digital health company. This first collaboration aims to improve IVF success rates by researching personalised inflammatory biomarker analysis.  

“We are focused on quality not quantity – we set high standards and engage with quality companies and work closely with the companies to make sure they are successful. It’s a powerful way Virtus Health is aiming to make a difference in the lives of women and their families,” said Professor Smith. 

Kate Munnings said Virtus Health’s focus on empowering women’s startups is mirrored in Virtus’ leadership team. 

“I’m proud to lead a reproductive health organisation where women hold the leadership roles that most impact service delivery. The collaboration with UNSW also sees prominent female leaders in healthcare, at the forefront of increasing innovation and health outcomes for women.” 

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