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11/07/2022

Catalan startup Manina Medtech creates a technology to increase the pregnancy ratio for in vitro reproduction

Laboratori
Logo Manina Medtech

11/07/2022

Manina Medtech received a direct grant of 75,000 euros from the ACCIÓ Startup Capital line, aimed at boosting the growth of emerging companies with high technological potential.

The Catalan startup Manina Medtech has created a technology to increase the success rate with in vitro reproduction processes. Specifically, the company has developed an instant test that, together with AI technology, determines the moment when the woman’s uterus is most receptive to embryo implantation. This means the transfer can be made at the moment when the chances of success are highest, thereby increasing birth rates with this type of treatment, which currently stand at less than 30%.

Manina Medtech was the beneficiary of a Startup Capital grant from ACCIÓ, the Catalan Ministry of Business and Labour’s agency for business competitiveness. Specifically, the company received 75,000 euros to boost its technology in its initial phase.

Currently, 190 million people and one in six couples worldwide have fertility problems, leading them to start assisted reproduction treatment. In the case of in vitro fertilisation, the process is long and costly, both financially and mentally. According to Manina Medtech’s cofounder, Mónica Rodríguez de la Vega “The success of these processes is highly dependent on the woman’s age and the quality of the embryo, but also on the moment when the embryo is transferred.”

The researcher, an expert in molecular science, together with Luis M. Artiles, expert in mathematics and data innovation, have worked on finding a solution for this clinical need, to pinpoint the window for implanting the embryo “to ensure it is carried out at the moment when the woman’s uterus in the best condition for implantation.” She states that it helps “reduce the number of cycles and high-risk pregnancies involved in transferring two embryos at a time, as is usually done to increase the chances of success.”

The Manina Medtech innovation represents a substantial change with regard to current in vitro procedures, in which “It is impossible to know whether it is being done in the window of implantation.” The startup’s solution solves this issue non-invasively, by using an instant test that requires only uterine fluid. As Rodríguez de la Vega notes, “It means there is no need for the alternative, studying uterine tissue by biopsy, which is much more invasive and requires more time to wait for the results and at least one cycle to conduct the transfer, with no guarantee that it is being done at the right moment.”

The Manina Medtech research task has already been used in a clinical trial, with satisfactory results, in conjunction with the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital Gynecological Endocrinology and Assisted Reproduction Unit, lead by Dr Julio Herrero with the participation of Dr Melchor Carbonell and Dr Anna Teixidó, physicians in the same unit. The next step in the project is to perform two new studies: one with patients and another to obtain a regulatory permit.

According to the Manina Medtech cofounder, the aim of the startup is to implement their technology both in the public health network and in private assisted reproduction clinics. As she sees it, “Increasing the success rate of in vitro treatments will provide major savings in costs and mental health.”

The company’s cofounder values the ACCIÓ Startup Capital grant as “a financial boost for the design and production of the medical device, and to execute the proof of concept and clinical validation.” She also praised “the mentoring provided with the grant in orienting the business project.”

Manina Medtech, founded in May 2021 with its headquarters in Barcelona, has a team consisting of its two cofounders, working with the medical team from the Vall d’Hebron University Hospitals Gynaecological Endocrinology and Assisted Reproduction Unit and the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) Maternal and Foetal Medicine Research Group, with whom they have prepared a European patent application for their technology.

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After carrying out a first feasibility trial in collaboration with the Assisted Reproduction Section of the Vall d'Hebron Hospital, Manina Medtech is moving towards a pilot trial in IVF patients.

The clinical trial conducted by Vall d'Hebron concludes that with a simple blood test in the second trimester, more than 90% of the women will be able to stop the treatment without negative consequences for them or their babies.

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