Spermosens’ first product, JUNO-Checked, will make it possible for the first time to determine whether the man in a couple with fertility problems is fertile. The company believes that IVF clinics around the world will be able to use its technology to enable more infertile couples to immediately receive the right treatment. Now Spermosens will accelerate its development and become listed on the Spotlight Stock Market in early May. The company is a member of SmiLe Incubator.
Spermosens develops medical device products for male infertility to personalize IVF diagnostics and treatment, which will lead to faster and safer in vitro fertilization treatments. Infertility affects an estimated 15 percent of all couples of fertile age worldwide, according to the WHO, which means that about 60 million couples suffer from infertility problems.
Over the past 40 years, infertile couples have been offered treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), but unfortunately, only one in five treatments are successful. Couples usually try between three and eight times, without any guarantee of success. Couples who become pregnant undergo an average of 2.7 IVF treatments. Half of the infertility cases are caused by male factors. For fertilization to take place, the male sperm must bind to the egg cell.
Currently, it is impossible to determine whether the sperm can bind to the egg cell since sperm are only assessed for their physical characteristics: number, how they move and what they look like. The problem is that the normal appearance of sperm does not in any way mean that a man is fertile.
The co-founders of Spermosens, Kushagr Punyani and Professor Sudha Srivastava, came up with the idea for the measurement methodology while conducting research in India. In 2014, for the first time, other researchers discovered the presence of the specific protein JUNO on the surface of the egg cell in mice and its crucial role as a biomarker of fertility.
In 2018, a French research team discovered the JUNO protein on human egg cells. Kushagr Punyani and his colleagues realized that the JUNO protein could be a perfect biomarker for male fertility, and in 2018 applied for patent protection for use of the JUNO protein as an indicator of male fertility.
“We want to make it possible for this technology to become a standard methodology globally and improve workflows in IVF clinics so that doctors have more information to make a diagnosis and to be able to choose the right treatment,” says John Lempert, CEO of Spermosens.
The waiting lists for treatment at IVF clinics are often many years long, and if every couple could receive the right treatment, there is a better chance of success, which would reduce the suffering of couples, cut costs and shorten the waiting lists.
“Next year we will start marketing our first product, JUNO-Checked, which consists of two disposable chips and a measuring instrument that can ascertain within 30 minutes whether there is a binding between the sperm sample and the proteins of the recombinant egg cell on the disposable chips. During our time at SmiLe, we have received considerable help, mainly because we have been able to use SmiLe’s laboratory facilities and network with the other companies in the SmiLe community. We also received highly appreciated financial support from Vinnova through SmiLe Incubator,” says John Lempert.“
Helping to solve global health problems is the focus of most of our incubator companies. Spermosens is one of them and the company has developed very quickly. From advanced research to an outstanding patent strategy and a strict focus, the company has reached the position where it is today. There are many paths to take when companies want to expand and some choose to list the company in order to secure capital. Spermosens will be the seventeenth SmiLe company to carry out an IPO and become listed and it will be exciting to follow their continued journey,” says Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO of SmiLe Incubator.
The subscription period runs until April 12, 2021, and the first day of trading on the Spotlight Stock Market is preliminarily set for May 5, 2021.