Friday, August 11, 2023

"Why everything you thought you knew about femtech is wrong"

From EU Startups, August 9:

The term “femtech” was coined by Ida Tin, the founder of Clue, in 2016. It now represents an industry that is estimated to be worth $1 trillion by 2027. It’s often used as a catch-all term to describe technology products and services which address women’s health issues.

You might think you know everything you need to know about femtech. But in my experience, some of society’s preconceived ideas about what it means to be a femtech business are wrong.

Myth 1: It’s all about menstruation and the menopause 

Menstruation and menopause are two central pillars of femtech innovation, with companies like Clue and Flo leading the charge. But the industry isn’t limited solely to these fields.

The femtech industry covers all products and services (including apps and wearables) targeted at treating female health concerns, such as ovarian cancer and endometriosis; as well as universal health issues which disproportionately impact women like osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. The term can also be used as a label for female-oriented tech companies more broadly, for example, female audio porn and female financing startups.

Femtech innovation and research into these conditions is vital for closing the gender health gap. Historically, the male body has been the default in Western medical research and findings have been applied to women with minimal tweaks, creating deep gender biases in medicine. In fact, up until 1993 women were not legally required to be part of clinical trials in the UK, meaning we have limited clinical research into the effectiveness and side effects of treatments on women. This absence of data, and lack of sex-disaggregated data more widely, is a global problem. And means that health conditions which disproportionately, or only, impact women are severely under-researched.

Femtechs like (a French startup developing a biomarker for Endometriosis) and Samphire Neuroscience (which is using neurostimulation to improve PMS and PMDD pain) are helping to fix this.

The gender health data gap also has an impact on female patient outcomes. Women are 50% more likely to be misdiagnosed after a heart attack than men, and also more likely to die from them, too. That’s why femtech is exploring female cardiovascular health like Bloomertech (which is generating precision biomarkers to help treat cardiovascular disease in women) are so vital....