With funding from top investors, Gameto aims to delay – if not eradicate – menopause – TechCrunch

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Every year more and more scientists and academics are very specifically trying to lengthen the lifespan of humans and make sure those extra years are worth living. Some of these teams focus on early detection of cancer in order to extend longevity; some work to improve people’s metabolism.

A small but growing group is also starting to focus on menopause, which affects half the population, as its onset is associated with a long list of health problems, such as high blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol and even more frighteningly, triglycerides, a form of fat in the blood, have a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.

The latest organization focused on the cause is Gameto, which says it wants to solve the problem of “accelerated” ovarian aging to change the trajectory of women’s health and equality.

As company co-founder and CEO Dina Radenkovic, who studied medicine at University College London and spent most of her career in computational medicine, explains, ovaries age up to five times faster. than any organ in the sense that they stop functioning much sooner than, say, the liver, or the brain, or even the skin. As women are born with a certain number of oocytes – an immature female sex cell that later gives birth to an egg or a fully mature egg – they end up lacking, at which point their ovaries stop functioning as an organ. and stop producing the hormones that control the physiology of women.

Gameto wants to help delay this process, if not postpone it forever if a woman wishes, by developing an ovarian therapy platform that will initially be used to improve the assisted fertility process but hopefully eventually will also be used. to identify cell therapies that can prevent what Radenkovic describes as the “medical burden” of menopause. Asked for more details, Radenkovic was reluctant to delve into specifics, but says the start-up has already started testing whether ovarian support cells could help eggs mature and reduce the number of IVF cycles that many women have. who hope to become pregnant are currently enduring.

“We have strong preclinical evidence to believe in our platform,” she adds of the company, which is chaired by serial entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky, whose latest company, Prelude Fertility, has created a national network of fertility centers across the United States.

Some notable investors are also willing to bet on the business. Gameto has just raised $ 20 million in funding led by Future Ventures, whose co-founder, Maryanna Saenko, said the company was “deeply excited about the prospect of a better standard of care for postmenopausal women. The suffering caused by menopause is not a biological imperative, and the many complications that accompany menopause, especially early menopause, can be entirely avoided ”as well as today’s hormone replacement therapies, which she said. described as “blunt hammers, lacking in personalization.” “

Other attendees include Bold Capital Partners, Lux Capital, Plum Alley, TA Ventures, Overwater Ventures, Arch Venture Partners co-founder Robert Nelsen, and 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki.

Gameto had already raised $ 3 million in seed funding last year, including from Atomic founder Jack Abraham, SALT Fund, FJ Labs, Coatue Management founder Dan Rose and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.

Granted, the market opportunity is huge and the thesis – given that people are living longer – makes a lot of sense. Indeed, look for other startups to start focusing more directly on delayed menopause.

Already, Gameto has competition, notably from Celmatix, a 12-year-old company that is creating a drug program to slow the depletion of a woman’s ovarian reserve and which also hopes to separate a woman’s endocrine function from the reproduction. In the past, according to Fortune, the company has received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to work on non-hormonal contraceptives and early last year, it announced a separate partnership with pharmaceutical giant Bayer and the company. Drug Development Agency Evotec.

In the meantime, researchers have been addressing the issue of treating menopause as a treatable disease for at least several years. You can check out an earlier article from 2019 here.

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