Emilè (Em) has everything I look for in a Founder leading from the front with conviction, she knows what she wants and how to execute. A founder everyone should want to work with & learn from, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Neurobiology and Neurosciences at the University of Oxford. She’s a former Lecturer at Kaunas University of Technology, with a BA in Neuroscience at Social Anthropology at Harvard University. Alex, her co founder who is an IP lawyer himself and a second time founder, did a great job on our first meeting :) Em had a throat infection & I had an ear infection, just before our first meeting, somehow Alex ensured it was a successful meeting and saved the day. Amazing teamwork :)
Samphire Neuroscience is an Oxford-based neuro technology startup developing a wearable, non invasive medical device that uses transcranial direct current stimulation along with a companion app to treat symptoms of dysmenorrhea and PMDD. The plan is to create a stylish & convenient device reimbursable by insurance down the line in the UK, EU, and US, in which case the reimbursement would be for the diagnoses of PMDD, dysmenorrhea, PMS and may also be approved for the dysmenorrhea symptoms of endometriosis and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
We, at Ayuh Ventures, believe women’s health has largely been ignored so far by the industry. Research shows up to 90% of women globally have clinically-recognized pain, mood, or fatigue during their periods and up to 30% have extremely severe symptoms that range from excruciating pain levels or extreme mental health issues to potential suicidality. Helping women conveniently & successfully deal with menstrual cycle-related pain, fatigue or low mood symptoms caused by dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder is important, because currently there exists no reasonable treatment option for women to find relief, without coming in the way of their daily lives. Birth control or sterilization will prevent dysmenorrhea and PMDD in interrupting the menstrual cycle, however this treatment option carries side effects and prevents patients from having children, which many patients do not want. As for symptom management, there exists no treatment option that is truly effective for dysmenorrhea and PMDD nor geared specifically towards these conditions. Currently, patients must choose from slow-acting, low-efficacy antidepressants or NSAID pain relief medications, or alternatively opt for antispasmodic drugs or nitroglycerin and hormonal treatments by means of estrogen, progesterone. In short, there is no effective drug free treatment option tailored for these conditions.
Em & Alex are already working on roadmap to enter the US market, and are scheduled to start trials in Brazil later this year. They plan to start with patients with clinical diagnoses, as the device has potential to be reimbursable by health insurance since it provides verifiable clinical benefit from day one, depending on the geographical market. They already have a strong patent portfolio, and are now working on strengthening it further, around how the head band works with different scalps, taking a precision medicine approach to non-invasive brain stimulation.
Their revenue model depends on women using this head band, in the next 4–5 years, the team selling a certain number of these devices, converting sales into subscription based users. It’s a challenge in the early days working with doctors, private clinics, not to mention achieving regulatory approvals, in the UK/ EU and the US. We believe this Samphire team will create the first non invasive drug free solution to help women with these challenges, without selling user data.