Irish company Amara Therapeutics has raised €3 million in funding to help further develop its bladder health technology.
The Galway-based medtech company has developed BladderBoss, a consumer-focused app that helps women reduce the impact of overactive bladder through an eight-week digital programme.
The funding is split, with €1.5 million coming from Enterprise Ireland, the Western Development Commission and a group of private investors, and €1.5 million from the State’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, a previously announced non-dilutive investment.
The disruptive technologies fund grant has allowed the company to further develop its consumer product and conduct a clinical trial with about 120 patients.
BladderBoss enables women to work on bladder health through an interactive video and audio programme. The programme, which is typically less invasive than more traditional treatments for overactive bladder, operates on techniques derived from behavioural therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, along with bladder retraining and pelvic health Pilates.
Founded in 2021 by Brendan Staunton, Dr Emma Carr and Prof Geoffrey Cundiff, Amara Therapeutics is now looking to new markets. The additional funding will allow the company to develop its products for different markets and develop new products, some of which will require FDA approval. The company is planning a €5 million seed round later this year to pursue that goal.
“Digital health is a pretty expensive space to innovate in and to commercialise,” said Mr Staunton. “It was really a good time for it, first that we were able to get the grant, as it was a competitive process, and secondly [that] it aligned with what our strategy was for the next 24 months in terms of getting more clinical data and for developing our product.”
The company has a large target market. Overactive bladder affects an estimated 400,000 women in Ireland alone, and millions worldwide.
“Overactive bladder is just our initial target condition,” said Prof Cundiff, an expert urogynecologist. “We plan to have a series of other products targeting a range of pelvic and bladder health conditions for women available in the near term.
“One in three women will suffer from a pelvic and bladder health condition in their lifetime and it is our mission to ensure every woman has access to affordable and effective first-line treatments.”