First winners of femtech innovation call announced

Health Innovation Hub Ireland will provide further support to companies developing products that cover menopause, fertility and bladder health

Eleven companies have been named as winners in Health Innovation Hub Ireland’s (HIHI) first innovation call focused on femtech.

The winners, which include innovations covering fertility, bladder health, menopause and Parkinson’s, will receive further support from HIHI to develop their products.

This was the inaugural femtech – technology designed for women’s health and wellness – innovation call, with almost three-quarters of the companies having a female founder on board. Almost half the winners, meanwhile, had a product that would be considered “deep-tech”, including AltaScience, which is developing a medical device for permanent contraception, and Aurin, with a non-invasive treatment for hot flushes and night sweats.

Among the other winners were BladderBoss programme creator Amara Therapeutics; Onwave, with its EndoSolve digital platform for the early diagnosis of endometriosis; and identifyHer, which is developing a wearable biosensor to detect and track menopause symptoms.

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The call for innovation is part of HIHI’s commitment to stimulate the creation of an ecosystem of experts and entrepreneurs in femtech. In 2022, the group said it would back the creation of a femtech initiative in Cork that would provide access to clinical, research and business expertise, through the Ireland South Women and Infants Directorate for clinical expertise, and UCC Innovation for research expertise.

Female-focused healthtech has historically been underdeveloped and underinvested, but recent years have shown an increase in interest. The sector is expected to exceed $275 billion by 2025.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist