09. January 2020 | 05:50 CET
Memphasys, Merck, Novartis - Solutions for the desire to have children
Many couples around the world long for their own children, but for many people, family planning by natural means is not possible. Modern medicine can help in the development of a pregnancy by means of artificial insemination, the so-called in vitro fertilisation, also known as IVF procedure. In this context, egg cells are taken from the woman and artificially fertilised with the man's sperm in the laboratory. If successful, embryos can then be transferred to the uterus. The need for artificial insemination in couples varies between 16 and 25% depending on the region - a large and global market.
time to read: 1 minutes by Mario Hose
Oocyte collection and fertilization
The development of the egg is monitored by ultrasound examinations before the egg is retrieved. After ovulation, the egg is removed from the mature follicles with a fine needle. This process is followed on the screen by ultrasound.
On the day of collection, the egg and sperm are brought together in a nutrient fluid. Prior to this fertilisation in the laboratory, the seminal fluid is prepared in order to improve the fertilisation ability of the sperm cells. Subsequently, the eggs are to be fertilised in an incubator.
Transfer of the embryos
The fertilised eggs spend up to six days in an incubator for further development and the resulting embryos can then be transferred to the uterus. Usually one to three embryos are transferred into the uterus. About two weeks after the embryos are transferred to the uterus, a blood test can be performed to determine whether the pregnancy has begun. Another two weeks later, an ultrasound scan will show whether an embryo is alive and whether it is a single or multiple embryos.
The chances of success of artificial insemination are higher for non-smoking couples than for smokers. In addition, birth rates also depend on the age of the woman; the younger the woman, the higher the chances. In Germany, the birth rate per treatment cycle fluctuates between 15 and 20%.
Medical research is working on improvements
With the product FELIX, Memphasys has developed a solution that enables the rapid separation of high-quality sperm. The more successful the processing of the seminal fluid can be, the higher the birth rates will be. A verification and validation process is currently underway so that sales can start in the second half of 2020.
In addition to Memphasys, the pharmaceutical companies Merck and Novartis also have various therapeutic options, medical devices and technologies in their portfolio for the IVF procedure. Memphasys has a market value of EUR 25 million, Merck EUR 14.4 billion and Novartis EUR 196.3 billion. Due to the current comparatively low market capitalization, a successful market launch of FELIX may have a positive economic impact for Memphasys.