11 Promising FemTech Startups Kick Off 2024 Support Programme at Discovery Park

Discovery Park, Kent’s thriving life science and innovation community, has announced the selection of 11 promising startups in FemTech and Women’s Health to join Discovery Spark, its growth and support programme for early-stage businesses.

Igniting the growth of businesses addressing women’s health challenges, the special female-focused edition of the Discovery Spark programme offers tailored mentoring and support for startups, preparing founders for success in investment pitches. The programme kicks off with a session at Discovery Park on 21st May, with additional sessions spread over the next seven weeks. Concluding with Pitch Day on 4th July, the cohort will compete for a prize package worth over £50,000, including one year of lab or office space at Discovery Park, alongside invaluable support from specialist partners.

Discovery Park chose FemTech and Women’s Health as the focus of this special edition Discovery Spark programme in response to the Government's Women’s Health Strategy, which highlighted the lack of representation in medical research and the shortfall in healthcare solutions specifically for women. Despite living longer, the average woman spends nearly a quarter of her life in poor health, compared with a fifth for men. Tackling female health inequalities is a focus for the South East region, with a partnership approach between Discovery Park, Kent and Medway Medical School, the NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board, and Health Innovation Kent Surrey Sussex.

Discovery Spark is led by Dr Renos Savva, Head of Innovation at Discovery Park and a recognised scientist, entrepreneur and venture development lead. Speaking about the new programme, Renos said: “Discovery Park is committed to championing the next generation of life science leaders, but even we were overwhelmed with the number of applications received for this edition of Discovery Spark. The 11 selected companies represent the best-of-the-best in new innovations for women’s health, helping to address the ‘missing 52%’ in health equity: Women make up the majority, yet continue to be overlooked in healthcare, with the UK having the largest female gender health gap in the G20.”

Companies selected for the Discovery Spark Femtech & Women’s Health Edition includes imphatec, an inventor of a pioneering subcutaneous drug delivery platform which aims to revolutionise the treatment of chronic and long-term illnesses, many of which disproportionately affect and unnecessarily burden women. The company recently went through their first seed round, raising significant capital.

Also included is Hulk Bio, winner of the Scottish EDGE Wild Card award 2024. This biotech is transforming infant nutrition by offering a stem cell-based human milk alternative when breastfeeding is not possible. BodyOwn is aiming to simplify management of female sexual and reproductive health by providing a central point for validated information, care services, and assisted guidance, using tech to set new standards of care for women's health. Personalised care provider Minter et AI Hormone Health is striving to improve access for women seeking diagnosis and treatment of perimenopause and the menopause, providing consultations and hormone health services both virtually and in-person.

Organised as three immersive sessions held over the summer, Discovery Spark takes place at Discovery Park, Sandwich, and includes overnight accommodation for those taking part. Each session lasts for two-days, covering people, teams and brand, presentation and communication, and business metrics and markets. The programme is run in partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs, NHS Kent and Medway, plus Health Innovation Kent Surrey Sussex.

Dr MaryAnn Ferreux, Chief Medical Officer at Health Innovation KSS, a partner of the FemTech & Women’s Health Special Edition Discovery Spark, said: “Passionate innovators are key to addressing health equity. The Discovery Spark programme exists to champion these promising businesses, along with providing all important networks for collaboration and ideas sharing. At the first Discovery Spark day, our Commercial and Enterprise team led a session on developing and understanding your value proposition. This is critical for all innovators of any stage of development, to help them to recognise the problem that they wish to solve and the impact that they expect their solution would make to systems and patients. We look forward to providing further innovator support as the programme continues.”

The 11 companies selected for the 2024 cohort are (listed alphabetically): BodyOwn, Cooden Cosmetics, Etre Libre, Hulk Bio, imphatec, Joii, Make your path, Minter et AI Hormone Health, Peach, S.M. Discovery Group (SMDG), and Young Mums Support Network.