Springboard is a highly-vetted expert network of innovators, investors and influencers who are dedicated to building high-growth, technology-oriented companies led by women. Since 2000, 537 female entrepreneurs leading enterprise software, digital media, life science, and other technology-facing companies have participated in the Springboard Accelerators and have raised $6.2 billion in financing, created tens of thousands of new jobs, and generated billions of dollars in annual revenues.
Today we speak with Valerie B. Palmieri, president and CEO of LifeCycle Laboratories, which offers unique diagnostics for fertility and infertility management. Lifecycle Laboratories focuses on proactive approaches in managing women’s health issues throughout their lives and pioneers discoveries based on proven technology with outcome data.
Tell us about your products.
LifeCycle Laboratories has developed proprietary diagnostics for fertility and infertility management. OvaMap is the first genetic “biological clock” prognostic test available and empowers women to understand their fertility status and enables them to be proactive (i.e. advance conception, freeze eggs, IVF). We have discovered the first genetic signature that identifies women at risk for Premature Ovarian Aging (POA), which affects approximately 10 percent of women and is one of the top causes of infertility. We use accurate, easy-to-use finger-stick blood tests and proprietary technology with substantial outcome data. Our solutions can predict, prevent, manage and reverse infertility.
How is it different?
We have identified the first genetic/hormone signature to identify women at risk for POA. The current standard of care involves testing AMH and FSH hormone levels, which are not very accurate and fluctuate with age and/or cycle.
What made you choose Springboard and how did it help you to accelerate your company?
We chose Springboard as it came highly recommended by several VC and private equity investors that we are in discussions with. Since we are offering a women’s health product, we felt comfortable that this was the right group for us. The networking and mentoring from Springboard has been fantastic. They have provided introductions to potential investors, angel networks, managed care providers, marketing and commercialization expertise.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are addressing the $4 billion fertility/infertility market, which affects 7.3 million women in the U.S. today. The downstream costs associated with high-risk births are $26.2 billion. Our genetic ovarian reserve testing will allow for personalized prevention instead of reactive dollars spent on infertility treatment. Early identification of women at risk of POA allows earlier interventions, which will improve fertility potential and significantly reduce healthcare costs.
What is your business model?
Our business model is a capital efficient CLIA lab service offering to the OB-GYN and IVF physicians in the top 10 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Our OvaMap product target market is 25-38 year olds, for a total of 6.3 million women. For the Personalized Infertility product, the target market is 1.2 million infertile women in the metro areas. We will utilize strategic partners to market directly to OB-GYNs and a small, nimble internal sales force to IVF clinics, as well as patient advocacy and women’s executive groups for a soft sell to patients.
In addition, the testing will be done with East and West Coast sub-contract laboratories, with the raw results being sent electronically to our laboratory. The final information product will be produced via a rules engine and sent electronically to the patient and ordering physician. Two versions of the report will be sent. The physician will include the test results and a short tutorial on genetics and our Landmark publications, as well as a link to our website for additional educational info. The patient information product will be written in a “lay” fashion and will be tailored based on the patient’s results, whether they are high, moderate or low-risk or normal. If the patient is at risk, we will also include access to advocacy/support groups.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within 6 months?
Upon raising our first outside round of financing of $3 million, we will initiate our multi-site validation study consisting of 2,500 women ages 18-38. We will finalize our kit development and launch our distribution in Europe. In addition, we will initiate a “What’s My Fertility?” consult service through CHR’s medical practice.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community, who would it be and why?
Ronald Perelman, since he founded the Ronald Perelman & Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine, where translation of research and innovation into clinical practice is a major driver of their mission.
Why are you launching in New York?
Our founder and chairman, Dr. Norbert Gleicher, practices in New York City at the Center of Human Reproduction (CHR) on the Upper East Side. The city has many well-established medical schools that can participate in our upcoming validation study as well as provide support from key opinion leaders in the field. We are targeting the top metropolitan markets to initially launch our products, since OvaMap will initially be marketed to women ages 25-38 who are delaying pregnancy to advance their careers and/or attend graduate school.