Inherent Biosciences raises a Series A to elevate standard of care in male reproductive health
Salt Lake City — Inherent Biosciences, the first Utah company involved in commercializing a diagnostic in the emerging biotech field of epigenetics, has raised Series A funding from an investor group led by Los Angeles-based Propel Bio Partners toward Inherent’s goal of changing the course of reproductive health.
Inherent seeks to redefine the path to parenthood by raising the standard of male reproductive health through commercialization of an Epigenetic Sperm Quality Test (Path SpermQT).
Inherent’s focus on epigenetics is viewed by Leen Kawas, Ph.D., Propel’s managing general partner, as an ideal example of her venture funds focus on biotech startup’s goal of helping founders and management teams “fulfill the urgent mission of advancing human health with disruptive technologies.”
“Inherent Biosciences is pioneering a disruptive platform technology in epigenetics with the potential to advance not only the path to parenthood, but several other unmet clinical needs,” Kawas added.
Numerous stakeholders from patients to physicians and reproductive healthcare executives also participated in the round, which included investments from Portfolia’s FemTech II Fund as well as Alliance of Angels.
Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes that don’t involve alterations in the DNA sequence, which is the traditional genetic basis for inheritance. Thus epigenetics implies features “in addition to” that traditional genetic basis for inheritance.
“The path to parenthood takes both an egg and a sperm and deserves the best that science has to offer,” says Kristin Brogaard, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Inherent Biosciences. “A lot of the burden is on women and yet up to half of infertility is due to male factors. Understanding the unique biology of both the egg and the sperm can make for more informed plans on the fertility journey.”
The funding will enable Inherent to expand its pipeline, scale commercial operations and generate the further seminal data necessary to add SpermQT to the standard of care.
Inherent Biosciences’ team of epigenetic technology innovators is made up of experienced entrepreneurs, clinicians, and scientists working directly with the top male fertility leaders in the country, including Dr. Larry Lipshultz, Professor of Urology and Chief of the Scott Department of Urology’s Division of Male Reproductive Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. James Smith, Director of the Male Reproductive Health Center at UCSF; and Dr. Jim Hotaling, Director of the University of Utah Men’s Health program and current President of the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction, the premier society in the field.
“Portfolia is pleased to invest in Inherent Biosciences as they use advanced genetic technology to help analyze sperm, addressing the other half of the fertility issue,” says Nola Masterson, Lead Investor Portfolia’s FemTech I & II Funds.
Andy Olson, co-founder and CEO of Inherent Biosciences shared why the company decided to focus on fertility, “I have friends who had been trying to get pregnant for years, spent thousands of dollars mostly out of pocket and were told they had ‘unexplained’ infertility. They are not alone, 30 percent of infertility is unexplained. Now is the time for innovation in male reproductive health, and we’re on a mission to raise the standard of care.”
Olson continued, “This new funding, including access to Propel Bio Partners’ ecosystem and network of experts and advisors, will enable us to significantly scale our commercial operations while generating the seminal data necessary to add SpermQT to the standard of care. We’re excited to expand our team, raise awareness about our breakthrough technology and establish partnerships throughout the industry in order to help patients experience a better path to parenthood.”