Artificial intelligence tools designed to support clinical decision-making have picked up steam in healthcare in the last few years as the algorithms grow more sophisticated and gain provider trust.
Now, fertility startup Alife Health is leveraging those advancements to lower costs and improve outcomes for in vitro fertilization treatments.
The startup announced Tuesday that it had raised $22 million in series A funding, which will support the company’s goal of bringing its fertility products to market and conduct clinical studies for products still in development.
“Artificial intelligence has tremendous potential to impact the effectiveness and equity of fertility care,” said Paxton Maeder-York, founder and CEO of Alife, in a statement. “Our AI software uses one of the largest and most diverse IVF datasets in the world to analyze millions of data points from patient cycles and provide insights on what treatment has worked best for patients that are similar to you. Your fertility clinician can then use this report to craft a personalized, data-driven treatment plan. Our goal is to enhance clinicians’ expertise with machine learning, helping them to improve outcomes and hopefully one day make AI-powered fertility care accessible for everyone.”
A single IVF cycle in the U.S. costs around $12,000, and that price can rise up to $25,000 with medication. Plus, because the success rate of a single cycle is close to 30%, most parents undergo multiple cycles to have a baby.
Alife’s first product, called Stim Assist, aids clinicians in their decision-making during ovarian stimulations where the patient receives injected medications to induce the ovaries to produce mature eggs in order to remove them from the uterus, fertilize them and reimplant them.
The AI tool provides clinicians with insights to utilize the right dose of medication to extract the maximum number of mature eggs per cycle and lower medication costs.
The startup is also planning the release of a patient platform later this year with educational resources and treatment management tools for medication reminders, appointments and lab results.
The company’s third product, for which it’s currently planning clinical trials, uses AI to analyze patient embryos to support embryologists in prioritizing them for transfer.
Founded in 2020, the San Francisco-based company last banked $9.2 million in a seed round.
The series A round was co-led by existing investor Deena Shakir at Lux Capital plus new investors Rebecca Kaden at Union Square Ventures and Anarghya Vardhana at Maveron.
Kaden and Vardhana will join Shakir on Alife’s board of directors as part of the investment.
“As someone closely impacted by a challenging fertility journey, I had been on the lookout for a company that is aiming to meaningfully move the needle in IVF: driving down cost, driving up quality, and overall having an ability to expand accessibility to this increasingly needed technology,” said Vardhana. “Paxton and his team have the alchemy of an innovative model, clinical connections, and deep patient empathy to build something impactful in the space. I am excited to see Alife become a trusted resource for clinicians to revamp fertility care as we know it.”
Startups focused on fertility, many offering products and technologies to improve access to fertility treatments or fertility-specific benefits, are catching investor attention.
Women’s health startups raked in $1.3 billion in venture funding in the first eight months of 2021.