Coimbatore Women’s Hospital Center in India has delivered good news for reproductive biotechnology innovator Memphasys, reporting the first successful birth for the company’s “Felix” sperm separation system – and it’s a boy.
Felix combines electrophoresis and membranes in a console and single-use cartridges to separate sperm from semen for use in IVF procedures. Memphasys says the device is significantly faster than traditional sperm separation technologies, providing a six-minute processing time compared to the more traditional “swim up” and centrifuge methods, which can take 30 minutes or even longer.
Memphasys last year made its breakthrough sale of Felix to the Coimbatore center and now the relationship has been rewarded with birthing ward success.
Memphasys managing director and chief executive office Alison Coutts said: “This really underlines how useful and important Felix is for people who are undergoing IVF and in particular for males who have problems with their sperm.”
It seems the market liked the news, too. Memphasys popped nearly 19 per cent in the stock’s heaviest trading session of the year to finish on an intra-day high of 1.9 cents.
Felix is the company’s first commercial product and is already available for use in some “early-access” markets such as India, Canada and New Zealand. It is also undergoing clinical studies or regulatory processes in other countries.
The Coimbatore center, in Tamil Nadu, was established more than 30 years ago and operates a chain of fertility centers across four Southern Indian cities. It caters for a wide range of female health needs in addition to operating a male reproductive health reference centre.
It is also regarded as a “key opinion leader” (KOL) in the global IVF sector and a reference point on industry innovation and leadership.
Memphasys has launched a KOL in-vitro study where 13 reproductive centers worldwide, including the Coimbatore center, have conducted studies on Felix. However, although the first sales of the device were made to the center early last year, a combination of COVID-19 and regulatory changes announced last August in India to artificial reproductive technology processes and the sale of medical devices, have stymied the company’s sales push into a market estimated to be worth more than $50 million.
Management is working to clear these hurdles, including the possibility of manufacturing in India to help expedite Felix’s regulatory clearance.
Memphasys has also scored a separate win with its first commercial sales in another key market – Japan, which offers it an opportunity twice as big as the one it has in India. A fertility clinic in Kobe has placed an order for the Felix console and 30 single-use cartridges, while Memphasys is also fielding an inquiry from a prestigious IVF clinic in Europe that could see it extend its clinical trials of its device to the continent.
The company has appointed IVF expert Associate Professor Hassan Bakos to the position of director of operations, a move which becomes effective later this month. Prof. Bakos joins Memphasys from the ASX-listed Monash IVF Group and management says he has a deep knowledge and wide understanding of Felix.
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