Making It Work: AVeta wins €2.5m funding for revolutionary treatment
Paula Newell’s Galway-based medtech is targeting another €4m investment to help pioneer a regenerative treatment for vaginal atrophy
When Paula Newell founded AVeta Medical, the Galway-based company that aims to revolutionise the treatment of vaginal atrophy, she knew she wanted to flip the narrative surrounding women’s health. She even built the name of the business around the idea.
“There’s a reason why the ‘A’ and ‘V’ in our title are capitalised,” Newell, who founded the medical firm in 2019, said of AVeta’s title. “If you think about it, with ‘AV’, we’ve got two letters that reverse vaginal atrophy. And that’s what we want to do.”
Over the last two years, AVeta has been steadily building public awareness about vaginal atrophy, a debilitating condition that involves thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls that can occur due to a body having less estrogen.
The Enterprise Ireland-backed company, which last week won €2.5 million in funding from the European Commission, hopes to pioneer a new form of treatment which regenerates vaginal tissue and generates moisture in the process, addressing the pain that the condition can cause.
While it primarily affects women going through menopause, the condition can also be a side-effect of breast cancer treatment, and can be extremely painful.
“When you walk, it feels like sandpaper. It can affect you going to the toilet, disrupt your work and have an impact on your sex life,” Newell, a Galway native, said.
A paediatric occupational therapist by training, she started focusing on the condition in 2016, after enrolling in the BioInnovate medical device training course in NUI Galway.
While on the programme, which aims to find solutions to under-served health conditions, she realised there was a need for a new type of treatment for vaginal dryness – one that was safe, affordable and free from hormones.
“All that was out there were over the counter products, hormonal therapy and also laser therapy, which often isn’t clinically validated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the US,” Newell said. “And many of them were dangerous, unaffordable or could cause issues with fertility.”
When she began to research a new device for treating vaginal atrophy, Newell quickly realised that what women wanted was a “better, more safe, hormone-free way to treat this condition”.
AVeta has now completed pre-clinical animal trials, which have validated the functionality of the moisture-inducing device. It aims to achieve authorisation from the Food and Drug Administration by 2024, and roll out the products in Ireland and Europe the following year.
To fund its growth, AVeta is targeting €2 million in additional private funding by 2022, and a further €2 million by 2024, in two funding rounds that would bring its total investment to €6.5 million.
“That’s what we need to get this product to market in the US and in Europe,” Newell said.
“It’s really when you talk to the women, and the breast cancer survivors, that you realise how badly this product is needed. Women deserve, want and need a better solution to vaginal atrophy, and I strongly believe that AVeta is that solution.”
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Five start-ups secure combined €20.5m in EU funding
AVeta Medical, Akara Robotics, CrannMED, Contego Sports and ProVerum all selected
The Republic of Ireland ranks fourth in terms of the number of companies recommended for funding, alongside Denmark and behind France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Five Irish start-ups have received a combined €20.5 million in funding from the European Commission.
AVeta Medical, Akara Robotics, CrannMED, Contego Sports and ProVerum are among 65 companies to receive funding of over €360 million via the first European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator, for which more than 2,700 applications were made.
The EIC, which was first launched as a pilot in late 2017 as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, aims to support top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and researchers who have smart, but highly risky innovations that have the potential to scale up internationally. It offers grants and “blended” financing – grants and equity – to entrepreneurs.
The accelerator itself provides grant funding of up to €2.5 million for development costs and direct equity investments of up to €15 million.
“This announcement is a great success for Ireland and is a testament to the capability and talent within the Irish innovation and commercialisation system and the vibrancy and international competitiveness of the Irish start-up community,” said Garrett Murray, national director for Horizon Europe at Enterprise Ireland.
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© AVeta Medical 2023 All Rights Reserved
Five Irish startups to share €20m from EU accelerator fund
Five Irish startup companies have been recommended for more than €20.5m in funding from the first European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator call.
The funds are made available under Horizon Europe – the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation.
The five Enterprise Ireland-nominated Irish startups were selected from 2,700 applications submitted for first-stage evaluation ahead of a July deadline.
A total of 65 projects have now received recommendations for more than €360m in funding.
The five successful Enterprise Ireland client companies are AVeta Medical, Akara Robotics, CrannMED, Contego Sports and ProVerum.
Ireland ranks fourth in terms of the number of companies recommended for funding, alongside Denmark and after France, Germany and the Netherlands.