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It combines vaginal microbiome and STI testing, precision prescription treatment and health coaching
Women are diagnosed, on average, four years later than men across hundreds of diseases. They're more likely to die from heart attacks, react poorly to prescription drugs, and have their pain and symptoms dismissed by doctors. In fact, women and people with vaginas were not required in US clinical research until 1993, decades after many of the foundational studies on which most modern medicine is based.
It's stat like these that led to the founding of Evvy, a startup unlocking precision women’s healthcare through biomarker discovery. The company's vaginal healthcare platform, which has been clinically validated through an IRB-approved study, combines vaginal microbiome and STI testing, precision prescription treatment, and 1:1 health coaching.
"Evvy was founded because the female body shouldn’t be a medical mystery — but to this day, it is," Priyanka Jain, co-founder and CEO of Evvy, told VatorNews.
"At Evvy, we're pioneering precision healthcare for women and people with vaginas by researching and leveraging overlooked biomarkers, starting with the vaginal microbiome."
On Wednesday the company announced a $14 million Series A funding round led by Left Lane Capital. The round also includes General Catalyst, Labcorp Venture Fund, RH Capital, Ingeborg Investments, G9 Ventures, Virtue, and Amboy Street Ventures. This round brings its total funding raised to $19 million.
Vaginal discomfort is a leading reason women seek healthcare advice, for conditions that include bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, STIs, and UTIs, and over 90% of these cases can be attributed to imbalances in the vaginal microbiome.
Despite vaginal infections being the most common infection in women after the common cold, the standard of care is far from where it should be: women with vaginitis are more likely to be misdiagnosed than correctly diagnosed at the doctor’s office, and are more likely to recur their infection within 6 months than to get better.
"What’s more, the latest research has uncovered groundbreaking links between the vaginal microbiome and critical female health outcomes like infertility, STIs, preterm birth, gynecologic cancers, and more," said Jain.
"Yet the vaginal microbiome remains under-researched, and current standards for vaginal health testing and treatment are underpinned by overly simplistic and ineffective methods like microscopy and brute-force antibiotics."
Evvy has, so far, provided care to tens of thousands of women, and has also built what Jain says is, "the largest comprehensive dataset on the vaginal microbiome." While its top customers are people with vaginal symptoms, menopausal people, and people interested in optimizing their fertility, the solution is not limited to any set age group.
"The vaginal microbiome plays a role in symptoms and outcomes throughout our lives, from puberty to fertility to pregnancy and postpartum to menopause, and we similarly have patients in all age groups and demographics," she explained.
All Evvy patients start by taking the CLIA/CAP certified Evvy Vaginal Health Test, which uncovers all bacteria and fungi in the vaginal microbiome with just one swab, including those related to bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and recurrent UTIs. Once full metagenomic sequencing results are ready, Evvy compiles all test data into a results experience along with a custom plan with clear next steps, science-backed education, and free 1:1 coaching. For eligible tests, Evvy also offers clinically-validated integrative prescription treatment programs to improve the vaginal microbiome.
In an IRB-approved study, Evvy showed that 83% of participants who went through its treatment programs moved from dysbiosis to a protective microbiome, and 100% reported an improvement in symptoms. In addition, 100% of participants said they felt like they had access to the right care and resources with Evvy.
"Along the way, we are transforming how we talk about and care for vaginas through our community of over 200,--- followers across platforms. From viral TikToks about yeast infections with millions of views, to hyper-personalized care for each person that goes through the Evvy experience, we’re changing the narrative about vaginal health on the biggest and smallest scales," said Jain.
"Our aim is to bring the best technology to women’s health to radically reinvent how we understand and treat the female body as a whole, and inspire everyone — doctors, educators, lawmakers, researchers, and patients — to close the gender health gap for good."
Along with the funding, Evvy also announced the addition of STI and antibiotic resistance testing as an add-on PCR panel to its Vaginal Health Test. The PCR panel will screen for a range of common sexually transmitted infections including chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and more. It also identifies the presence of 11 vaginal microbes, similar to a standard vaginitis PCR test offered at doctor’s offices, and 17 antibiotic-resistance genes. All PCR results are returned within three business days, with options for immediate STI treatment prescriptions when necessary.
"Testing and treating STIs are a crucial part of vaginal health and sexual wellness, so launching our Expanded PCR Panel was a clear next step for our mission to bring patients the most comprehensive answers about their vaginal health," said Jain.
"Additionally, Evvy has championed destigmatized and science-backed vaginal health education from the beginning and has already set the standard for patient education around conditions like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. While STIs are common, they can often bring unfair stigma and shame, so we are excited to expand our educational platform to cover STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, trich, and more."
The new capital raised by Evvy will be used to scale access to its testing and care platform, as well as leveraging AI to discover novel molecular signatures for women’s health diagnostics, and validating improved outcomes in fertility, pregnancy, and beyond.
"Given that vaginal health challenges can affect mental health, sexual wellness, interpersonal relationships, reproductive health, and much more, the impact of our educational community can’t be understated. Our scientific but human approach brings much-needed nuance and thoughtfulness to a space where women have often been told their symptoms should be a source of shame," said Jain.
"A future with Evvy is one where vaginas are opportunities (not liabilities) for better care; talking about vaginal health is as normal as talking about skincare; and everyone is empowered to advocate for the care they deserve."
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