20 Cutting Edge Women’s Health Inventions to Watch

From urine breast cancer screening to smart tampons, these up-and-coming female-founded brands are transforming the women's healthcare industry through technological innovation.

By Quinn Devita

The global women’s healthcare market was valued at $35 billion in 2019—and yet, so many facets of women’s healthcare lack credible, affordable, and accessible solutions for all women. Here, we highlight 14 female founders reshaping the women’s healthcare industry with the inventions and platforms of tomorrow: from urine breast cancer screening and vaginal bacteria cures to at-home sexual assault kits and smart tampons—and everything in between.

BIOMILQ

BIOMILQ has developed the first lab-grown milk with the same nutritional components and complexity of breast milk. Co-founded by scientists Leila Strickland and Michelle Egger, BIOMILQ’s lab-grown mammary cells make the two key components of breast milk: lactose and casein, marking a pivotal step in creating a cultured breast milk that’s “nutritionally equivalent” to the real thing.

The Blue Box

Winner of the James Dyson Award, The Blue Box is a coming-soon biomedical urine test for pain-free, low-cost, in-home breast cancer testing. Founded by Judit Giró Benet, the test asks users to collect urine in a plastic cup, place it inside The Blue Box, and press “start” in the app. Within 30 seconds, six chemical sensors inside The Blue Box react to certain breast cancer biomarkers (if any are present), with results displayed on the user’s phone.

Brilliantly

A platform offering services and content for women who have had breast implant reconstruction after a mastectomy, Brilliantly has just launched its first product, an app-controlled warming wearable to be placed inside a bra to aid the healing process after surgery. Founder and CEO Kristen Carbone launched the company in 2017 after her mother, Lisa, died from metastatic breast cancer and she underwent a preventive mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

Nella NuSpec

Ceek Women’s Health founder Fahti Khosrowshahi never wanted to hear the sound of a metal speculum clanking as it expanded and locked into place again. She built the Nella NuSpec Reusable Vaginal Speculum, which is thin as a tampon, operates quietly, and without that dreaded cold feeling, keeping patients comfortable and at ease.

Tuune

Tuune leverages AI and biological testing to match women with contraception that actually works for their bodies. Co-founded by Shardi Nahavandi, the platform will aggregate data from each patient’s mail-in swab sample and an online health assessment to provide a detailed, holistic report of a user’s hormonal health, allowing users to choose their birth control rather than conforming to the industry-standard “one size fits all”.

NextGen Jane

Founded in 2014, NextGen Jane is currently beta testing a smart tampon that collects menstrual blood to diagnose women’s vaginal diseases. Co-founded by Ridhi Tariyal, NextGen Jane’s smart tampon allows users to mail-in cells shed during menstruation to track biological changes that are predictive of disease.

Sonio

Birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies born in Europe and the U.S. each year, yet only 50 percent of birth defects are detected before birth during fetal ultrasound scans. Tailored for physicians in charge of prenatal diagnosis, Sonio uses AI to helps practitioners analyze and diagnose congenital malformations in real time. Co-founded by Cécile Brosset, Sonio aims to bring this expertise to healthcare professionals worldwide, especially in remote locations and emerging countries.

Celmatix

Founded by Priya Beim, Celmatix is helping to expand ovarian health beyond fertility issues, which includes tackling painful conditions for women like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome—as well as menopause. Celmatix’s new drug program, which would effectively slow the depletion of a woman’s ovarian reserve, has the potential to revolutionize women’s health, starting with chemotherapy-induced ovarian failure.

iSono Health

The world’s first portable and automated 3D breast ultrasound scanner, iSono Health’s ATUSA combines a patented 3D ultrasound scanner and AI to perform whole breast scans and localize breast lesions with accuracy. Co-founded by Maryam Ziaei and Shadi Saberi, the scanner aims to increase personalized monitoring for high-risk individuals, providing better patient experience and increased engagement.

Leda Health

On a mission to empower survivors of sexual assault, Leda Health‘s self-administered DNA collection, sexual health testing, and assault kits was built for survivors by survivors. Co-founded by Madison Campbell and Liesel Vaidya in response to the fact that 77 percent of sexual assaults are not reported, Leda Health is seeking to revolutionize forensic evidence collection for the restoration of survivor’s autonomy.

Dotlab

Named after Dorothy “Dot” Crowfoot Hodgkin, who in 1964 won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her defining work in X-ray crystallography, Dotlab is pioneering a non-invasive blood test to diagnose endometriosis. Founder and CEO Heather Bowerman launched Dotlab in response to the current diagnostic test for endometriosis, an invasive laparoscopic procedure, which carries risks like internal bleeding, infections, and hernia.

OCON Healthcare

OCON Healthcare is providing high-quality intrauterine drug-delivery technology to improve women’s health and quality of life. Founded by Karen Leshem in 2011, the company’s newest patented product, the IUB (Intra Uterine Ball), carries multiple drugs to the uterus to treat a variety of conditions from uterine bleeding to fibroids. 

Base

An at-home lab test that allows you to discover the root cause of persistent health issues, Base aims to improve your diet, sleep, stress, and fatigue. Founded by Lola Priego, Base was built to track health through at-home blood and salvia testing, while translating results for users to understand, access, and measure their health over time.

Paloma health

An estimated 20 million Americans live with thyroid disease, and as many as 60 percent of them are unaware of it. C0-founded by Marina Tarasova in 2018, digital health platform Paloma Health provides at-home thyroid blood tests and comprehensive personalized health plans with online consultations with a doctor ($99/30 minutes) and nutritionist ($75/30 minutes) once you get your results.

Sugarbreak

Now available at Target, Sugarbreak is a natural, non-prescription line of supplements that promote healthy blood sugar and curb sugar cravings. Passionate about finding a solution for blood sugar management that was both natural and accessible after witnessing a close friend struggling with Type 1 diabetes, CEO and co-founder Scarlett Leung tapped into her belief in Herbal Medicine to lead the way when formulating Sugarbreak’s product line.

Milli

Milli by Materna Medical is the first and only patient-controlled dilatory device, helping women living with dyspareunia, recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse. Vaginal dilators (also known as vaginal trainers) are tools to help restore or expand the pelvic floor muscles and vaginal tissues. Milli helps women to begin or resume vaginal penetration, whether for sexual activity, use of tampons, or tolerance of a gynecological exam.

SafeBeat Rx

SafeBeat Rx is a techhealth company centered on improving the treatment of heart rhythm disorders. Co-founded by Dr. Rachita Navara, SafeBeat’s cardiac care replaces hospitalization with a take-home kit that combines FDA-approved wearables with life-saving ECG software that lets patients start heart medications safely at home.

AOA

AOA has developed the first liquid biopsy test that accurately enables early diagnosis of ovarian cancer through the analysis of tumor marker gangliosides. Co-founded by Oriana Papin-Zoghbi and Anna Jeter, AOA’s focus on the early diagnosis of Ovarian cancer is expected to half the number of deaths and significantly reduce the high costs of treatment and recurrence.

Matrubials

Matrubials is an anti-infectives company focused on using human milk peptides as therapeutics to address antimicrobial resistance and modern diseases like Bacterial Vaginosis. Co-founded by Dr. Ishita M. Shah, Matrubials’ new AI-enabled technology allows for the identification of bioactive molecules within the body to help treat symptoms of various vaginal diseases.

Luminate

Luminate is ending chemotherapy induced hair loss with their unique portable, comfortable, and wearable medical solution that allows patients to maintain their confidence and dignity during treatment. Co-founded by Bárbara Oliveira, Luminate’s device is a mechanized compression garment that uses only soft materials to apply pressure to the head while a patient is undergoing chemotherapy. By restricting blood flow to the skin of the scalp only, it allows the drugs to flow unimpeded to wherever the tumor or cancer site is while saving the hair follicles from damage.

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