Gaurasundar Conley Presents Annaida Technologies at LSI Europe '23

Annaida Technologies vision is to transform the way microscopic life is measured, analyzed, and understood.
Gaurasundar Conley
Gaurasundar Conley
CEO, Annaida Technologies



Gaurasundar Conley  0:02  
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you all for coming. As he said, I'm Gaurasundar Conley, co-founder and CEO of Annaida Technologies. We're a spinoff of the EPFL in Lausanne, based in Switzerland, or developing as new technological solutions to enable higher success rates for those couples that are struggling with in vitro fertilization. To make it simple, we help people to make babies, but not in the way you might think of, because more and more that way is not working out for people, at least one in 10 couples worldwide are struggling now with with infertility. For most of them, the only concretely viable solution is to go through in vitro fertilization. And that's when the fun stops, because it's still quite an expensive process and the success rates remain frustratingly low, which lead to people having to do it more and more times, which compounds of course, the cost and the and the stress. So what are the problems there? One of the key bottlenecks in the process comes when you when the doctor has to select which embryo to prioritize for transfer. Because well, back in the day, you will typically have maybe two to 10 embryos at your disposal, they will just transfer all of them. But fortunately, was realized that multiple pregnancies had their own issues. So the standard became one by one, but which one, and we're dealing with embryos, so they're small and delicate. So this is very much limited the tools at the disposal of the doctors and the technologies available to help in this decision. So the standards became limited. The main one is to do morphological analysis, which consists in looking at the embryos and evaluating visually in a qualitative manner, which has the best chances if you get more quantitative more and more seeing the use of genetic testing. But this requires an invasive biopsy where you chop off a piece of the embryo has to be done an off site lab, so adds time and of course cost. That's where we're entering we're developing proprietary technology that allows you to access quantitative information on the crucial metabolic one quantities inside the embryos, all accessible in a non invasive way. So we're using tried and true technology behind MRI with decades of medical life saving applications. And what we've been able to do was to shrink down this capability and make it accessible for the first time and the tiny scale of single embryos. So the device which will offer as a consumable will simply require the doctor to place multiple embryos in it's connected to a machine for analysis, and it will output a ranking guiding and supporting the decision of the doctor. This will lead in turn to the main goal for the couples in this process, which is as short as a of a process as possible with the fewest number of attempts. Mentioned offering a consumable and this is a key part of the business model, which we call the Nespresso for fertility. It's the machining consumable model. We would offer the machine along with consumables to clinics which can offer as they already do, they offer screening services and treatment options for their patients. Based on these premises, we've already started collaborations with largest center in Switzerland, where we're based, but also leading international fertility now they're called franchises. One of them headquartered here in Barcelona is Elgin. They they're home to over 70 clinics worldwide. And just this morning, we started another collaboration with the leading Center, the University Hospital, here again, in Barcelona. A few words on the market, you may have heard that fertility is a growing issue, therefore also a growing market. But to put some number there, focusing specifically on on fertility treatment. There's over 1 million cycles done in Europe every year, and it's still the largest, most valuable segment, but the other continents are, are catching up. Just I learned just just here in Spain right now, 10% of babies are born from IVF. And it's not showing any signs of slowing down. And globally, there's over 3000 clinics, which is still not enough for the demand that's coming. So it's bound to be an expansion. Our goal in the first few years on the market is by 2030 to reach 125,000 cycles served, which sounds like a big number, but you put it into context, just a group like Elgin does over 35,000 cycles, over 8000 Just here in the Barcelona center. So numbers add up quite quickly. What did they want what they asked us for since the beginning, two main things show that it's a safe technique because we're dealing with embryos, you cannot take any shortcuts and sensitive, sensitive VT two important information biomarkers from the embryos. So we spent a lot of efforts and resources on really de risking the safety aspects, talked about magnetic resonance technology. So the first foremost concern was what do Magnus do to embryos. There's a history of data on MRI also used during pregnancy. But then we were told, okay, that's still a lot of cells and embryos, just a few what's going to happen. So we simply, we went there and checked. So we ran, borrowing from a rubber tox examples, we ran multigenerational studies, also including standard IVF methodologies used to validate new materials, new procedures, new everything. And we found absolutely no adverse effect in the development and the viability of the embryos, all the way down to the third generation. And of course, we've chosen materials that are of medical grade and already used in other medical devices. On the data side, since the beginning, we started building a library of data to supporting the importance of the markers were detecting, we started not with embryos, but with micro tissues organoids. Because here, we could have very good control on the conditions and define the experimental parameters. So we started with the disease models of cytosis. And in a published work, we could show very nicely how we could track on an individual micro tissue level, the evolution of disease. And this also taught us what kind of markers we were analyzing based on on decades of literature on MRI for livers. So when we moved on to embryos, we were well equipped to interpret what we're looking at, and surprisingly found similar, similar signals. And we could, for example, in a cow model, correlate them to different stages of development in a pig model correlate to the ability to survive cryopreservation, which is a common technique used also in human IVF. And more recently, to get things more interesting. We also did the first predictive study where we could show a link between our markers, and the ability to for embryos to to evolve in vitro. So where we are, we started in the beginning from prizes and grants, of which we were very fortunate to get quite a few. But then in 2020, we did the first seed rounds, with with a variety of investors in Switzerland, from business angels, institutions, as well as early stage med tech VCs. 2021, we won Horizon 2020 grant the accelerator which gave us another 1.6 million. And more recently, we did a round of convertible notes, which showed again, the support of our current shareholders, and we even brought a couple new ones along for the ride. So we're still raising the final target is around 4 million. And this is to reach the first in human clinical phase, finalize the device, the predictive algorithm so that we can hand things over to the clinics to test in the real setting. Just a few words on the team to conclude, we have all the expertise to bring this forward to success, and what the team may lack in in gray hairs and decades of experience. We've compensated on a very strong advisory board, which includes a Nobel Prize in the core technology, magnetic resonance, key opinion leaders from the field of fertility and both here in Europe, also in the US at Stanford, and experts from the world of business and the particular technology that we're using. And we just like to thank you very much and if you want to know more, I'm happy to chat it over, chat about it with a drink later. Thank you very much.

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