Vira Health, creators of the menopause support app Stella, has acquired London-based menopause treatment prescriber Alva for an undisclosed sum.
Alva runs an online portal where women experiencing the menopause can be prescribed what's known as hormone replacement therapy, specific hormones that boost oestrogen in the body and relieve symptoms.
To receive the medicine patients sign up and complete a virtual consultation - consulting questions are certified by UK regulator Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. They can also tap into an extensive advice library and community where women experiencing the menopause can support one another.
Low mood, brain fog, night sweats and genital symptoms are among the difficulties experienced by women during the menopause, which typically occurs around 12 months after a woman's last period and most often at 45 to 55 years old, lasting seven to 14 years, according to US and UK health providers.
Accessing health provision can become a big issue due to personal variations from woman to woman as to the combination, frequency and severity of symptoms, and this can prevent some women from getting treatment.
Vira Health's internal data suggest less than 10% of women felt their traditional doctor helped sufficiently, while 40% didn't seek help at all. According to a report by the Fawcett Society, some 44% of women reported problems at work during the menopause, with 10% of the survey leaving employment.
The Stella app currently offers personalised behaviour-based therapy for managing menopause symptoms. Buying Alva will enable Vira Health to launch Stella +, a fully-regulated online prescribing menopause clinic that would be provided through employers to offer their staff drug-based menopause therapies as well as non-hormonal alternatives.
In the UK, Vira Health has been targeting expansion following the launch of a government-led Menopause Taskforce to change societal attitudes, backed by employers including banking firm NatWest and clothing retailer ASOS.
Octupus Ventures led a $12 million round for Vira Health in March with participation from Optum Ventures and existing investors — including LocalGlobe, MMC Ventures and Amino Collective.
Rebecca Love, co-founder at Vira Health, said: “While menopause is increasingly in the news and workplaces are being asked to do more, there are no new products that make treatment fundamentally better.
"The Alva acquisition allows us to rule out alternative conditions, diagnose their stage of menopause and, when appropriate, recommend the appropriate HRT for their specific symptoms.
"This complements our behavioural care offer through the Stella app which gives everything needed to manage menopause so they can get on with their lives."