Samphire Neuroscience secures $2.3M Pre-Seed to launch menstrual health wearable

Medical grade wearable Nettle, targets the prefrontal cortex and motor cortex using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).
Samphire Neuroscience secures  $2.3M Pre-Seed to launch menstrual health wearable

This week menstrual health gets a boost as medtech startup Samphire Neuroscience secured $2.3 million in Pre-Seed funding to launch Nettle, a medical-grade neurostimulation wearable.

Over 90 per cent of women  of reproductive age will experience mild to acute premenstrual symptoms at least once in their lifetime, and up to 91 per cent suffer from period cramps (dysmenorrhea) during menstruation. 

For many, the monthly recurrence creates a relentless cycle of pain and discomfort. 

Despite being aimed at providing relief, most medical interventions bring their own set of adverse side effects or demand significant sacrifices. A hysterectomy, for example, is recommended as an official treatment for severe menstrual symptoms, but also eliminates a woman's ability to become pregnant in the future.

Endometriosis affects 10 per cent of those with vaginas globally, while PMDD affects another 5 to 8 per cent.  

Sufferers are at risk of being gaslighted, underdiagnosed or dismissed by medical professionals.

They are more likely to depend on long-term use of over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, a cocktail of hormone therapies, or other invasive treatments that can come with significant side effects.

Samphire Neuroscience believes that those dealing with menstrual health problems deserve better options. The company was co-founded by Harvard- and Oxford-educated neuroscientist Emilė Radytė and Oxford-educated lawyer Alex Cook, and is determined to offer effective, safe solutions tailored specifically to menstrual health needs without hefty compromises.

Their first solution, Nettle, is a medical-grade neurostimulation wearable, similar to Flow Neuroscience's device. In 2023, it was clinically proven to be 2 times more effective than the 21 most common antidepressants. 

However, unlike Flow, which only targets the prefrontal cortex known for playing a role in mood regulation, Nettle will also target the motor cortex, which plays a role in pain perception. 

Nettle is also the first at-home brain stimulation device designed to manage chronic pain and mood symptoms by targeting these two brain regions.

The device uses a low electrical current in what is known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to modulate neuronal activity. The stimulation increases neuroplasticity, enabling the brain to change and adapt by forming and reorganising synaptic connections. 

The brain-uterus connection is surprisingly linear. Changes in hormone levels affect brain structure and activity. This means each menstrual cycle phase changes the brain itself, affecting mood, energy, sensitivity and more. This is especially pronounced during the luteal phase, when hormone levels tend to become imbalanced.

Emilė Radytė, CEO and Co-Founder of Samphire Neuroscience, said:

"Women's health has been notoriously under-researched and underfunded for decades. As a result, women have been expected to compromise when it comes to taking care of their minds and bodies. 

What we're doing is approaching things differently – with the brain as the nexus of health.

A number of scientific studies have highlighted the potential of brain-based therapies. Mental and physical well-being are essential components of a complex system governed by the brain, and unlocking that system's capabilities will lead to breakthroughs beyond our current understanding, and Samphire is going to help forge that path."

The round saw contributions from notable venture firms with experience in medical devices and women's health, including SOSV, FIRSTPICK, Afterwork, Seaside, Ayuh, and CVX Ventures. 

The round also saw participation from prominent angel investors such as Dr Pamela Walker, founder of Thena Capital and Rowena Ironside, founder of Women on Boards UK.

Duncan Turner, General Partner at SOSV, said:

"I have spent my career investing in mental health solutions, and was struck by how unique Samphire's approach is.

It not only pays attention to - and gives a solution for - challenges that are so common yet overlooked, but also aims to support women across their lives, so they could thrive."

Follow the developments in the technology world. What would you like us to deliver to you?
Your subscription registration has been successfully created.