Fertilo treats oocytes outside of the body, using ovarian supporting cells to increase maturation rates and oocyte quality with the goal of improving IVF and egg freezing.
Fertilo works by mimicking the oocyte maturation process that occurs naturally in the ovary. Immature oocytes are co-cultured with Fertilo for ~24 hours after retrieval. This co-culture provides the support needed for these oocytes to mature into ovum ready for fertilization.
Fertilo is derived from an engineered line of ovarian supporting cells that aid egg maturation. This cell line was developed by reprogramming hiPSCs into critical ovarian cell types. These cell types behave like endogenous cells, producing and responding to all hormones.
Fertilo provides a young ovarian support cell signaling environment in a dish. Cells that support oocyte maturation age more quickly than the rest of a woman’s body. The current treatment paradigm is attempting to boost a signaling environment that is largely depleted, so it is met with marginal efficacy.
By using young ovarian support cells, Fertilo recreates a follicle in a dish, delivering a complete in vitro maturation environment with dynamic feedback. Fertilo is thus able to replicate and improve the way in which oocytes naturally mature in the body, yielding healthy mature oocytes.
When a woman goes through the IVF process, she takes hormonal injections for 10 to 14 days to mature many eggs at once, as opposed to the one egg that typically matures per month. She then undergoes egg retrieval to collect as many mature eggs as possible. Any eggs that are immature are discarded. The average woman must go through three or more IVF cycles to retrieve a sufficient amount of eggs.
We aim to mature these eggs outside the body. By recapitulating the natural ovarian environment in the lab, we could perform the majority of IVF in vitro.
Fertilo will allow patients to undergo only 1 – 3 days of hormonal stimulation, the necessary amount for egg retrieval, and then mature the retrieved eggs outside the body. This improved process will protect women from the burden and risk of systemic ovarian overstimulation.