Sean Fair, neoMimix

A proprietary sperm sorting technology to revolutionise fertility care worldwide.

What problem are you solving and what is innovative about your approach?

One in six couples worldwide require fertility treatment and this is increasing due to increasing maternal age and decreasing sperm counts. Of the couples who undertake fertility treatment, 2 out of 3 cycles fail.

Within fertility clinics the principle method used for fertilisation is intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a procedure which involves the embryologist selecting a sperm and injecting it into the egg.

While the embryologist can select normal looking sperm they have no information on the DNA integrity of the selected sperm, as the only test available for this destroys the sperm. Critically, women whose partners have sperm with poor DNA integrity are twice as likely to have a miscarriage. Current sperm selection technology is rudimentary and is based around the centrifugation of sperm which can increase DNA damage.

Our team at neoMimix has developed a microfluidics based sperm selection technology which can naturally select sperm with more intact DNA. This innovative technology works by stimulating sperm to swim against a fluid flow (rheotaxis), within microchannels, and this mimics the way sperm naturally orientate and swim up the female reproductive tract en route to the fallopian tubes against an outward flow of mucus.

How is this idea commercially attractive?

Our patent pending technology consists of a bespoke reusable fluidics system and a single use disposable device. This presents embryologists with a population of elite sperm so that they can perform ICSI with confidence that they are selecting the best sperm. All the evidence to-date indicates that this will lead to increased live birth rates thus reducing financial and emotional pain for couples. Extensive bench validation against centrifugal methods has demonstrated that our solution selects a population of sperm in a faster and more automated manner and these sperm have significantly higher DNA integrity. In a mouse model fertilisation and embryo development, rates were significantly increased. Live in beta testing with a leading fertility clinic group is ongoing.

neoMimix’s state-of-the-art technology is ideally positioned to facilitate the incorporation of diagnostics with sperm selection, and to further diversify microfluidics into embryo culture solutions. The total available sperm selection market is €280M. Our plan to further develop our microfluidics platform into a total embryo culture system will open up a market of €23Bn.

What do you hope to achieve by participating in Big Ideas?

We are passionate about improving live birth rates for couples and are looking to build partnerships with investors who Think Big and who want to come on this journey with us.