|Traded as||NASDAQ: OVAS|
|Industry||Biotechnology, infertility treatment|
|Founder||Michelle Dipp, Richard Aldrich, Christoph Westphal, Jonathan Tilly, and David Sinclair|
OvaScience is a publicly traded biotechnology company, focused on female infertility. It was founded in 2011 by Michelle Dipp, Richard Aldrich, Christoph Westphal, Jonathan Tilly, and David Sinclair based on scientific work done by Tilly concerning mammalian oogonial stem cells and work on mitochondria by Sinclair. Tilly's work was controversial, with some groups unable to replicate it.
As of December 2016, the company was developing two in vitro fertilization services. In one service, which it calls "Augment", it would harvest putative oogonial stem cells from a woman, extract mitochondria from those cells, and inject them into an oocyte from the woman, along with sperm, in a form of augmented intracytoplasmic sperm injection ("ICSI"). In the other, which it calls "OvaTure," it would harvest putative oogonial stem cells from a woman, mature them into oocytes in vitro, and then fertilize them with ICSI. It had introduced the Augment service in 2014 in ten clinics located in the United Arab Emirates, Canada and Japan. The company's claims about its services were controversial from their first announcements.
Dipp, Aldrich, Westphal, and Sinclair had previously worked together to found and develop Sirtris Pharmaceuticals around Sinclair's work on resveratrol — the company was sold to GlaxoSmithKline in 2008 for around $720 million and then was absorbed into GSK in 2013 after reservatrol was abandoned in 2010; Dipp, Westphal, and Aldrich were also involved in Alnara Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to Eli Lilly in 2010 for around $180 million and was also later abandoned by its purchaser when its technology failed.
The company's A financing round was $6 million, financed by Longwood Fund and Bessemer Venture Partners, and it raised a $37 million B round in early 2012, funded by General Catalyst, BBT Capital Management Advisors, Cycad Group, Hunt BioVentures, RA Capital, Longwood, Bessemer, and other undisclosed investors.
OvaScience held its public offering in 2012, and part of its pitch to investors was that its services would probably not be regulated by the FDA so it would probably be able to start generating significant revenue in the US by the end of 2013, but in 2013 the FDA ruled that it would need to file an investigational new drug application before it could start marketing the service; OvaScience's shares fell 40% in response.
Its share price reached about $50 in January 2015.
By September 2016 OvaScience had raised and spent around $228 million. In early December its shares were trading at around $3; in mid-December 2016 the company's shares fell around 50% when it announced layoffs and the departure of its CEO and chief operating officer in the face of sales continuing to fall below expectations.
In 2015 venture capital companies invested $118 million in companies addressing infertility and in 2016 they invested around $100 million; along with OvaScience, other companies with significant investment included Natera, Femasys, and Progyny.
- "OvaScience S-1". OvaScience via SEC Edgar. August 29, 2012.
- Weintraub, Karen (December 9, 2016). "Can fertility startup OvaScience really help women conceive late in life, as promised?". MIT Technology Review.
- Grieve, Kelsey M.; McLaughlin, Marie; Dunlop, Cheryl E.; Telfer, Evelyn E.; Anderson, Richard A. "The controversial existence and functional potential of oogonial stem cells". Maturitas. 82 (3): 278–281. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2015.07.017.
- Powell, K (15 June 2006). "Born or made? Debate on mouse eggs reignites". Nature. 441 (7095): 795. doi:10.1038/441795a. PMID 16778853.
- Weintraub, Karen (December 29, 2016). "Fertility company Ovascience is struggling to survive". MIT Technology Review.
- Boyd, Roddy (April 6, 2015). "Irreproducible Results, Inc". Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation.
- "OvaScience grabs $37M B round for fertility treatments". FierceBiotech. April 3, 2012.
- Carroll, John (September 11, 2013). "OvaScience shares blitzed after FDA steps in to supervise lead product". FierceBiotech.
- Hough, Jack (March 20, 2015). "OvaScience Stock Could More Than Double". Barron's.
- Weisman, Robert (December 22, 2016). "OvaScience shares plunge amid layoffs, abrupt departure of top executives". Boston Globe.
- Zakrzewski, Cat (7 February 2017). "VCs See Opportunity in Growing Fertility Market". Wall Street Journal.