It was a full house on Tuesday, December 6th, when 145 participants from universities, companies, and other Danish and Swedish actors gathered in Medicon Valley Alliance’s auditorium in Copenhagen for the event ‘Gaps and Opportunities in Women’s Health’ arranged by BioInnovation Institute (BII) and Medicon Valley Alliance (MVA).
Although women make up half of the world’s population, the research and innovation within women’s health have lagged behind for years. BII and MVA want to change that and thus arranged the event to zoom in on some of the current problems in the women’s health field and discuss how concrete solutions can circumvent this development. One of the major problems facing women’s health right now is the lack of investments that hinder the conversion of knowledge into new treatments benefiting women across the globe.
In addition to speakers from the local environment in Denmark and Sweden, speakers flew in from the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA to shed light on the many aspects currently being discussed within women’s health. Among them were some of the industry’s most prominent players Kelle Moley, VP of Science & Public Affairs at Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Michael Bronsdijk, General Manager for Benelux-Nordics at Hologic, start-up founder Karin Lykke-Hartmann from Notify Therapeutics and Pharmiva’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Andrea Mildner, Mark Barone, Deputy Director of Family Planning from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as top researchers in women’s health such as Henriette Svarre Nielsen, Clinical Professor at Hvidovre Hospital, and Aris Papageorghiou, Professor of Fetal Medicine and Research Director at Oxford Maternal and Perinatal Health Institute.
Only 1% is invested in women’s health
At the event, Henriette Svarre presented her experience with patients, research, and entrepreneurship within women’s health. “When you’re passionate about understanding the root causes of involuntary childlessness and reproductive diseases, it is devastating that only 1% of investments go into researching female-related illnesses that are not cancer. We need a much bigger targeting and development of treatments that make a difference for women and society in general,” says Henriette Svarre Nielsen, Clinical Professor at Hvidovre Hospital.
The speakers assured event participants that the future of women’s health is not all bleak. BII’s CIO, Trine Bartholdy, notes that more action has recently been taken to bring the lack of prioritization and underfinancing of women’s health into focus. And with the shortcomings in women’s health also come opportunities for both big and small companies to emerge with novel ideas that have commercial potential. The speakers from Pharmiva, Notify Therapeutics, and Ferring Pharmaceuticals assured us of that.