QART targets the high growth global market of IVF. A few key statistics and market trends that benefit QART’s prospects include:
In vitro fertilization accounted for a major share of the global ART market in 2016 and is likely to retain a dominant share in the coming years thanks to the rising number of citizens who are aware of the ease and efficacy of in vitro fertilization procedures.
The overall IVF market in 2020 is estimated at $21 billion, with a CAGR of 11% with male infertility to be one of the major causes.
There are about 1.5 million ART fertility cycles worldwide, resulting in 350,000 babies annually. Given an average cost for each cycle of about $10,000 in the US, the cost of failed procedures can be estimated at around $12 billion worldwide. This number does not take into account the indirect loss of work days associated with such failed procedures, nor the related physiological, emotional, mental and familial burden that each failed ART cycle typically charges from the couple.
According to the World Health Organization, infertility and sterility will be the third-most serious disease worldwide in the 21st century, after cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
In contrast to developed countries, assisted reproductive technology (ART) were not offered in China until the 1980’s, positioning China, and Asia in general, to be a fast track growth markets. Therefore, QART will initially focus on China’s high potential infertility industry.
Semen analysis is an important routine, extensively practiced in labs, to evaluate male fertility, in preparation for artificial insemination.
To determine the sperm concentration in semen, visual assessment by putting the sample into a counting chamber and then manually counting the sperms through an optical microscope is still the gold standard.
This method is recommended by the WHO and widely used in most laboratories that process stained semen.
Due to the labor-intensive nature of this manual method, several other optical approaches, including turbidimetry, laser Doppler velocimetry, and photon correlation spectroscopy, have also been proposed to automatically analyze semen. However, these approaches are still not widely adopted partially because they can only provide indirect estimations of the sperm concentration and motility.
In the IVF market, specifically the ICSI segment, there are no true direct competitors to the QART workstation. The following are two examples that show that there is a clear market demand for an innovative, efficient and lower-cost standard solution:
A technique, called Physiologic ICSI (PICSI), mimics a key step in the natural fertilization process, the binding of mature sperm to the oocyte complex. As a result, the selected sperm is essentially the same as one the one that would be successful in the natural reproductive process. However, results show that overall the use of PICSI did not improve fertilization rate.
Intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection (IMSI) is a variation of ICSI that uses a higher-powered microscope to select sperm. This allows embryologists to look at the sperm in greater detail. Studies suggest that using this technique selects better quality sperm and results in higher pregnancy rates and lower miscarriage rates compared to conventional ICSI. This allows the embryologist to subjectively detect subtle structural alterations in sperm that a normal microscope could not detect. However, the sperm cells are selected manually for long time, due to the nature of the non-quantitative optical imaging used. This technique cannot be automated, it does not allow to measure 3D parameters but it does assure the highest quality selected cells.