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GEN News Highlights : Apr 4, 2012

OvaScience Scores $37M in Series B Financing to Advance Fertility Treatment

Approach injects mitochondria from egg precursor cells into eggs during IVF.

OvaScience has completed a $37 million Series B financing. The company plans to use the proceeds to support development and commercialization of its fertility treatment approaches based on the egg precursor cell discoveries of OvaScience co-founder Jonathan Tilly, Ph.D.

OvaScience holds an exclusive license from Massachusetts General Hospital to an issued U.S. patent and various patent applications related to Dr. Tilly’s egg precursor cell discoveries. “OvaScience is rapidly advancing its patented fertility technology aimed at improving fertility outcomes, and we’re pleased to be part of a company that has a unique and differentiated approach in an area with a clear, unmet need,” says John Simon, managing director of General Catalyst, which led the financing round.

Mitochondria are the primary source of cellular energy from within eggs, and this energy is a key determinant of egg quality, OvaScience explains. It has been demonstrated that the number and function of mitochondria decrease with age.

OvaScience’s approach rejuvenates a woman’s eggs by injecting fresh mitochondria isolated from her own egg precursor cells into her egg during IVF. This has the potential to improve egg quality and thereby increase the success of IVF. With higher quality eggs, there is also the potential to transfer fewer embryos, which can result in a lower incidence of conceiving multiples and resulting complications.