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Memphasys franks Japan deal with first Felix order

Updated: May 20

Felix is Memphasys’ flagship technology for use in IVF procedures. Credit: File

Just a week into its pivotal deal with global IVF provider Vitrolife, reproductive biotechnology company Memphasys has already received its first order to put its patented Felix system into clinics in Japan..

Last week, Memphasys revealed it had opened a new door by signing an exclusive five-year distribution deal with Vitrolife Japan KK – a subsidiary of the world-renowned Vitrolife Group.

It is now reporting an order for 150 Felix cartridges to supply five high-volume “Key Opinion Leader” (KOL) clinics in Japan, a move that will kick off the product’s marketing campaign. Vitrolife will provide training on the Felix system to the clinics, in addition to supplying ongoing services as part of the distribution deal.

Felix is a medical device that gently separates high-quality sperm from semen for use in IVF programs. It combines membranes and a process involving an electrical charge called electrophoresis.

Vitrolife is a global provider of medical devices, consumables and genetic testing services dedicated to the human IVF and reproductive health market. The company, listed on the NASDAQ Stockholm exchange with a market capitalisation of a whopping $3.06 billion, has manufacturing sites in Sweden, Denmark and the United States and a direct presence in 25 countries, with its products and services available in more than 125 countries.

The five-year exclusive deal for Memphasys formalises a long-standing relationship between the two companies, with Vitrolife supporting the development of the Felix device from its embryonic phase and providing its media for use in clinical trials.

Japan’s birth rate, in a country with 125 million people, fell below 800,000 last year for the first time – reflecting the worldwide phenomenon of a decline in the number of babies being delivered. The statistics prompted the Japanese government last year to add IVF to its national insurance system, in addition to committing to an annual 3.2-trillion-yen (AU$37.4 million) investment to help curb the downward trend.

With more than 600 clinics and hospitals offering infertility treatment, Japan is seen as a leader in the field. In 2020, the Japanese market was estimated at 450,000 cycles, a number set to only grow courtesy of the inclusion of IVF in the national insurance system.

Prior to the Vitrolife deal, Memphasys had already established sales in Japan, with one clinic having placed two orders for Felix and looking to place a third. The company had also established a strong working relationship with another KOL clinic, introduced by Vitrolife, which has been undertaking in-vitro and subsequently in-vivo testing of the Felix system.

Management says Felix is noticeably faster than traditional sperm separation technologies, providing only a six-minute processing time compared with the more traditional “swim up” and centrifuge methods.

A recent study concluded that the system delivers the best separation technique for recovering high-quality post-cryopreservation sperm for use in IVF.

Once the five clinics have established the use of Memphasys’ system, Vitrolife plans to expand marketing to its next group of client clinics. The two companies are also exploring the best avenues for participating clinics to obtain full insurance reimbursement for using the system.

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