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Memphasys locks in new patents for flagship IVF treatment

Updated: May 20

Memphasys has confirmed two Australian patents for its flagship Felix medical device. Credit: File

Reproductive biotechnology company Memphasys has been granted two new patents by the Australian Patent Office for its flagship Felix system, ensuring the integrity of the device is protected in all markets.

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

The two new patents cover both the company’s electrophoresis device and its method of sperm separation. The term of both patents is dated as 20 years from October 20, 2017.

The company’s latest announcement adds to existing patents in China, Japan and the United States, while the rights are still pending in the European Union.

The patents are essential to protect MEM’s unique intellectual property globally. Memphasys chief executive officer Alison Coutts

The company 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. They include density gradient centrifugation (DGC), which can take 30 minutes or longer.

Moreover, the company says a major advantage over alternative sperm separation techniques is that the cells separated by Felix exhibit significantly lower levels of DNA fragmentation. A recent study concluded that Felix delivers the best separation technique for recovering high-quality post-cryopreservation sperm for use in IVF.

Cryopreservation, or cell-freezing to minus 196C, is widely used for long-term sperm storage to guarantee fertile sperm is available to counter such issues as chemotherapy or vasectomy. However, after examining three sperm separation techniques, the study authors concluded that cryopreservation led to lower levels of motility and vitality and resulted in higher levels of DNA and cell membrane damage.

Memphasys’ patented Felix has already proven to be a significant success. In April, Coimbatore Women’s Hospital Centre in India reported the first successful birth as a direct result of the company’s sperm separation system. It was a significant moment for management to have its breakthrough sale rewarded with birthing ward success.

Felix is the company’s first commercial product and is already available for use in some “early-access” markets such as India, Canada and New Zealand. It is also undergoing clinical studies or regulatory processes in other countries.

The Coimbatore centre in Tamil Nadu was established more than 30 years ago and operates a chain of fertility centres across four southern Indian cities. It caters for a wide range of female health needs in addition to operating a male reproductive health reference centre.

Memphasys has also scored a separate win with its first commercial sales in another key market – Japan. And that offers it an opportunity twice as big as the one it has in India.

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