Evvy: Creating a New Future For Women's Health
Announcing our seed investment into Evvy
We're thrilled to announce our seed investment into Evvy! We've partnered with General Catalyst, Box Group, Human Ventures, and an incredible group of angel investors to support Evvy's mission to empower every woman to take control of their vaginal health. You can read more press coverage here: Inc, TechCrunch, and Business Insider.
The Gender Gap in Healthcare: A Call for Change
It wasn't until the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 that we saw formal guidance which prompted the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research. And, it wasn’t until 2019 that federal funding of women’s health research was classified based on scientific relevance, rather than the percentage of female subjects included in clinical studies. As a result, we are still years behind on our understanding of the female body compared to the male body, and we have a lot of work to do.
1993... let that sink in.
A healthy vaginal microbiome protects a woman against a myriad of infections, while an unhealthy microbiome can be a significant risk factor for conditions that range from bacterial vaginosis, STI acquisition, and yeast infections to cervical cancer, preterm birth, and pelvic inflammatory disease, amongst many others. Bottom line, the vaginal microbiome plays an enormous but under-appreciated role in a woman’s health. And yet, the largest clinical dataset on the vaginal microbiome is only measured at ~400 women! That is not good.
This lack of research and innovation has resulted in millions of women suffering from complications associated with their vaginal health without having any clear or immediate answers. The implications are enormous:
30% of women will get bacterial vaginosis (BV), and 80% of those will get it again within 3 months of treatment.
75% of women will get a yeast infection, and 8.5% will have one again
50%-60% of women will get a UTI, and 30% will have one again
Evvy leverages metagenomic sequencing to identify and analyze novel biomarkers associated with the vaginal microbiome. Common molecular assays (like PCR) target a limited number of pathogens using specific primers or probes. In contrast, Evvy's metagenomic approach analyzes all DNA or RNA present in a sample, creating a non-static view of a woman's vaginal microbiome. This leads to a more personalized care path for patients, informing women of actionable recommendations or proactive lifestyle changes that can help them gain better control of their health. The Evvy Vaginal Health Test is now available in all 50 states and performed as a simple, at-home swab.
Evvy is led by a dynamic management team. It was clear when we initially met Priyanka Jain, Evvy CEO, that we had to back her. And, that was further confirmed when we met co-founders Laine Bruzeck and Pita Navarro. Their complementary experience across product design, clinical operations, and lived experience, amongst others, gave us immediate confidence that we had to partner. We are grateful to Priyanka and the Evvy team for allowing us to be a part of their journey.
Why We're Excited
At Virtue, we believe that personalized medicine is the future of healthcare. There's still much to be learned. Evvy is positioned to collect and analyze a rich and unique data asset that can be utilized to significantly advance our understanding of the vaginal microbiome and to create new treatments and care protocols that improve women’s health.
Equally, Evvy is intent on deconstructing the taboo associated with all matters associated with vaginal health. I'm incredibly excited for the team to expand this necessary dialogue and give anyone the confidence to speak openly about their vaginal health.
If you're a founder building an exciting women's health startup at the earliest stages, let’s talk! You can reach me at email@example.com.