April 13, 2024

Stream Health Care

It Looks Good On You

Advanced neuroscientific solutions for a healthier world, meet Samphire Neuroscience

5 min read

Samphire Neuroscience was founded in response to the glaring gap in effective, research-backed treatments for PMS and menstrual pain. Throughout my entire journey at Harvard and Oxford I recognised the potential of neurotechnology to address these issues in a non-invasive way.

The drive to create Samphire stemmed from a commitment to provide women with better healthcare solutions than the ones that exist today, such as OTC painkillers or hormone treatments. Solutions that could leverage the latest in neuroscience to tackle problems overlooked or inadequately addressed by the medical community.

Tell me about the business – what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers and so on?

Right now, Samphire Neuroscience is pioneering the application of neurostimulation technology for menstrual health. Our flagship product, Nettle, is a neurotechnology wearable designed to alleviate PMS and menstrual pain. There are almost 2 million women of reproductive age, and over 90% of them have experienced pain or discomfort.

More broadly, we are aiming to be a medtech company that genuinely revolutionises women’s healthcare by offering an effective, side-effect-free alternative to traditional treatments across different areas of women’s health. Our products, and there are more in the pipeline, are developed in collaboration with experts across neuroscience and gynaecology. We want to accompany women at every stage of their lives.

At the moment we are selling directly to consumers via ecommerce. We will begin with a limited number of devices and roll out more quantities as we obtain feedback from our customers. We’re betting on a strong digital presence to build a community and expand knowledge about neurostimulation.

How has the business evolved since its launch?

Samphire Neuroscience was founded in late 2021 by myself together with Alex Cook. 

We participated in various acceleration and incubation programs specific to the field: the Neurotechnology Accelerator by Innovate UK, the Tech4Eva Femtech Accelerator, the PharmStars Accelerator and HAX Incubator (from SOSV).

As a result, we have secured a relatively large pre-seed round of $2.3M. The backers included some of these accelerators’ funds, as well as VC funds specialising in health technology. This is an important vote of confidence in our business model and our vision. With the help of this funding, we are looking to soon introduce our neurostimulation wearable, Nettle, into the market. 

Tell us about the working culture at Samphire Neuroscience

Samphire’s team is still small, and we all work very closely together, from the first steps of R&D to communication and community-based activities.

How are you funded?

The bulk of our funding comes from a successful $2.3M pre-seed round, supported by a mix of venture firms and angel investors. Notable contributors include SOSV, FIRSTPICK, Afterwork, Seaside, Ayuh, and CVX Ventures. A large number of these funds specialise in medical and health technology. We were also the recipients of previous grants amounting to just above $800K.

What has been your biggest challenge so far and how have you overcome this?

Our biggest challenge has been navigating the regulatory landscape associated with introducing a new medical device to the market. Ensuring compliance with health regulations and securing the necessary certifications for Nettle required extensive research and collaboration with legal and medical professionals. We’ve overcome this by rigorously testing our product and building a strong case for its safety and efficacy, demonstrating our commitment to providing reliable, research-backed solutions to our customers.

However, on the other side of the challenges, we see industry trends benefitting our company and products. Currently there is an anti-chemical and anti-drug movement in the pharmaceutical industry due to consumers experiencing adverse side effects. This shift to natural, non-invasive, and novel solutions supports our timing.

How does Samphire Neuroscience answer an unmet need?

We see what Samphire Neuroscience is doing as addressing a critical, unmet need for women globally. There is growing demand for non-invasive, effective treatments for PMS and menstrual pain, which as we said affects over 90% of women globally. By leveraging neurostimulation technology, our wearable device, Nettle targets the root causes of menstrual discomfort without the side effects associated with traditional pain relief methods. 

It’s an approach that represents a shift towards more personalised, science-based care in women’s health. There is a growing interest in treatments and lifestyle changes based on cognitive and neuroscientific principles, such as CBT and hypnotherapy. This trend is particularly evident among Gen Z and Millennials, many of whom are embracing activities like cold water plunges to promote brain health and neuroplasticity. These shifts in lifestyle and treatment preferences align well with our technology and broader vision of integrating neuroscience seamlessly into everyday life. In the case of Samphire, what is important for us is that we provide a non-invasive option in the form of a science-backed, medical-grade, tested tech product.

What’s in store for the future?

Looking ahead, we plan to expand our product range and explore additional applications of our neurostimulation technology in women’s health. There are two areas we need to keep working on. One is depth. We will keep researching, improving our products. The other area is broadening our reach. We want to be a truly global company and help women globally. It’s bold, but we aim to establish new standards in healthcare in which innovative, tech-driven solutions empower individuals to manage their health effectively and safely.

What one piece of advice would you give other founders or future founders?

Just start! Sometimes, you may have a grand vision (like women turning to neurotechnology as a default when managing their chronic health concerns) and struggle to see the full pathway to get there, but the first step is always the hardest one.

And finally, a more personal question! What’s your daily routine and the rules you’re living by at the moment?

I try never to get stuck in strict rule-following, but I try to exercise most days, often combining exercise with meeting friends (going on a run or to an exercise class together), which helps me keep some semblance of a social life, while ensuring my mental health needs are met. Other than that, I love exploring nature and going to plays, and (apparently) keeping my inbox at zero.

Emilė Radytė is the CEO and Co-Founder of Samphire Neuroscience.

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