It’s the “Pink Elephant” in the Room that Affects 1/3 of All Women and Costs the U.S. Health Care System $20 Billion Annually
Female Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is a problem that affects 1 in 3 women in the United States; but we don’t like to talk about it, and most people have probably never heard the term SUI. It is the involuntary loss of urine usually due to weak pelvic floor muscles and something as a simple as a sneeze or jumping for joy can trigger it.
Most women who have given birth know exactly what we’re talking about. However, despite the incredible number of women facing SUI’s negative impacts, there are no medications that address the condition—exercises have low compliance, and in dire cases, surgery is considered as a final resort. From a patient’s perspective, the treatment options available today are “woefully inadequate.” What’s more, SUI is a private concern that has far-reaching public implications for women physically and socially, as well as economically.
The U.S. health care system spends close to $20 billion on incontinence annually. The condition is also the number one reason for admission to nursing homes. Solving this problem will go a long way to improving the quality of life for many women, especially our seniors.
Connecticut’s own Elidah, Inc. has found a solution for women struggling with SUI. Led by Gloria Kolb with assistance from clinical advisors at Yale Medical Center, Stanford University and Women’s Health USA, Elidah has developed a noninvasive, wearable therapeutic device.
The convenient treatment delivers SURFACE electrical muscle stimulation to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles for you. A comfortable, disposable electrode is placed against skin and connected to a battery-powered controller worn discretely under clothes. The treatment can then be monitored through a mobile app, the icing on the cake of a medical treatment and truly configured for the modern woman.
Elidah has been working with The Connecticut Small Business Development Center’s (CTSBDC) Technology Business Advisor, Patty Meagher, to seek out the private investment needed to get to commercialization. Gloria’s 20 years of experience as a medical engineer and entrepreneur, and Patty’s experience as a VC raising capital have combined to drive Elidah’s fundraising campaign forward. Patty is helping to rally investor support that will propel Elidah’s success to the next level, sharing their story from the inception of Gloria’s concept through its commercialization.
According to Gloria, “CTSBDC has been an amazing resource. I’ve been so impressed with the depth and breadth of the help they provide. I’m really lucky to count them as part of my team.”
Tammy Warner, a colleague of Patty’s at the CTSBDC with an MBA in Finance and a Ph.D. in Economics, is working on an analytical tool that will help companies like Elidah estimate their pre-money value based on widely used VC and Angel models. “Tammy loves data and she is creating a tool that I will use constantly to help my entrepreneurs play with different revenue projections, exit scenarios, and help them back into their valuations. This is such a valuable tool, and we are lucky to have a quant jock like Tammy on our CTSBDC team! It is a perk of this job that our management team encourages advisors to be collaborative rather than competitive, and we can co-advise whenever it benefits our entrepreneurs,” says Patty.
Elidah has already proven that the device improves the quality of life of those affected, and reduces the need for surgery for women struggling with SUI. Surface electrodes have been found to be just as effective as intravaginal electrodes, and Elidah’s device has reduced incontinence symptoms by 90% after 6 weeks of use. With Gloria at the helm of Elidah, an exemplary team that has 35-plus medical device patents, and expertise in urological devices, wearable therapeutics, biomaterials, regulatory, quality systems, IP and prior startups, this Connecticut company is well positioned for global success.
When Gloria pitched to the Angel Investor Forum, I was the only women in the audience. One can only imagine the reaction in the room! It is doubly important for women-led companies that have developed products for women’s health to have women on the other side of the table and at their side as advisors. Gloria is what I would call a ‘Quadruple Threat’: An MIT/Stanford engineer and serial entrepreneur, with a great product, addressing a massive market. She has developed an elegant solution to a very expensive, very personal problem, and I have no doubt that Elidah will be a very successful company. It is such a pleasure to help entrepreneur’s like Gloria navigate the fundraising waters. – Patty Meagher, CTSBDC Technology Advisor