With infertility growing globally, the industry is turning to smart ways to improve outcomes of assisted reproduction like IVF. Distressingly, despite a 30-year legacy and technological advancements, the success rates of IVF remain very low. A major driver of success in IVF is in the selection of the best embryo for implantation. This selection is currently manual, subjective, and imprecise. The low success rates of IVF are causing women to shy away from this highly emotional and physically taxing procedure.
Start-up Life Whisperer is applying an artificial intelligence (AI) driven approach to provide non-invasive image analysis for embryos that will assess the viability of an embryo by applying algorithms that extract important information about the embryo, including its morphological features. It matches health criteria based on both computer vision and image analysis, as well as published experimental embryology research.
Life Whisperer founders include start-up veteran Dr Michelle Perugini who has significant experience in stem cell biology and commercializing advanced AI technology, boasting a successful exit of advanced AI predictive analytics firm ISD Analytics to Ernst & Young.
Co-founder and inventor of the technique, Dr Jonathan Hall , is a University of Adelaide physics PhD graduate. Dr Hall conceived the Life Whisperer concept and entered the idea into the 2016 Australian eChallenge program run by the Entrepreneurship, Commercialization and Innovation Centre (ECIC) under Zrinka Tokic at the University of Adelaide. The team won both the best Medical Innovation and Research Commercialization awards.
Dr Perugini was a mentor on that program and discovered a shared vision for Life Whisperer, as well as a rare match of complementary skills covering scientific medical research, software engineering, and commercialization. The Life Whisperer team is supported by Dr Don Perugini who is a co-founder and investor with significant expertise in bringing AI technology to market. Dr's Perugini are also founders of Presagen, which applies behavioral AI technology to automate complex human-centric tasks in businesses. The synergy and shared vision of the two businesses provides a sound platform on which to springboard the success of Life Whisperer.
"Life Whisperer launches with a great deal of confidence around its ability to disrupt the fertility sector with a completely non-invasive AI-enabled solution that will improve the chances of IVF success" said Dr Michelle Perugini.
"We feel for people who have been through the devastating emotions of unsuccessful IVF. We want to help families by deploying leading-edge technology, and we have the skills and drive to execute this well" adds Dr Jonathan Hall.
Life Whisperer is currently looking to identify a commercial partner to conduct the next phase of validation of its technology, and then has its sights set on early investment to scale the technology globally.
Source and top image: Life Whisperer