MATTER launches 51 Labs accelerator to advance women+'s health innovation
Inaugural year’s cohort to focus on menopause with partners Astellas Pharma US, Walgreens, Parkview Health and University of Chicago Medicine
September 19, CHICAGO — MATTER, the premier healthcare incubator and innovation hub, has launched 51 Labs, an accelerator focused on women+’s health. The name stems from the fact that women+ are 51 percent of the population.1 The inaugural year’s program is focused on menopausal transition and includes partners Astellas Pharma US, Walgreens, Parkview Health and University of Chicago Medicine.
Women+’s health has long been underfunded and under-innovated, given the scale of the needs and opportunities. There are hundreds of conditions and diseases that affect only or mostly women+, or that present differently in women+ — such as menopause, breast cancer and heart disease. Despite its prevalence, women+’s health has inaccurately been categorized as a niche space, with only five percent of all U.S. digital health funding going to women+’s health startups.2
The inaugural 51 Labs accelerator cohort will focus on advancing solutions that empower and support women+ during their menopausal transition, which is the biological transition that marks the end of a woman+’s menstrual cycle and fertility. Women+ spend seven-to-14 years in perimenopause and menopause and experience any combination of 34 different symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood and mental health changes, weight gain, brain fog, worsening memory, painful intercourse and more.3,4 There has been relatively little innovation focused on menopause, and with 1.3 million U.S. women+ entering their menopausal transition each year, this life stage is prime for innovation.
Menopause is further compounded by disparate health outcomes for women+ who have been historically marginalized. For example, Black women+ enter menopause earlier than white women+, experience worse symptoms and are less likely to receive treatment.6,7
“51 Labs is a new opportunity for entrepreneurs focused on solving women+’s health challenges to rapidly accelerate their progress. Our first year’s cohort, focused on menopause, will benefit greatly from the engagement with Astellas, Walgreens and our health system partners,” said Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER.
The inaugural 51 Labs accelerator cohort will address the question:
How might we empower and support women+ during their menopausal transition with innovative healthcare solutions?
The 2022 program will have two tracks — one focused on menopause awareness and identification, and another on symptom and lifestyle management. With Parkview Health and University of Chicago Medicine’s focus on providing accessible, integrated care for their diverse patient populations, both tracks will focus on sourcing solutions that address the needs of underrepresented women+.
“Astellas is committed to unmet and underserved areas of healthcare. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the first 51 Labs cohort to support innovative women+’s health entrepreneurs focusing on menopausal transition,” said Jeanine Gallagher, associate director of women’s health U.S. marketing at Astellas Pharma US.
“We are deeply committed to making healthcare more equitable and accessible for everyone, everywhere. By joining the first cohort of 51 Labs, we will help courageous entrepreneurs advancing real innovation and change in women+’s health,” said Marni Allen, director of consumer healthcare futures at Walgreens.
Applications for the 12-week accelerator are now open. Participating startups will benefit from one-on-one mentoring with industry experts, workshops, interactive roundtable discussions, forums and more. The program will culminate with a showcase in March 2023.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ‘+’ in women+ encompasses the full spectrum of health needs experienced by cisgender women, including non-binary, trans, non-cis and all women-identified persons. The term ‘women+’ was coined by Rock Health.
- “Population Distribution by Sex,” Kaiser Family Foundation, 2019.
- “Building comprehensive women+ digital health: Eight sectors serving women+ needs,” Rock Health, September 27, 2021.
- “What Is Menopause?,” National Institute on Aging, 2021.
- “What are the 34 symptoms of menopause?,” Medical News Today, 2021.
- “Menopause,” National Library of Medicine, 2022.
- “Disparities in Reproductive Aging and Midlife Health between Black and White women: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN),” Women’s Midlife Health, 2022.
- “25 years of research shows insidious effect of racism on Black women’s menopausal transition, health,” University of Michigan School of Public Health, 2022.
At MATTER, we believe collaboration is the best way to improve healthcare. The MATTER collaborative includes more than 700 current and alumni startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together we are accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit matter.health and follow @MATTERhealth.
About Astellas Pharma US, Inc.
Astellas Pharma US, Inc. is a U.S. affiliate of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc., a pharmaceutical conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients. Keeping our focus on addressing unmet medical needs and conducting our business with ethics and integrity enables us to improve the health of people throughout the U.S. and around the world. For more information on Astellas, please visit: https://www.astellas.com/us. You can also follow us on Twitter at @AstellasUS, Facebook at www.facebook.com/AstellasUS or LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/astellas-pharma-us.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is included in the United States segment of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), an integrated healthcare, pharmacy and retail leader serving millions of customers and patients every day, with a 170-year heritage of caring for communities. As America’s most loved pharmacy, health and beauty company, Walgreens purpose is to champion the health and well-being of every community in America. Operating nearly 9,000 retail locations across America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Walgreens is proud to be a neighborhood health destination serving approximately 9 million customers each day. Walgreens pharmacists play a critical role in the U.S. healthcare system by providing a wide range of pharmacy and healthcare services. To best meet the needs of customers and patients, Walgreens offers a true omnichannel experience, with fully integrated physical and digital platforms, supported by the latest technology to deliver high-quality products and services in local communities nationwide.
About Parkview Health
Parkview Health is a not-for-profit, community-based health system serving a northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio population of more than 895,000. Parkview Health’s mission is to improve health and inspire well-being in the communities it serves. With more than 14,000 employees, Parkview is the region’s largest employer. Parkview Health includes 10 hospitals and an extensive network of primary care and specialty care physicians. Parkview has been designated a Magnet® health system for nursing excellence.
About University of Chicago Medicine
The University of Chicago Medicine, with a history dating back to 1927, is one of the nation’s leading academic medical institutions. UChicago Medicine comprises the University of Chicago Medical Center, which offers a full range of primary and specialty care for adults and children through more than 40 institutes and centers; Ingalls Memorial, a community-based hospital and outpatient facility; a network of outpatient clinics and physician practices throughout Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana; the Pritzker School of Medicine, one of the top medical schools in the nation; and the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division, with an affiliated 12 Nobel Prize winners in physiology or medicine.