• Matthieu Vallin

Breaking the taboo: Digital Health for Menopause

Launching a new digital venture in the menopause space through start-up investments and partnerships. The venture focuses on pairing biosensors and consumable products to develop new habits to alleviate key symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats

The Context​

As e-commerce and telehealth platforms become increasingly adopted by younger generations, predominantly 20-40 year olds, older segments of the population at risk of chronic diseases haven't picked up the same digital health habits. Consumer health companies such as GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer and Unilever are paying more and more attention to the aging market and their unmet health needs. A particular area which is ripe for disruption consists of menopausal women, who experience a wide variety of symptoms associated with hormonal and physiological changes, on average at 51 years old (USA average). These can last for up to 15 years. Startups and corporates are both looking at digital health solutions to alleviate the physical and psychological symptoms of this important passage in womanhood.

The Approach

For our client, Johnson & Johnson, the approach consisted in gaining a profound understanding of unmet consumer needs and pain points, the recent technology and therapy breakthroughs, particularly looking at pioneering biosensors and non-hormonal products that could be brought to market through OTC channels.

First the project team reviewed the existing portfolio to understand if any existing products or services could be re-adapted to suit the 50+ market. This was conducted across key markets in the USA, UK and Japan. In both the USA and the UK, ethnographic studies, face to face interviews, and digital testing highlighted a clearer picture of symptomatology and the behavioral habits undertaken to address those symptoms.

In parallel, the latest technology and clinical breakthroughs were identified by speaking to clinical experts, VCs, research centers, and startups. This focused on non-invasive biosensors, digital therapeutics, and non-hormonal consumables. The team mapped startup activity and established a short-list of potential contenders by analyzing the strength of IP, claims scope, and regulatory barriers across regions. Finally, proof of concepts were run with startups partners in the UK and Germany, using a micro-site and a social media ad campaign. This reached 20k consumers, informing the launch of the D2C lead proposition.

The Results

The EMEA board of J&J recognized the need to enter the menopause market. This was informed by the positive digital testing results of the site: www.lotushealthuk.com, which generated click-through rates which were 6x higher than comparable categories in consumer health. This lead to 2 startup investments in the startup partners: a pioneering wearable which aims to regulate body temperature, and a spray-on consumable, which uses a novel material which melts and re-solidifies on the skin, mimicking the cooling effect of sweat. The menopause market-entry proposition was estimated at >$100m, and the team went on to build a pipeline of business ventures focusing on femtech, adolescent health, sexual health, and improving energy and mobility levels for the ageing market

Project members: Daniel Mueller, Matthieu Vallin, Alexandra Losneanu

More information at: www.sia-partners.com