Spermosens - Molecular Diagnostics Europe Solutions/Service Company

Spermosens: Spearheading Male Infertility

Kushagr Punyani, Founding Partner & Chief Scientific Officer, SpermosensKushagr Punyani, Founding Partner & Chief Scientific Officer, Spermosens
The world needs to have a holistic perspective about male fertility to identify a proper In- Vitro Fertilization treatment. Conventionally, much research has gone into female infertility, but male infertility has not moved beyond automated semen analyzers. In addition, male infertility assessments are limited to sperm counts. Although research has found that infertility affects 8-15 percent of the couples annually, of which 50 percent is related to male infertility, male infertility diagnostics have been the same for the past three decades. Enter Spermosens.

Based in Lund, Sweden, Spermosens is looking at male infertility through the lens of bio-inspired biochemical diagnostics and medical devices. “We are focusing on developing and launching cutting edge male fertility medical devices to the market ranging from reagents to conventional devices with an instrument and disposables, as well as simple to use point of care disposables,” says Kushagr Punyani, Founding Partner & Chief Scientific Officer. “Our first patent application utilises Juno for infertility diagnostics, as well as sperm selection.” The company is using recombinant technology and electrochemistry to actuate the device.

JUNO-Checked is Spermosens’ labon- a-chip diagnostic system that uses recombinant proteins of egg cell-origin, directly stuck on a diagnostic electrode. Upon introduction of semen on the JUNO-Checked, the electrodes can directly measure how well the sperms interact with these proteins. This binding and biochemical response of sperms is analyzed through an electrical circuit to determine the fertilization capacity of the semen sample, the underlying cause of infertility (if any), and suggest the ideal IVF treatment for the couple.

Our first patent application utilises Juno for infertility diagnostics, as well as sperm selection

Spermosens will also be developing a new product called JUNO-Picked, a sperm selection device to help clinicians select the correct sperm out of millions, for the IVF treatment called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. “The competing technology that exists … is using certain biomolecules that offer a weak selection for the sperms and in essence are not able to select sperms of the best quality,” says Punyani. “We aim to do this using Juno.”

Punyani came across the idea of protein-based infertility diagnostics following his undergrad summer internship at the National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi. The idea was the subject of his under-graduation and post-graduation thesis. He spent two years developing the prototype of a biosensor, which employed a specific protein expressed by human egg cells. It was a sheer coincidence that in 2018, when he founded Spermosens, Juno was discovered in humans. After filing the patent application, Punyani approached Professor Aleksander Giwercman of Reproduction Management Center (RMC) at Lund University. On a typical day, Professor Giwercman may have refused to collaborate with companies aiming to do R&D in RMC, because they mostly wished to automate the existing process, but he found the scientific perspective of Spermosens promising. “I think we have been delivering on this promise ever since and today Alexander is on our advisory board,” says Punyani.

The Chief Scientific Officer has found support and collaboration of Professor Trine B. Haugen of Oslo Metropolitan University, who, similar to Professor Giwercman, is a key opinion leader in the field of sperm biology, as well as Enrica Bianchi, one of the discoverers of Juno protein in humans. Having the trust and belief of key people at such an early stage is a good sign for Spermosens, who intends to be the ideal partner in IVF and the world leader in Male Fertility Medical Devices.

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Lund, Sweden

Kushagr Punyani, Founding Partner & Chief Scientific Officer , Spermosens

Develops medical technology products for male infertility to individualize and adapt In Vitro Fertilization treatments