Almost every culture in the world venerates parenthood. This is why infertility, aside from being a global public health issue as per the World Health Organization, often take a toll on women not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. That said, it comes as no surprise that every innovation that has the potential to cure infertility (or at least increase the chances of women to get pregnant), is a welcome development.
The newest breakthrough in the search for the cure for infertility is Biosearch Life’s recent patent application for a probiotic strain which, according to their commissioned research, increases the chances of pregnancy among women with unknown causes of infertility.
According to Biosearch Life, 15% of couples are dealing with infertility issues. Among these cases, 30% involved infertile women, 30% are attributed to problems with men, 25% to both aspiring parents, while the cause of the remaining 15% remains unknown.
The Link Between the Female Reproductive Tract Microbiota and Fertility
The new patent application, which involves a specific probiotic strain — Lactobacillus Salivarius CECT5713 — was inspired by the growing evidence correlating a female reproductive tract’s microbiota and human reproduction. Compared to the digestive system’s microbiota, the female reproductive tract’s microbiota is characterized by low bacterial diversity and the abundance and predominance of bacteria of the Lactobacillus genus.
Taking this into consideration, Biosearch Life commissioned the Complutense University of Madrid to test the efficacy of Lactobacillus Salivarius CECT571 among infertile women and women with recurring pregnancy loss due to unknown causes.
The results of the research are promising, to say the least.
Accordion to Biosearch Life, orally administered Lactobacillus Salivarius CECT571 “allowed pregnancies to be achieved with 66% effectiveness, and with a reproductive success [rate] of 56%.” Biosearch Life added that “these results represent an important milestone in the treatment of infertility of unknown causes, which could be associated with imbalances in the microbiota of the female reproductive tract.”
Riding the Skyrocketing Infertility Treatment Market
Biosearch Life’s recent patent application for the use of Lactobacillus Salivarius CECT571 in increasing pregnancy viability gives the Spain-based biotechnology company a stronger position in the surging infertility treatment market.
Recent data show that the infertility treatment market is growing at a CAGR of 8% from 2018 and is estimated to be worth $2.2 billion by 2023.
More aspiring parents who are finding it difficult to conceive are resorting to available infertility treatments as evident in the consistently positive growth of the infertility treatment market (Image Source).
Declining fertility rate worldwide is the number one growth driver for infertility treatments. Fertility rates measure the number of newborns per woman. If the current trend continues, global fertility rates are projected to decline to 2.4 children per woman by 2030 and further decrease to 2.2 children per woman by 2050.
The consumables segment is the segment that is expected to grow the most. This includes nutrients, vitamins, and growth factors. While Biosearch Life didn’t specify how they’re planning to market Lactobacillus Salivarius CECT571 as a potential infertility treatment, it can be assumed that the company is going to be a player in this segment.
Statistics provided by Biosearch Life estimates that the supplement market was valued at 1.470 million dollars in 2019, with an expected CAGR of 7.8% from 2019 to 2029. North America is currently the biggest market, but it’s forecasted that the Asia Pacific is likely to experience a higher growth rate. According to Biosearch Life, “the trend in demand in this market leans towards products that include natural ingredients” which makes it of great interest to the company.
Probiotics: One of the Most Studied Infertility Treatment Options
Lactobacillus Salivarius CECT571 is not the first probiotics strain that was studied for its fertility benefits. In fact, probiotics are some of the most studied microorganisms in the ongoing quest for viable infertility treatment.
For example, in 2015, researchers from New Delhi India tested the efficacy of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus plantarum 2621 in preventing infertility caused by vaginal E. coli infection.
An earlier study in 2009 published in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology investigated how L. rhamnosus and L. reuteri help in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis or BV, the most common vaginal infection among women worldwide and a major cause of infertility. After the 4-week treatment period, the researchers found that those who took the two strains of probiotics reported a higher cure rate — 87.5% versus only 50% among those who only took antibiotics.
There were also several studies conducted involving male subjects and the effects of probiotics on their reproductive health. In 2017, Danish researchers studied the possible effects of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus PB01 on the fertility of obese males. The study concluded that “the hormonal balance induced by the probiotics could also be playing a positive role in the improvement of the sperm motility parameters.”
Based on these past researches and the current patent application of Biosearch Life, it’s safe to say that the use of probiotics will be an integral part of infertility treatments for the foreseeable future.
Biosearch Life’s Third Patent Application for 2020
This recent patent application is Biosearch Life’s third patent application for 2020, which according to the company, is a testament to its dedication to R&D. In a press release, Biosearch Life underscores that this new development is the continuation of its “trajectory in the search for solutions to fertility problems in women through natural solutions.” It added that this line began in 2017 with the “use of a specific combination of Myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol for infertility treatment in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The new product will be launched globally and on the pharmaceutical market.”
“At Biosearch Life, research and development is part of our DNA and is a fundamental factor in our business strategy. Products that we will develop through patents such as the one we have just applied for, also have a direct impact on the lives of many couples who are currently experiencing difficulties in having a family. It is therefore twice as satisfying to see the result of years of research and effort in a real product, which will also provide solutions in such a sensitive area for so many families as conception, and very important for the future of our society,” says Biosearch Life CEO Jose María Roset.