MenoPatch: Personalized Menopause Therapy Solution Takes Top Prize in Startup Competition

April 8, 2024
Beth Hart

Written by Beth Hart

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A Carle Illinois College of Medicine innovation aimed at personalizing hormone replacement therapy for women experiencing menopausal symptoms has earned the top honors at Founders Forge 2024, the Midwest’s largest student-run startup conference. The product under development, MenoPatch, is the work of CI MED physician-innovators who say their solution could revolutionize menopause care for millions of women. They plan to use their winnings to launch a startup company (Equilocalm) to bring their product to market.

<em>David Krist</em>
David Krist

MenoPatch is a transdermal skin patch that delivers personalized dosages of hormone replacement therapy to patients experiencing menopausal symptoms. Similar to a nicotine patch, it provides patients with a needleless, user-friendly, and effective solution for delivering hormone therapy to manage menopausal symptoms. MenoPatch differs from other patches by incorporating mechanisms to allow dose modification on the fly with a single patch.  

Team leader David Krist says MenoPatch improves on existing fixed-dosage products by allowing doctors and patients to administer a dosage tailored to the patient’s individual needs. “We hope that rather than undergoing six-to-12 months of iteratively testing different combinations of patches, patients could use MenoPatch to alleviate hot flashes, insomnia, and anxiety within 3-4 weeks,” Krist said.

Krist says the team, which includes CI MED students Anila Mehta and Lotanna Nwandu, along with Gies College of Business MBA candidate Adam Szeremeta, envisions broader applications for their technology to manage osteoporosis, in vitro fertilization, and other hormone-dependent life changes.

<em>Lotanna Nwandu</em>
Lotanna Nwandu
<em>Anila Mehta</em>
Anila Mehta

Founders Forge 2024 is a student-sponsored competition providing venture capital support to bring new solutions like MenoPatch to market. This year, 20 teams from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and Indiana University pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. MenoPatch was chosen for the top prize among six finalist teams. This prize includes $1000 to support the new venture along with mentorship opportunities with the 1517 Fund.

The MenoPatch team has also entered the Cozad New Venture Challenge sponsored by the University of Illinois’ Technology Entrepreneur Center, in which teams compete for a prize pool of $400,000 in cash, in-kind, and mentoring support to launch their start-ups.

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This story was published April 8, 2024.