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Dartmouth Startup Develops Life-changing Medical Device for Women's Health

Sep 16, 2021   |   New Hampshire Union Leader

"What happens when three female engineers meet at Dartmouth and question why most women’s health devices were designed by men more than a hundred years ago?

"They team up with a seasoned physician and improve said devices," according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

"Reia is a healthcare startup with a mission of 'improving the treatment experience for people with pelvic organ prolapse.' Its first device, currently in clinical trials, is a nonsurgical pessary that treats prolapse — a condition that occurs when the muscles supporting the uterus, bladder or rectum become weak and the organs sag, often protruding down into or out of the vagina."

..."[Kaitlin] Maier ['14 Th'15] and her fellow co-founders met at the Thayer School of Engineering, where they formed an independent study on devices used in women’s health. Maier (now chief executive officer), Ariana Sopher (now chief operating officer), and Meegan Daigler (now chief technical officer) interviewed Dartmouth-Hitchcock urogynecologist Paul Hanissian (now chief medical officer) — among many other practitioners — about top women's health issues, current solutions, and their shortcomings."

..."Reia has raised just over $2 million through two National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research Grants. The startup completed its early feasibility pilot last winter at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, testing the device with 15 patients in the form of a typical pessary fitting visit.

"It is currently in the process of launching its clinical trial at four medical sites across the Northeast. Beyond DHMC, it is also testing in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. During clinical trials, the device will be used by 50 patients. They will take the pessary home for three months, interact with it on a regular basis and report back on how it performs."

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