Organon Along with Regional Experts Shine a Spotlight on How Innovation is Transforming Women’s Health

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  • Global healthcare company Organon hosted a panel discussion entitled ‘Women’s Health Disrupted’ at the USA Pavilion in EXPO 2020 to address how innovation can support the advancement of women’s health 
  • The panel of regional experts addressed the huge potential that the FemTech industry presents but underlined the need for greater understanding and funding of innovation in the sector  

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Global healthcare company Organon and Flat6Labs, the MENA region’s top seed and early-stage venture capital firm, hosted a panel discussion yesterday on how innovation is transforming women’s health. The panel of leading regional experts addressed how innovation can plug the existing gaps in women’s health and create new opportunities. 

The panel was held at EXPO 2020 Dubai’s USA Pavilion and was also broadcasted live to pre-registered online attendees. It began with opening remarks from Megan Gregonis, United States Consul General to Dubai, and Meghan Hagberg, Senior Vice President, BCIU, and was followed with a keynote speech by Ramy Koussa, Associate Vice President of Organon MENAT. 

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Al Saud, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States, also addressed the in-person and online audience via a pre-recorded video. She expressed her excitement to speak about female empowerment and mentioned that when an innovative group of women are provided with the right set of tools and opportunities, they can turn problems into solutions. She also praised Organon’s partnership with Flat6Labs to create a FemTech accelerator program, giving a head start to female-led digital healthcare start-ups across the region.

Participating in the panel were Dr. Nada Al Marzouqi, Director of Public Health, UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention; Ahmed Alfi, Chairman of Sawari Ventures, who has extensive experience in creating and nurturing early-stage companies; Sophie Smith, CEO of Nabta Health and a serial entrepreneur specializing in the application design and development for the healthcare and wellness industry; Dr Shamsa Al Awar, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at UAE University and a recognized an expert in the field of gynecology; and Mazen Altaruti, President of LAMERA at Organon. 

Leaders in their respective fields, the participants discussed how innovation in both life sciences and tech is disrupting the women’s health space. They highlighted unmet needs in women’s health and analyzed opportunities that the sector presents before looking into the role of the private sector, especially female-founded startups, which had previously been an overlooked segment of the healthcare and life sciences industry.

Dr. Nada Al Marzouqi, Director of Public Health, UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), commented, “Understanding and addressing women’s unmet healthcare needs is key to achieving our MOHAP vision of an effective and sustainable healthcare system for a happy society. By collaborating and engaging with organizations such as Organon, we can work towards empowering women and creating stronger, healthier and more resilient societies.”

Mazen Altaruti, President of LAMERA at Organon, speaking on the panel, said, “We are committed to advancing women’s healthcare across the region by listening to and addressing their unmet needs. The future of healthcare is digital, and with 50% of FemTech companies run by female entrepreneurs, and 5.8% of all FemTech companies located in MENA, at Organon, we are keen to provide them with the support they need. By leveraging innovation in the female start-up space, and the insights of these women, together we can advance women’s healthcare in the Middle East.”

Ahmed Alfi, Founder of FLAT6LABS and Chairman of Sawari Ventures, commenting on the panel discussion, said, “While the Middle Eastern ecosystem for entrepreneurship has improved, one of the key challenges facing female entrepreneurs is access to funding. Despite this, the FemTech sector shows great promise in delivering critical innovations needed to improve women’s healthcare. Accordingly, we must raise THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUCCESS among women (DELETED) by providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed in finding and gaining access to funding.”

 Sophie Smith, CEO of Nabta Health, added, “With barriers to access in both tech and healthcare, supporting women in these sectors in MENA is critical. By leveraging female-led innovation in the digital sector, we are tapping into a valuable opportunity to empower women and improve their health.”

Dr Shamsa Al Awar, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at UAE University, added, “While the FemTech sector is relatively young, it shows great promise to address some of the leading health concerns of women in the region. Women’s reproductive health is a key consideration in the digital health space, helping empower women to take critical decisions regarding their health and wellness. The sector is on the verge of transforming women’s healthcare. I look forward to seeing what innovators in the space come up with in the future to help solve the wellbeing challenges we face. Further it a duty for the innovators to clear the possible burden of the new innovations on women mental and physical health such as stress exerted by the new changes.” 

The panel discussion comes on the back of an ongoing partnership between Organon and Flat6Labs, which has seen the two organizations partner to launch their FemTech Accelerator Program. The program is designed to help female-founded digital health start-ups across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that address unmet women’s healthcare needs in line with Organon’s mission. Participating start-ups will receive wide-ranging support to realize and grow their business, including building products, testing the market fit, improving operating models and gaining access to funding.

Organon and Flat6Labs have received 60 applications from across the MENA region to date. The partners are accepting applications to the accelerator program until the 30th of March. Interested participants are encouraged to apply. 

About Organon:

Organon is a global healthcare company formed through a spin-off from Merck, (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, to focus on improving the health of women throughout their lives. Organon has a portfolio of more than 60 medicines and products across a range of therapeutic areas. Led by the women’s health portfolio coupled with an expanding biosimilars business and stable franchise of established medicines, Organon’s products produce strong cash flows that will support investments in innovation and future growth opportunities in women’s health. In addition, Organon is pursuing opportunities to collaborate with biopharmaceutical innovators looking to commercialize their products by leveraging its scale and presence in fast growing international markets.

Organon has a global footprint with significant scale and geographic reach, world-class commercial capabilities, and approximately 9,500 employees with headquarters located in Jersey City, New Jersey.