Press Release

Ohana Biosciences Presents New Data in Mouse ICSI Study Demonstrating That Ohana Sperm Cell Treatment Improves Embryo Development at ASRM Virtual Scientific Congress and Expo

  • Ohana sperm cell treatment yielded twice the number of embryos vs. control
  • Significance of these data noted by world-leading embryologist, Jacques Cohen, Ph.D.
  • SPERTILITY, currently under clinical study in the SPRING trial, is designed as the first sperm-based treatment to improve embryo development and live birth rates


Cambridge, Mass., October 20, 2020 – Ohana Biosciences, a pioneering reproductive health company that created the world’s first sperm biology platform for sperm-based products, today presented new preclinical data demonstrating the underlying mechanism of its sperm cell treatment impacts fertilization and improves the development of an embryo – a key factor in successful live births in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Under the commercial name, SPERTILITY, the ex vivo sperm cell treatment is currently being studied at seven leading fertility centers in the U.S. as part of the SPRING study. These data will be presented today during a poster presentation at the 76th American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Virtual Scientific Congress and Expo.

Jacques Cohen, Ph.D., a world-leading embryologist who pioneered work to establish intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) as an ART procedure, remarked on the significance of these results.

“What is astounding about Ohana’s ingenious sperm activation system is that it clearly shows the effect of sperm after fertilization on the developing embryo. It has been suspected that spermatozoa have a comprehensive effect on development, and this experiment brings that notion home,” said Jacques Cohen, Ph.D., Director, ART Institute of Washington, and founder, IVFqc. “I am looking forward to seeing results from future studies in patients suffering from infertility.”

The ASRM poster presentation includes data from a preclinical study in a mouse model of ICSI in vitro fertilization (IVF), which was designed to measure the impact of the Ohana sperm cell treatment on embryo development, as compared to standard mouse sperm activation. Investigators isolated sperm and processed half with the Ohana sperm cell treatment and half with standard media for preparing mouse sperm for IVF. The percentage of mouse oocytes that developed into 2-cell embryos and blastocyst-stage embryos following ICSI were evaluated and compared between the two groups.

As expected when fertilization is performed using ICSI, the rate of 2-cell embryo formation per mouse oocyte between control and the Ohana sperm cell treatment was similar. However, using the Ohana sperm cell treatment significantly increased the probability that 2-cell embryos would develop into blastocyst-stage embryos: in the Ohana group, twice the number of blastocyst-stage embryos developed from 2-cell embryos as compared to the number of blastocyst-stage embryos generated with control. This confirms earlier observations that the Ohana sperm cell treatment has impacts beyond fertilization and may improve embryo development for people undergoing IVF with ICSI.

“We developed SPERTILITY to mimic the natural activation of key metabolic pathways critical to sperm function that occur as sperm travel through the female reproductive tract during conception,” said Kathleen Seyb, Ph.D., Vice President of Research at Ohana Biosciences. “The new preclinical data shared today build on our prior experience, suggesting that SPERTILITY has the potential to not only improve sperm function, but also embryo development for anyone undergoing ART. These data challenge the popular understanding of the role of sperm, demonstrating the impact of sperm to influence factors beyond fertility, to include embryo development. We look forward to sharing data from our ongoing clinical trial later this year.”

Ohana is currently evaluating SPERTILITY in a randomized, controlled study (NCT04142112) across seven fertility centers in the United States. The SPRING (SPeRtility, IVF Next Generation) study is designed to quantify the number of high-quality euploid embryos and evaluate pregnancy outcomes for people using IVF. Data from the study is anticipated by year-end.

About Ohana Biosciences

At Ohana Biosciences, we work on pioneering reproductive health advances through our industry-first platform of sperm-based treatments. We began with a vision to understand the power of a single sperm cell: influencing conception, birth outcomes, and health of pregnant women and children. Our leading scientific understanding of sperm biology has enabled us to develop sperm-based products that could help all people to create the healthy family they dream of – when they are ready. By advancing our research in fertility treatments, new treatments to reduce pregnancy complications, disease transmission, and developmental disorders, and enabling non-hormonal contraception, we hope to lead the revolution in reproductive health and offer life-changing options for all people. We anchor our aspirations in our name Ohana, which means “the family you choose” in Hawaiian. Ohana was founded in 2016 by Flagship Pioneering and is based in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, please visit www.OhanaBio.com.

Media and investors

Amanda Galgay
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
news@ohanabio.com