Ground-breaking fertility tech company opens RDI centre in Malta

Pera Labs has announced the start of research and development into AI-powered sperm and egg selection technology for fertility treatments

Pera Labs has announced the start of research and development into AI-powered sperm and egg selection technology for fertility treatments. 

The company uses artificial intelligence and lab-on-a-chip technology to help aspirational parents by assisting fertility clinics reduce their standard 70% treatment failure rate.

The research and development places Malta at the centre of what is an international collaboration, with a Malta-based team of experts in reproductive health, deep-learning and microfluidics, teaming up with Pera Labs’s commercialisation advisors at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia and Wainamics — Pera Labs’s award winning manufacturing partner in California, US and Austria. 

Pera Labs’s Malta operations will be accelerated by the €800,000 of financial support from Malta Enterprise, coupled with Pera Labs’s own financing.

Founder and CEO, Burak Özkösem, a longtime PhD researcher of reproductive health said: “We chose Malta as our European headquarters not only because it’s sunny most of the year, but also due to its genuine hospitality towards cutting-edge tech companies from the US, Canada, Israel and beyond. This financial and logistical support demonstrates strong innovative vision as a country.

“Our Malta base will be our headquarters for EU-related CE Mark and GDPR compliance and regulatory affairs. With English being the official language, Malta has created an international startup friendly sandbox for company growth and soft landing in Europe.  My experiences with the Malta Enterprise team — from the application to due diligence, and the selection processes to the project implementation phase — have been very friendly, and everybody has been very considerate of the fact that our move began right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our global expansion began with a major step, which was choosing Malta as our R&D facilities for developing AI-powered fertility treatment solutions for European couples and more. We are building the world's first and only fully automated device that not only analyses sperm quality, but also selects the best sperm cells for fertility treatments. This patent-pending technology called SPERMAN®, unlike other systems, doesn’t harm sperm or egg cells during the analysis and separation processes. Moreover, our technology is safe and tackles the fertility issues in men and women at a pre-conception stage, therefore not harming embryos at all.”

Kurt Farrugia, Malta Enterprise’s CEO on news of the announcement said, "Pera Lab's pioneering technology for reproductive health has the potential to dramatically increase the success of fertility treatments and drive down costs. We are looking forward to this highly innovative company to join our growing local med-tech ecosystem, and its developments to change lives in fertility clinics around the world.”

Using microfluidic chip technology, deep-learning algorithms and polarised optics, SPERMAN® technology streamlines the sperm selection process. Compared to others, the quality of analysis is at single cell level — 5 times faster and 2 times more accurate — and sperm DNA integrity is also assessed automatically without harming the sperm cell or its function.

This provides standardised, rapid and highly accurate sperm selection, shortening fertility treatment times, lowering capital costs, and increasing patient volume for fertility clinics. Meanwhile, couples require less IVF cycles, saving them a minimum of €28,000 for fertility treatment costs.