Over the last couple of years, there has been a rise in innovative technology catering to women’s health, otherwise known as the Femtech market. This segment in the women’s healthcare sector focuses on technological solutions focusing primarily on fertility and pregnancy.
However, many other topics related to women’s health are being considered increasingly. These may include pelvic health, disease management, and so on. Many renowned companies are giving their best to provide exceptional healthcare services to women.
One prominent company making its mark in the industry is Elidah, Inc. Founded by Gloria and Eric Kolb in 2014, the company designs and manufactures the ELITONE® medical device. With 40+ years of combined experience in medical device product development and commercialization, Elidah’s mission is to empower women to take control of their health.
Elidah is a woman-owned medical device company based in Connecticut, USA, funded mainly by the National Science Foundation. The company makes ELITONE®, a non-intrusive device that tones/strengthens weakened pelvic floor muscles for the one in three women with bladder leaks.
The externally placed technology is discreet, comfortable, and worn under clothing for 20 minutes, making treatment easy. Women receive Kegel contractions, longer and more robust than they could themselves, without the work. They wear it and walk around doing other things they need to do.
ELITONE® is FDA-cleared and clinically proven to reduce incontinence and fills the enormous gap between Kegels and surgery. The device is sold directly to consumers without a prescription. The recently received CE-Mark allows ELITONE® to be sold all over the world.
Additionally, ELITONE® will expand to the overactive bladder market in late 2021 and enter clinical evaluation on males. This device is becoming a leader in the fast-growing femtech niche and aging spaces and fills an unmet need in the large market worldwide.
The company’s goal is to design products for women’s problems and how women would use them – for women by women. “We know that one of our vaginal electrical stimulation competitors is designed by a 75-year-old man. He made the vaginal probe too big yet made it pink and purple – we can only assume because he thought that’s what women wanted,” Gloria expressed.
Molding Experience into Expertise
At the helm of Elidah’s voyage towards tremendous success is Gloria Kolb, the company’s CEO. She has been in medical device development and commercialization for 25 years with both large and small companies.
Gloria has been involved in a variety of medical fields, from orthopedics to imaging to urology. But it wasn’t until after the birth of her three kids that she realized – 1) how big the problem was, 2) how little women talked about it (her mom had two surgeries and never told her about the problem), and 3) the poor treatment options.
Gloria believes that Kegel exercises are the first line of treatment, but one has to do these exercises multiple times every day to be effective. Adding to this, she says, “A quarter of all women do them incorrectly. And then on the other end of the spectrum, there is pelvic mesh surgery – which, to date, has over 100,000 lawsuits and has been banned in many countries because it is so problematic.”
“Everything in between is vaginal devices. With these vaginal devices, one must lock themselves in their bedroom in privacy and dedicate 20 minutes a day on their back. No busy mom has time for that! Plus, there is the ‘icky’ factor and large infection rate,” she adds.
The ELITONE® Advantage
ELITONE® offers a variety of advantages to the users. It improves a weak bladder in weeks; this enables the patients to start living without the pad habit. This device is FDA approved and exercises the pelvic floor muscles most safely and efficiently possible. At the premier gynecological society, nine out of ten gynecologists recommend ELITONE®.
ELITONE®’s 100% external pelvic floor therapy allows comfortable movement and doesn’t take the user’s time. They can wear ELITONE® under their clothes while working, cooking, or pretty much anytime. The product is genuinely non-intrusive.
ELITONE® is a pelvic floor exerciser that delivers therapeutic stimulation and performs Kegel exercises for women, but longer and stronger than they can, on their own. ELITONE® ’s PMW Technology is designed to maximize comfort and efficacy for the perfect stress incontinence treatment. Activities such as dancing, hiking, exercise, etc. that have become taboo because of leaking can be done comfortably with the assistance of this product.
Elidah holds several patents on this revolutionary device and maintains ISO 13485:2016 certification as a medical device manufacturer. Since 2014, the company has been working closely with medical professionals across the USA to deliver clinically effective solutions that help improve women’s lives. With ELITONE®, the company is proud to offer a safe, effective, wearable treatment for women.
Transforming the Pandemic Challenge into an Advantage
Gloria believes that the pandemic has forced the entire health system to wake up and think about efficient care and realize what is possible with telehealth. It has also helped fuel more acceptance of at-home treatments. The consumer makes more decisions directly (pelvic floor physical therapy requires taking time off work weekly for going into a clinician’s office). She further adds that ELITONE® fits nicely with an at-home treatment that is easy to use and doesn’t take up people’s time for pelvic floor strengthening.
Supporting Women Empowerment
Elidah Inc. believes in empowering women and fighting for their freedom. It is proud to support the A21 campaign in its mission to end human trafficking. By reducing vulnerability, identifying victims, and empowering survivors, A21 can reach, rescue, and restore lives.
Opinions about Advanced Technology and the Future of Women’s Health
Team Elidah believes that women are typically the ‘doctors’ of their household, doing the bulk of medical research and treatment decisions. The company believes that AI and ML will continue to make many treatments more customized and localized, therefore, usually more effective and user-friendly. Based on research, these innovative digital solutions have been embraced earlier by women and hopefully will help make their lives easier and save their time.
A Collection of Awards
Throughout its illustrious journey of delivering excellent healthcare, Elidah has won several awards. However, the most important ones are the SBIR funding that it received from the National Science Foundation and Department of Defense (helped fund the male device.) The SBIR helped fund the development.
The company has also won various industry awards that are a confirmation of its dedication to achieving excellence. Elidah won the New Product of the Year (against all the new facial products for beauty) in the aesthetics industry’s MyFaceMyBody award.
Most recently, the company also won the SlingShot2020, which is an international start-up competition. Elidah was a Top10 awardee out of 7500 entries and all industries. It was one of two life science companies that were awarded this honor.
Advice for the Emerging Entrepreneurs
Gloria states that she has mixed feelings about entrepreneurs entering women’s health. “Certainly, women’s health has had less innovation and has been so long ignored that I want to encourage everyone to innovate and dive into solving problems for women’s health,” she expresses.
On the other hand, she believes that funding hasn’t caught on in this space, so she sees many of her colleagues in women’s health struggling to get the attention of investors and make a dent in the market.
Hence, Gloria believes that it is still a hard struggle. She opines that being an entrepreneur is already hard, but being in women’s health is even harder, especially in many ‘taboo’ topics.
“I’m not sure why women’s health tends to be ‘taboo’ topics: menstruation, breasts, vaginas, sexual issues, pelvic health, and even menopause. But it is a disservice which leads to lack of awareness and information,” adds Gloria.
“For example, incontinence affects one in three women worldwide, yet women are so embarrassed to talk about it, and 2/3 don’t talk to their doctor about it, so they wait in silence as their symptoms get worse (without treatment, incontinence almost always progresses),” she adds.
Towards a Bright Future
Marching ahead, Elidah Inc. plans to continue to get the word out that there is a non-intrusive easy treatment at home for incontinence. It wishes that everyone lives completely active lives (incontinence dramatically affects the quality of life and is a major contributor to depression). The company is also excited to be on track to develop a treatment for overactive bladder soon and expand globally.
“ELITONE®’s discreet and comfortable treatment allows women to get back to their active lifestyle without worrying about leaks and rushing to the bathroom.”