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Aurora Test

Aurora Test for ICSI

With the Aurora Test, we aim to help you minimize the cost, time and stress of infertility treatments. The Aurora Test provides valuable insight into the quality of each of your retrieved eggs. It predicts which egg has the highest potential to develop into a baby.

The Aurora Test measures the quality of your eggs (also called oocytes). It is a lab analysis of the cells surrounding the egg. These cells, called cumulus cells, are normally removed and discarded during ICSI treatment. By analysing these cells, we can predict which eggs are the best and that will give you the highest chance to have a baby. Your gynaecologist will than transfer the embryo from your best egg. You will have an increased chance to become pregnant and deliver a healthy baby on your first attempt.

The Aurora Test:

  • Allows the identification of the best quality egg.  It allows the transfer of a single embryo which has the highest chance to implant and become a healthy baby
  • Significantly increases pregnancy rates per transfer
  • Reduces the time needed to achieve pregnancy as your best egg is chosen for your first transfer. Also reduces costs as less transfer cycles are needed
  • Presents no ethical issues as it is performed on the cells surrounding the eggs. In routine treatments those cells are normally discarded prior to injection of sperm (ICSI)
  • Increased confidence in transferring a single embryo to avoid health risks associated with twin or triplet pregnancies

Our aim is to improve fertility treatments to give access to more couples and to reduce the overall burden of the treatment. We strive to have as many women as possible pregnant from the first attempt.

Our motto is: one try, one child.

Aurora Test for freezing of eggs

More and more women are postponing their decision to become a parent, driven by a variety of factors.   In recent years, women finally got the option to freeze their high quality eggs in order to preserve their fertility.  This will provide the freedom to decide when you would like to start your family. You don’t need  to worry about declining fertility.

If you decide to freeze your eggs, you may need to undergo a series of hormone treatments in order to maximize the number of eggs retrieved.

Aurora Test will score your eggs after the first hormone treatment. It will give you insights into the quality of your collected eggs.

The results can help the embryologist decide which embryos to transfer when you are ready to become a parent. This could potentially avoid multiple cycles of embryo transfer.

 

Patients

The Aurora Test for IVF (ICSI)

If you’re having trouble becoming pregnant, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) may be right for you and so might also the Aurora Test. An IVF cycle involves several different steps that will help you increase the chances of becoming pregnant. The most important step is selecting the embryo with the highest potential to result in the birth of a healthy baby.

  • You will receive hormone stimulation to mature many eggs
  • After egg collection, the embryologist removes the cumulus cells surrounding the egg to free the egg for sperm injection (ICSI).
  • The successfully fertilized eggs (now called embryos) grow in the laboratory incubator for 3 days.
  • In the meantime, the cumulus cells are analysed with the Aurora Test to know which of your eggs has the highest potential to result in a healthy baby
  • Your embryologist will monitor the development of the embryos
  • The embryo that shows good development and a high Aurora Test score will be chosen for your first transfer.
  • In conclusion, your pregnancy chances will substantially increase with this test compared to embryo selection with only visual evaluation.

Who should use the Aurora Test?

  • If you are scheduled for ICSI treatment
  • If you are expected to have a sufficient number of eggs to obtain at least 2 embryos
  • If you are maximum 39 years old
  • Please contact your gynaecologist if the test is applicable for your situation

Improving your chances with the Aurora Test

  • Our study shows higher pregnancy rates after the first transfer (from 29% to 61% pregnancy rate with single embryo transferred after 3 days of culture, results from UZ Brussel)
  • You will have fewer treatment cycles (less time and money). Our clinical study showed saving an average of 3 transfer cycles
  • The chance that your first transfer will be successful increases. 50% of the women with Aurora Test had a live birth from the first embryo transfer cycle in the clinical trial at UZ Brussel

The Aurora Test process for freezing your eggs

When you decide to freeze your eggs for future use, you will have to follow these steps:

  • First, you will receive hormone stimulation to mature many eggs.
  • After egg collection, the embryologist removes the cumulus cells surrounding the egg to free the egg for freezing.
  • Your clinic will freeze your eggs at -198°C.
  • In the meantime, the cumulus cells are analysed with the Aurora Test to know which of your eggs has the highest potential to result in a healthy baby.
  • When you come back to use your eggs, the embryologist can use this score to aid in the selection of the embryo to be transferred.

Physicians

Oocyte competence prediction

The Aurora Test is a non-invasive gene expression test, performed in the cumulus cells of the Cumulus Oocyte Complex (COC), that provides a ranking for the oocytes of a patient.

The Aurora Test measures the potential of an oocyte to develop into a normal healthy child for patients scheduled for ICSI. After analysing the cumulus cells of each oocyte, the embryo from the oocyte with the highest potential will be transferred into the uterus.

Applying this technology in IVF practice has shown that pregnancy rates have doubled (from 29% to 61%) and live birth increased from 27% to 50% after the transfer of a single embryo on day 3.

Aurora Test Principle for IVF (ICSI)

To be able to analyse the cumulus cells of each individual oocyte, the classic group oocyte denudation needs to be adapted to an individual denudation procedure.

The Aurora Test is performed on cumulus cells surrounding the oocytes from a patient and it is based on the measurement of expression of five specific genes.

Cumulus cells are isolated from each oocyte and RNA is extracted from the cumulus cells. cDNA synthesis and real-time PCR is performed using three predictive genes and two control genes. PCR results lead to a quantitative ranking for all oocytes.

Aurora Test principle for Social Oocyte Freezing

The Aurora Test is performed on cumulus cells from all oocytes from a patient and follows the same molecular testing as for an ICSI patient. The oocytes are ranked, and then, in the future, the highest ranked oocytes can be used first.

Results clinical trial

Doubled clinical pregnancy rate for Day 3 fresh SET

Clinical trial with elective single embryo transfer (eSET) & ICSI patients results

Results of our latest  prospective clinical study in Europe showed that in the Aurora Test arm with single embryo transfer (SET) on day 3, the clinical pregnancy rate increased from 29% to 61% in the first fresh transfer cycle (ref.1). These were ICSI patients stimulated with HP-hMG. In the control arm patients also had day 3 single embryo transfer, but with morphological scoring only.

 

 

Increased cumulative pregnancy rate

In an earlier study (ref.2) cumulative rates were followed up and the Aurora Test also significantly increased the cumulative pregnancy rate from 56% to 78% in comparison to day 3 control group when the patient undergoes consecutive cycles.

Increased the live birth rate

The live birth rate increased from 27% to 50% in comparison to day 3 control group.

 

Inclusion criteria

The application of Aurora Test is validated for patients with the following criteria:

  • Stimulation with HP-hMG hormones (e.g. Menopur) followed by ICSI
  • Patient age between 22 to 39 years
  • Good ovarian reserve
  • Excluding severe male infertility
  • Single embryo transfers on day 3 (fresh or frozen) to avoid twin birth

Aurora Test service offered

  • DAY 0: Cumulus-oocyte-complex pick-up. Cumulus cells must be removed for each oocyte by embryologist and individually snap-frozen at -80°C in bar-coded cryovials.
  • DAY 0-1: Samples will be transported in a container (dry shipper with N2 or dry ice) to a clinical testing lab nearby which runs the Aurora Test
  • DAY 1-2: Aurora Test (RNA isolation, QPCR and analysis) is done in the clinical testing lab.
  • DAY 2-3: Clinical testing lab will communicate Clinical Report to IVF clinic. Report gives a ranking of all oocytes and specifies which oocyte has the best score.
  • DAY 3: Embryologist uses this score along with a morphological evaluation to select the best embryo for transfer.
  • In case there is no pregnancy from a first transfer, the supernumerary embryos which were vitrified will also be transferred following the score.

In the future, the Aurora Test application will be broadened to other gonadotrophins.

Literature

  1. Van Vaerenbergh I, Adriaenssens T, Coucke W, Van Landuyt L, Verheyen G, De Brucker M, Camus M, Platteau P, De Vos M, Van Hecke E, Rosenthal A, Smitz J. Improved clinical outcomes after non-invasive oocyte selection and Day 3 eSET in ICSI patients. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2021 Feb 19;19(1):26. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33608027/
  2. Adriaenssens T, Van Vaerenbergh I, Coucke W, Segers I, Verheyen G, Anckaert E, De Vos M, Smitz J. Cumulus-corona gene expression analysis combined with morphological embryo scoring in single embryo transfer cycles increases live birth after fresh transfer and decreases time to pregnancy. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2019 Mar;36(3):433-443. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30627993/
  3. Wathlet S, Adriaenssens T, Segers I, Verheyen G, Van Landuyt L, Coucke W, Devroey P, Smitz J. Pregnancy prediction in single embryo transfer cycles after ICSI using QPCR: validation in oocytes from the same cohort. PLoS One. 2013;8(4)
  4. Wathlet S, Adriaenssens T, Segers I, Verheyen G, Janssens R, Coucke W, Devroey P, Smitz J. New candidate genes to predict pregnancy outcome in single embryo transfer cycles when using cumulus cell gene expression. Fertil Steril. 2012 Aug;98(2)
  5. Wathlet S, Adriaenssens T, Segers I, Verheyen G, Van de Velde H, Coucke W, Ron El R, Devroey P, Smitz J. Cumulus cell gene expression predicts better cleavage-stage embryo or blastocyst development and pregnancy for ICSI patients. Hum Reprod. 2011 May;26(5)
  6. Adriaenssens T, Segers I, Wathlet S, Smitz J. The cumulus cell gene expression profile of oocytes with different nuclear maturity and potential for blastocyst formation. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2011 Jan;28(1):31-40
  7. Adriaenssens T, Wathlet S, Segers I, Verheyen G, De Vos A, Van der Elst J, Coucke W, Devroey P, Smitz J. Cumulus cell gene expression is associated with oocyte developmental quality and influenced by patient and treatment characteristics. Hum Reprod. 2010 May;25(5)

Patient stories

We tried to have a baby for more than 1 year and we hoped this was our solution. Quickly I realized that the many doctor visits, hormones, etc brought a lot of emotional stress and pressure to my partner and on my job.  I learned about the Aurora Test, a safe test that could help me get pregnant faster. No doubt, we immediately agreed to get this test. I had 7 oocytes resulting in 4 viable embryos. The test allowed the embryologist to transfer the best scoring embryo immediately. And guess what, I was pregnant after my first transfer! Jennifer, 30 years

We had one baby after IVF and were dreaming about our second one. We were still considering when a friend told us about the Aurora Test. It would increase our chances as the best embryo could be chosen from the best scoring egg. It appealed to us and we decided to go for it. I had 12 oocytes and 7 viable embryos. We were so happy that the Aurora Test could help the embryologist in his decision and got it right from the first transfer.  Sarah, 34 years

I also wish to have a child, but I never expected that it would be so heavy. And it wasn’t cheap either. The stress, the money, the many discussions. When the doctor told us about the Aurora Test, I pushed my wife to get it. She is very anti-genetic testing and is scared about all new technologies. However, the Aurora Test does not touch the embryo. It is not a genetic test and is safe. It helped us to get pregnant faster and saved us a lot of money. I am proud to say, we are expecting our first baby soon. Thank you Fertiga to make our dreams come true. Eric, 32 years

About us

Contact us

For more information and to access the Aurora Test, please contact us: info@fertiga.com

Job offers

Company

Fertiga is a spin-off company from one of the global IVF leading centers, UZ Brussels in Belgium.

UZ Brussel (the Center of Reproductive Medicine) has been pioneering in IVF, with the first ICSI baby worldwide born in 1992. Fertiga is the first provider worldwide on analysis of cumulus cells to improve live birth rates.

Our aim is to improve fertility treatments to give access to more couples and to reduce the overall burden of the treatment. We strive to have as many women as possible pregnant from the first attempt.

Our motto is: one try, one child.

Founders

Prof. Dr. Johan Smitz, Chief Medical Officer

Prof Smitz – a medical doctor by training – is the head of the Follicle Biology (FOBI) group at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and member of clinical diagnostics department at University Hospital of VUB (UZ Brussels). Johan has been involved for more than 10 years in the development of new diagnostic modalities to predict oocyte competence for pregnancy outcome in women undergoing in-vitro fertilization after hormone stimulation. This technology is a key component of Fertiga’s offering in the market.

Ir Elien Van Hecke, Chief Commercial Officer

Ms Van Hecke is a bioengineer by training and holds a master’s in business economics. She has seven years of experience in different marketing and sales roles both in Biotech (Innogenetics) and large diagnostic companies (Fujirebio/Roche). Elien decided to exit from Roche Belgium to start-up Fertiga in 2017.

Prof. Dr. André Rosenthal, Chief Executive Officer

Prof Rosenthal – molecular biologist by training – was member of the leadership group (2015-2017) of Roche Sequencing, a business unit headquartered in California. He was the sole founder and CEO of Signature Diagnostic, a cancer diagnostic company in Germany, which he sold to Roche in 2015. Andre has extensive experience in clinical and experimental cancer research, human genetics and genomics. From 1994 to 2001 he was the head of the German Human Genome Sequencing Project contributing the sequence of chromosome 21 in 2000.  He joined Fertiga beginning of 2018.

News

Fertiga at European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE)  38th annual meeting in Milan

July 2022

Fertiga presented the latest results in a Poster format at ESHRE 38th Annual Meeting.

The Poster entitled “Cumulus cell analysis as a non-invasive oocyte selection strategy to reduce the number of oocytes/embryos cultured and increase pregnancy rates” is a retrospective analysis of Van Vaerenbergh et al. ’21.

It reports that the cumulus cells analysis may reduce culture work and improve the outcome in ICSI eSET.

Fertiga Poster ESHRE 2022

Fertiga in the press

August 2021 – Biovox

https://biovox.eu/betting-on-the-best-egg-aurora-test-doubles-pregnancy-chances-in-assisted-conception/

May 2021 – De Tijd

https://www.tijd.be/ondernemen/farma-biotech/belgische-technologie-verdubbelt-kans-op-zwangerschap-via-ivf/10303063

Fertiga highlighed by foreign affairs Belgium

May 2021

Each week, diplomatie.Belgium, shares the latest Belgian news. This week, they focussed on fertiga and highlighted Belgium’s position as a leader in the field of fertility research

https://focusonbelgium.be/en/science/double-chance-pregnancy-thanks-vub-start-fertiga

New publication on >600 patients

March 2021

The paper reports positive results of a prospective study on 633 patients (113 tested with the Aurora Test and 520 control patients). The data confirms the performance of the Aurora Test nicely.

Van Vaerenbergh I, et al,  Improved clinical outcomes after non-invasive oocyte selection and Day 3 eSET in ICSI patients. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2021 Feb 19;19(1):26. 

Fertiga rebrands Corona test to Aurora Test

May 2020

The VUB female fertility spin-off Fertiga will change the name of their Corona Test to Aurora Test due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“With the current corona crisis, it became clear that we had to rethink the branding of our product. It would be very confusing for patients and gynaecologist when they ask for a Corona Test. We are very pleased with the new symbolic name , the Aurora test”, says Prof. Dr. André Rosenthal, CEO of Fertiga.

Aurora is the goddess of dawn and reflects the coming of the sun and scares away the dark. This new symbolic name reflects the creating of new life for many couples.

Novalis participates in financing round of FERTIGA for further expansion of the Corona Test

October 2019
Novalis investment in Fertiga
https://www.flanders.bio/en/news/

The Belgian female fertility company Fertiga announces the closure of its first financing round together with Novalis Biotech Incubation and international private investors.
Fertiga is a spin-off from Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Its product, the Corona Test was initially developed by the research team of Prof. Dr. Johan Smitz at VUB together with the pioneering fertility clinic UZBrussel. The Corona Test is an analysis of the cells surround the egg cell during an IVF treatment. The test result is used to select the best embryo and helps the patient to become pregnant faster. The funding will be used to further increase testing capacity at Fertiga and grow international access.

CEO Prof. André Rosenthal (serial biotech entrepreneur) from Fertiga commented: “Infertility is an underestimated disease and still many improvements can be done. The Corona Test is the first non-invasive test to determine the quality of egg cells. We are very pleased to welcome Novalis among Fertiga’s investors. Their support, demonstrated by this fundraising, will allow us to speed up our development of the Corona Test.”

Prof Wim Van Criekinge from Novalis added: The Corona Test has shown to be a major breakthrough in fertility treatment. It will help couples to increase pregnancy success rates and reduce their overall burden. It fits perfectly the types of innovative concepts in healthcare we are looking for. We are delighted to support Fertiga in reaching its goals.

About Fertiga (www.fertiga.com)
Fertiga nv is a spin-off from Vrije Universiteit Brussel(VUB) on the basis of research carried out over the past 10 years within the VUB and University hospital of Brussels (UZ Brussels). Our objective is to become a major player in improving fertility treatment outcomes. We improve efficiency of IVF by analysis of gene expressions in cells surrounding the egg cell. Our goal is to reach ‘one child with one try’.

About Novalis (www.noval.is)
Novalis Biotech Incubation seeds biotechnology and life sciences related companies. Novalis incubates own ideas or supports innovative start-ups in life-sciences. Our core competence lies in the interaction between bioinformatics, genomics and digitalization in life sciences. We strongly believe in applying innovative information technology to advance prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease.

Hoe fertiliteit evolueerde van giswerk tot precisiewerk. In de toekomst naar 100%? (Het Nieuwsblad)

July 2019
20190713_het-nieuwsblad_Hoe fertiliteit evolueerde van giswerk tot precisiewerk

Wereldprimeur in AZ Jan Palfijn: 2 vrouwen zwanger na Coronatest (AVS News)

June 2019

VRT-news: Nieuwe test bij IVF behandelingen zou de kans op zwangerschap verdubbelen

June 2019

VUB komt met baanbrekende techniek voor IVF- behandlingen (Het Nieuwsblad)

June 2019

20190615_het-nieuwsblad_Dubbel zoveel kans op zwangerschap

Prospective Corona Test study shows doubling of pregnancy rates in IVF-ICSI treatments

March 2019

In the March issue from the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics (JARG), for the first time in history, a prospective clinical study on cumulus gene expression analysis was published. The study showed a doubling of pregnancy rates. The patients received a hormone stimulation with HP-hMG. A single day 3 embryo transfer was done after ICSI, based on a combination of embryo morphology and the Corona Test score. Pregnancy rates were 63% in the group with Corona Test versus 27% when ony morphology evaluation was used. This impressive achievement will open new opportunities for couples struggling with infertility.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10815-018-01398-2

Fertiga is launched as spin-off from VUB

March 2019

The VUB Research Group Follicile Biology (FOBI) under the direction of Prof. Dr. Johan Smitz developed extensive knowledge and expertise in gene expression of cumulus cells. This resulted in the Corona Test, which is used for determining the oocyte quality in the process of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and social freezing.

The aim of the Corona Test is to increase the efficiency in IVF-ICSI by selecting the embryo from the oocyte with the highest quality. Results from the first prospective study showed doubling of the pregnancy rate by applying this test.

A second application is the improvement of the outcome of social freezing of oocytes.

Together with ex-employees of Roche Diagnostics, ir. Elien Van Hecke and Prof. Dr. André Rosenthal, Prof. Dr. Johan Smitz co-founded Fertiga in 2017 to further develop and validate this technology. In January 2019 the license agreement was signed and Fertiga became officially a spin-off of VUB.

http://vubtechtransfer.be/news/new-vub-spin-off-fertiga/

About Fertiga
Fertiga nv was founded in August 2017 on the basis of work carried out over the past 10 years within the Vrije Universiteit Brussel(VUB) and University hospital of Brussels (UZ Brussels) with the objective of becoming a major player in improving fertility treatment outcomes by analysis of gene expressions in cumulus cell surrounding the oocyte. In July 2018, they signed an exclusive license with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and in January 2019 the prospective validation of the Corona Test was published in Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics.
www.fertiga.com

About Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.
www.vub.ac.be

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