epigenetics.
your biological story.

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About Episona

Episona is a molecular diagnostics company transforming care in fertility and neurology by analyzing epigenetic patterns that contribute to human disease.

Epigenetics is the heritable, long-term modification of gene activity without changes to the underlying DNA sequence. These alterations are acquired through normal human development, aging, environmental exposures, and disease.  In other words, experiences you have in your lifetime can change the way your DNA works. Moreover, these epigenetic changes may be inherited by future generations.

One type of epigenetic marker is DNA methylation (the binding of methyl groups to DNA, which control the expression of different gene groups). Episona believes that abnormal modifications to the normal DNA methylation pattern of the sperm genome strongly impacts male fertility. Accurately measuring these changes may uncover hidden male factor infertility in cases of unexplained infertility and recurring IVF failure not captured in the standard testing.

Episona’s first product, The Male Fertility Panel (MFP),  evaluates epigenetic abnormalities in the sperm genome to create a significantly more accurate diagnostic for male infertility

25% of infertile couples have the negative diagnosis of unexplained infertility. The MFP will recognize hidden male factor in these cases, moving them to IVF or IVF-ICSI more quickly.

IVF cycle failures cause significant financial and emotional stress to the patient. The MFP will detect contributing hidden male factors that cause cycle failure, increasing decision power.

Male Fertility Panel (MFP)

The difference between an eye and a nose…is clearly neither genotypic nor phenotypic. The appearance of a particular organ is the product of the genotype and the epigenotype, reacting with the external environment.

- Conrad H. Waddington, 1947

Male Fertility Panel (MFP)

Episona’s MFP will measure genome-wide changes in DNA methylation to predict male infertility more accurately

Sperm + Epigenetic Mechanisms

Who is affected by infertility?

10%
of couples attempting to have children suffer from infertility. Around 1.2 million men seek help for infertility every year.
15%
of infertile men are accurately diagnosed with male factor infertility using the semen analysis. Guzick, 2001, NEJM
25%
of couples receive the diagnosis of unexplained infertility, meaning the cause of the couple's infertility is unknown,
70%
of IVF cycles fail for reasons unknown. Sperm is suspected to contribute significantly to this failure rate.

What does the whole solution look like?

 

Episona’s Male fertility Panel is in the process of clinical and technical validation.  Would you like us to keep you informed of our progress?

Help Us Build A Better Solution

 

Our Team

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Episona was founded in 2013 by a world-class team of entrepreneurs and scientists with experience building companies, and expertise in human reproduction, epigenetics, data science, and neuroscience.

Founders

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Alan Horsager, Ph.D.

Founder
President & CEO
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Andrew Smith, Ph.D.

Scientific Founder
University of Southern California
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Douglas Carrell, Ph.D.

Scientific Founder
University of Utah

Advisors

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Paul Billings, M.D., Ph.D.

CMO, Life Technologies
Board of Directors
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Troy Wilson, Ph.D.

President & CEO, Wellspring Biosciences & Avidity
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Richard Scott, M.D.

Reproductive Endocrinologist, RMANJ
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William Schoolcraft, M.D.

Reproductive Endocrinologist, CCRM
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Paolo Rinaudo, M.D., Ph.D.

Reproductive Endocrinologist
UCSF
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Paul Turek, M.D.

Urologist & Reproductive Surgeon, Turek Clinic
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Renee Reijo Pera, Ph.D.

Embryonic Stem Cell Biologist, Stanford University
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Bradley Cairns, Ph.D.

Developmental Biologist, HHMI & U of Utah

Our trusted partners and affiliations

Our Latest Blog Posts

Can Sperm DNA Methylation Predict Brain Disorders?

For years it has been assumed that sperm cells are only responsible for providing the father’s DNA; the rest of the baby’s early development is the responsibility of the mother. However,…

Do We Need a Better Test for Male Factor Infertility?

Although it is often assumed that infertility is a woman’s problem, the reality is male factor infertility (MFI) is responsible in about 50% of the cases.  Some of the time,…

The paternal age effect: genetics or something else?

Pablo Picasso had a son, Claude, when he was in his sixties (seen here in the black and white image). Steve Martin just had a baby girl at 67. And…

3 examples of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance

Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance is the idea that epigenetic marks (i.e., DNA methylation, histone modifications) can be acquired on the DNA of one generation and stably passed on through the gametes…

View all Posts

Help Us Create A Better Test for Male Infertility

At Episona, we’re developing a better test for male infertility that looks much deeper than the standard semen analysis. We believe the most successful way to do that is by communicating and working with the people who are looking for a better solution.

That’s where you come in.

What tests do you currently use to diagnose male infertility? Where do these tests fall short? How do we increase the chance of a successful outcome for both you and your patients? Stay connected with Episona and we will keep you informed about the scientific progress on the Male Fertility Panel (MFP) and opportunities to collaborate with us.

 3501 Ocean View Boulevard, Glendale, California, United States

(323) 522-5897