Natural products to cure female infections


To develop a range of natural products to treat vaginal infections


Novipart, HES-SO Valais (ITV), The Ark Foundation, Mediplant

The Ark Foundation deals with a very diverse range of technological subjects. Advances in scientific research mean that it is also becoming involved with more unusual problems, such as those related to feminine hygiene.

It is estimated that almost 75% of women suffer at least once in their life from a vaginal infection caused by the fungus Candida albicans. The treatments currently on the market do not give satisfactory results.


Content of the project

Since the late 1990s, the Life Technologies Institute of the HES-SO Valais has been working to develop plant extracts that can combat and treat these infections. Initial basic research work has identified the antifungal properties of certain alpine plants.

Via its Accelerator service, The Ark Foundation has been closely following the progress of the work at the HES SO Valais. At the end of 2010, aware of the commercial possibilities, The Ark took the initiative and approached Novipart, a company which wanted to develop of a range of products related to women’s health. A link with the HES-SO Valais was rapidly formed.
At The Ark’s instigation, two projects were then set up:

  • The first of these consisted of carrying out a technical feasibility study in order to find ingredients that could combat vaginal Candida infections. This was successfully completed in 2011.
  • The second, which is still ongoing, consists of preparing to mass-produce the product, and includes toxicology testing and the production of a pilot batch. 

Mediplant, the plant research partner, has already established pilot cultivations of plants that contain the active ingredients, in order to ensure both the supply and the quality of the raw materials.


Practical outcomes

Pharmalp SA, a startup created by Novipart in the meantime, is closely following and supporting the research work. In this way, it hopes to be able to add a solution for the prevention and treatment of fungal infections to its range of natural, scientifically-validated products. This will benefit not only women, but also the economy and economic diversity of the Valais.

Fondation The Ark - Rue de l'Industrie 23 - 1950 Sion - Suisse