Uqora, founded in 2017 by partners Jenna Ryan and Spencer Gordon, makes a range of women’s urinary health products that center on the activity of D-mannose, a complex sugar found in many foodstuff.
Effects of D-mannose central to brand
D-mannose has been researched for its ability to bind with microorganisms in the urine and so prevent them from adhering to the bladder wall and forming a biofilm. Bound cells suspended in the urine are then simply excreted.
According to a survey by Dutch scientists of self care among subjects suffering urinary complaints, D-mannose was the third most often mentioned ingredient by this group of respondents, after cranberry and vitamin C. Uqora’s Target formula, meant to address acute complaints, also includes a megadose of vitamin C. The company also makes a product branded as Control, formulated for ongoing bladder health in the absence of an acute infection, and a vaginal probiotic formula called Promote.
According to Pharmavite, urinary tract infections are a durable part of the market for women’s health products. Urinary tract infections are the most common bacterial infection requiring medical care in the US, and the second most common infection behind the common cold.
Pharmavite noted that that while men can also suffer from UTIs they disproportionately impact women — between 50% and 60% will have at least one UTI in their life with a 20-40% chance of UTI recurrence.
The current standard of care relies on antibiotic treatments and a growing number of UTIs are resistant to this therapy. Part of the Uqora story relates to the founder suffering from a recurrent UTI for which there was no effective long term answer.
"Uqora's science-based approach to addressing women's urinary health issues aligns perfectly with our 50-year history of offering high-quality science-based products," said Jeff Boutelle, CEO of Pharmavite. "Uqora plays a central role in our long-term strategy to offer the most comprehensive women's health platform in the vitamin, mineral and supplement industry.”
Building a women’s health portfolio
Pharmavite currently offers a menopause relief product called Equelle that is based on the activity of S-equol, an intestinal bacterial metabolite of the soybean isoflavone daidzein.
Pharmavite said Uqora has experienced triple digit growth since its inception. Uqora, on its website, says it has served more than 150,000 customers since putting its products on the market.
"This is an important moment at Pharmavite that underscores our commitment to women's health," said Tobe Cohen, Chief Growth Officer at Pharmavite.