Fertility treatment technology firm VivoPlex has raised £3.9 million to boost the development of its intra-uterine biosensor. The firm recently relocated to Oxford and has developed a wireless, wearable device that monitors the uterine environment. It is set to significantly improve the quality of intra-uterine data for fertility treatment and women’s health.
VivoPlex CEO Joanna Smart explained why addressing data quality in fertility research and treatment is important:
“Our analysis of the field indicates there’s a real need for the generation of high quality data which clinicians can act upon, in contrast to the consumer focus of many women’s health tech applications. VivoPlex believes that the real time continuous intra-uterine data our device is expected to generate will play a significant role in improving IVF, fertility and women’s health more generally in the future.”
VivoPlex’s technology does away with invasive biopsies and delivers real time data on uterine conditions. It pairs an insertable monitor the size of an IUD (intrauterine device) with wearable briefs which are wirelessly powered and transmit data from the monitor for use by a fertility specialist. VivoPlex says the device is the first to monitor temperature, pH and oxygen level, three influential parameters in the uterine environment which are deemed crucial in embryo development and tightly controlled within incubators used in in vitro fertilisation (IVF) laboratories.
VivoPlex was a spin-out from Southampton University and expanded to Oxford in 2019. It now occupies labs and offices at Milton Park. Smart described the move as an important milestone for the company and its technology:
“Location in this medtech and digital health cluster also provides access to the talent, expertise and funding which will drive our future growth,” she said, and went on to describe the impact the move and Covid-19 has had on the firm:
“The pandemic has meant that the few months since VivoPlex moved to Oxford have been quite unusual, but even before the lockdown it was clear that we were in a very dynamic place.
“So far we’ve seen the greatest impact in access to talent and we’re expecting opportunities of all sorts to arise from our new location in the future,” she added.
The £3.9 million was raised in two tranches. Investors including British Business Bank’s Future Fund, which supports UK innovators with high potential that are affected by Covid-19, participated in the second tranche, unlocking matched financing.
“The funds will be used to finish preparations for and complete the clinical feasibility study,” said Smart. “The study is expected to generate the data needed for CE marking of our intra-uterine sensor and first product launches, which is very exciting for VivoPlex.”