Leader in uterine monitoring closes Series A round and appoints CEO
Joanna Smart to lead VivoPlex through next phase of growth
Southampton, UK, January 15, 2019 – VivoPlex Group Ltd, a leader in real time and accurate intra-uterine monitoring, is pleased to announce that it has closed its Series A fundraising round at £3m. In association with the close of the financing, it has appointed experienced life sciences executive Joanna Smart as CEO. Ms Smart, formerly the company’s COO, will lead the company as it takes its intra-uterine monitor through the next stages of product, clinical and regulatory development.
VivoPlex has developed a wireless, battery-free sensor that monitors three influential factors in the uterine environment – pH, temperature and oxygen level – for the optimisation of fertility treatment and uterine health. It is the first insertable wireless device for the measurement of these parameters in vivo, and is expected to have a significant impact on low IVF success rates which currently stand at 25-30%. The company is a spin-out from the University of Southampton.
The Series A round was led by existing investors with support from some new high net worth individuals and family offices. The proceeds will be used in the clinical development of the VivoPlex product, CE marking and development of a finalised production-ready device. The UK NIHR’s i4i Programme is supporting a 30-patient clinical feasibility study through funding to the University of Southampton in a joint project with VivoPlex.
Joanna Smart has worked with VivoPlex since 2016, joining as COO in 2017, and has played a key role in operational, product and corporate development. She has over 15 years’ experience in the healthcare sector in Europe and the US, at investment bank Nomura International and with senior business development roles at US biotechnology companies Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Chiron Corporation. Joanna has also worked with several companies as an independent consultant.
Dr Chris Dickson, Chairman of VivoPlex, said, ‘VivoPlex is pleased to have closed its Series A, which provides the funding to take our innovative intra-uterine monitor through its important next stages of development. I’d like to thank existing and new investors for their support and look forward to working with them as we take the company forward.’
‘Joanna has played a significant role in the evolution of VivoPlex and its intra-uterine monitor to this stage. Her background and experience make her the ideal leader of VivoPlex as it grows and develops, and I am pleased to welcome her to the CEO role.’
High-resolution photo of Joanna Smart available on request.
For further information, please contact:
Joanna Smart, CEO
Tel: +44 (0) 2380 111555
Emma Palmer Foster, Communications
Tel: +44 (0) 7880 787185
Notes to editors
VivoPlex Group Ltd
VivoPlex is a leader in real time and accurate intra-uterine monitoring for the optimisation of fertility treatment and uterine health – transforming fertility through precision medicine. Its product is in development as the first insertable wireless device for the measurement of key uterine parameters – oxygen concentration, pH and temperature – in vivo. Better understanding of these levels in humans in real time and over the long term should enable improvement of the success rate of fertility treatment, currently 25-30%. Around 12% of women wishing to have a child experience subfertility, and the IVF market is growing at a CAGR of 11% (Allied Market Research 2017), driven by factors such as rising age at which women are having children and increasing disposable income globally. The VivoPlex product comprises an insertable monitor no bigger than an intra-uterine device (IUD or coil) plus a wearable in the form of washable, discreet briefs which provides wireless power to the device and transmits data to proprietary software for use by the fertility specialist. It has generated positive results in early studies, and has potential in a range of other applications. The company, which brings together a multidisciplinary team of clinical fertility experts and world-class biosensor and digital technology engineers with experienced corporate and business development executives, was established in 2015 as a spin-out from the University of Southampton. For more information please visit www.vivoplex.com.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:
• Funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
• Engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
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• Invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
• Partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy
The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR commissions applied health research to benefit the poorest people in low- and middle-income countries, using Official Development Assistance funding.