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Fertility Device Company Gains $9.7M in Early Funds

Ava bracelet and app

Ava bracelet and smartphone app (Ava Science Inc.)

15 November 2016. A two year-old medical device enterprise making a fertility tracker for women is raising $9.7 million in its first venture finance round. The new funds collected by Ava Science Inc., based in Zurich and San Francisco, supplement the company’s original $2.6 million in seed funding raised in November 2015.

Ava is developing a tracking band worn like a bracelet on the wrist that identifies the fertile days in a woman’s cycle. The device is worn while sleeping at night, when sensors collect data for 9 physiological factors associated with the onset of ovulation and that correlate with the rise in reproductive hormones estradiol and progesterone. Those variables include resting pulse rate, skin temperature, heat loss while sleeping, heart rate variability, sleep quality and quantity, amount of movement while sleeping, breathing rate, perfusion of blood to tissues, and bioimpedence for data on skin hydration and perspiration.

The data are collected and synced to a smartphone app, which calculates the fertile window in a woman’s cycle, averaging 5.3 days that include the days leading up to ovulation and the ovulation day itself. Using the bracelet, notes Ava Science, avoids guess work, urine samples, ovulation tests strips, and body temperature measurements. The company says the Ava system qualifies as an FDA class 1 or low-risk medical device.

Ava Science says data for the algorithms in the device were collected in a year-long clinical study led by Brigitte Leeners, a reproductive endocrinologist at University Hospital in Zurich and scientific adviser to Ava. The company says findings from the study, reported at a professional meeting in Switzerland in June, show results from the Ava system matched 89 percent of the time with independent urine samples.

The company reported in September the first pregnancy in the U.S. attributed to the Ava system, since it began shipping this summer. Ava Science says a second clinical trial of the device is underway.

Polytech Ecosystem Ventures, based in Lausanne, Switzerland and Saratoga in California’s Silicon Valley, led the financing round. Blue Ocean Ventures and Global Sources, with existing seed investors Swisscom and ZKB, and other unidentified investors, took part in the round. Ava Science president and co-founder Lea von Bidder says in a company statement that Ava will use the funds for further product development, scale-up production of Ava bracelets to meet consumer demand, and to advance the company’s research.

“With these funds,” adds co-founder and CEO Pascal Koenig, “we’ll be able to further accelerate our traction, and continue on our mission of developing technology that improves the reproductive health of women worldwide.”

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