Fertility biotech company moves HQ from Southampton to Milton Park, Oxford & recruits new FD

Photo shows: Stuart Webb, VivoPlex's new financial director
Stuart Webb Vivoplex
VivoPlex Group Ltd, a University of Southampton spin-out which is developing an insertable wireless device to measure a woman’s key uterine parameters to improve the success rate of fertility treatment, has expanded to take on laboratory and office premises on Milton Park, Oxford.

The company’s new headquarters accommodates its existing 15 R&D and corporate staff while also allowing for additional recruitment as its intra-uterine biosensor moves through the next stages of clinical development and its digital health activities progress. In conjunction with the move, the management team has been expanded with the appointment of Stuart Webb as Finance Director. He brings with him significant financial expertise from within the healthcare sector and joins from Greenbrook Healthcare, a primary care organisation with a focus on NHS urgent care, where he was Finance Director.

Via financial and commercial roles at InHealth, ORLA Healthcare and Greenbrook Healthcare, Stuart Webb has a strong understanding of healthcare provision and commissioning. He started his career at Oxford University Press following a degree in Accounting and Finance.

VivoPlex’s new facilities will incorporate a clean room which is expected to come on-line early next year for in-house manufacturing of its intra-uterine device.

VivoPlex’s wireless battery-free sensor monitors for the first time ever three influential parameters in the uterine environment – temperature, pH and oxygen level – for the optimisation of fertility and uterine health. It is expected to move into a clinical feasibility study early next year, following the submission of an approval application to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The clinical feasibility study is supported by the UK NIHR’s i4i Programme in a joint project with the University of Southampton, from which the company was spun out.

Joanna Smart, CEO of VivoPlex, said: “Our expansion to Oxford is an important milestone in VivoPlex’s development, bringing us the facilities we need to move our intra-uterine biosensor through the next phases of clinical and commercial development. Location in this medtech and digital health cluster also provides access to the talent, expertise and funding which will drive our future growth.

“Alongside the move to Milton Park, I’m pleased to welcome Stuart Webb to VivoPlex as Finance Director. He is already having a significant impact as we work closely together on financial strategy.”

VivoPlex is a precision health technology company focused on human fertility. Its product, which is in development, is the first insertable wireless device to measure key uterine parameters – oxygen concentration, pH and temperature. Better understanding of these levels in humans in real time 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 11% a year, 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 such as livestock monitoring and animal welfare. 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.