Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Ava trials hope to extend bracelet use to PCOS sufferers

Steve Rogerson
January 3, 2018



Swiss fertility tracking company Ava has been working with the University Hospital of Zurich on a clinical trial monitoring women with highly irregular cycles – including those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
 
The company, best known for its cycle-tracking bracelet, is looking to extend the services it offers for women with regular cycles – detection of the fertile window – to women with irregular cycles, including those with PCOS.
 
Led by Brigitte Leeners, an expert in research on women's fertility and reproductive endocrinology, and running until the end of March 2018, the trial will involve 50 women with irregular cycles – including those diagnosed with PCOS – who will be wearing the Ava bracelet every night.
 
Affecting approximately 8 to 12 per cent of women, irregular cycles are mostly caused by a hormonal imbalance, with PCOS in some cases as the underlying reason for such an imbalance. PCOS is one of the leading reasons women have trouble conceiving.
 
Currently, women with highly irregular cycles and PCOS have no easy or convenient way to detect the fertile days in a monthly cycle. One of the current common fertility tests, the temperature method, can only confirm ovulation after it has happened and with irregular cycles that information cannot be used to estimate current or future fertile windows prospectively. In addition, LH testing might not be suitable for all women with PCOS, given the hormonal imbalance.
 
Ava's current bracelet is designed to help women with cycles between 24 and 35 days, and the intent with the new trial and consequent research is to develop technology designed to detect fertility among women with cycles outside this range.
 
According to Ava vice president of research Peter Stein: "This trial is just an example of how Ava is just one more step along the way to helping fulfil the company vision and mission to become a companion for women along all stages of their reproductive lives."
 
Founded in Switzerland in 2014 by Pascal Koenig, Philipp Tholen, Peter Stein and Lea von Bidder, Ava is a medical technology company dedicated to bringing innovation to women's reproductive health. The Ava bracelet was the company's first consumer product. It uses sensor technology combined with clinically tested data science to detect a woman's entire fertile window in real time. The company is also conducting clinical studies to adapt and expand its algorithms for use in pregnancy monitoring and future use as a non-hormonal contraceptive device.
 
Backed by $12.3m in seed and series A funding, Ava has operations in Zurich and San Francisco.