Bloom is a cervical ring made by Prima-Temp that continuously monitors women's core body temperature and wirelessly relays the information to a fertility tracking app. (Courtesy Prima-Temp)

Boulder startup unveils fertility app at CES

Boulder startup Prima-Temp Inc. this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas unveiled a temperature sensor that will enable women to track their fertility without really even thinking about it.

Bloom is a cervical ring similar in shape to the NuvaRing birth control. Inside is a temperature sensor that tracks a woman’s core body temperature and wirelessly relays the information to an app on the user’s smartphone.

The app isn’t unlike others on the market that help women track their fertility, including Boulder-based Kindara,  except that the others require women to take their temperature themselves and many require data input as well. Bloom tracks the data continuously so that readings are consistently gathered, even while a woman is asleep.

“We’ve simply taken the medicine out of those cervical rings and put a continuous temperature sensor and Bluetooth transmitter in,” Prima-Temp CEO Lauren Constantini said in a phone interview with Boulderopolis.

Because body temperature is a key indicator of hormone levels and ovulation, the app can give women who are trying to get pregnant insight into the times when they’re most fertile. The app can also alert women to their ovulation two days in advance.

The company received Food and Drug Administration guidance in August that the Bloom device does not require FDA approval, though it will still be regulated and have to follow certain guidelines. That means a quicker launch of the product than the company expected, though Constantini said the company is still doing ample testing to make sure the device is safe for use.

“We are still doing all the testing that the FDA requires,” she said. “But we no longer have to submit those data and wait for the FDA to get back to us.”

Wade Webster, now Prima-Temp’s chief medical officer, and chief technical officer Rich Pollack, founded the company in 2010.

Pollack is founder of Boulder-based Phase IV Engineering, a firm that specializes in wireless sensors. Bloom was an idea spawned by a similar Phase IV product used to predict fertility and detect disease in cattle.

Fertility tracking is the first application targeted by Prima-Temp, but other potential uses in humans include addressing issues like disease detection, sleep disorders and drug therapy.

There is potential for Bloom itself to be used as a drug-free alternative to birth control and contraception, though Constantini said the company is not marketing it for that use initially because of the extra FDA regulation that would be involved. Even so, Constantini said the Vatican has inquired about doing a clinical trial with Bloom, which could be seen as a high-tech version of natural family planning.

The device, replaced every month, won’t be cheap. At launch, Constantini said the price will be less than $200 per ring, though she expects that “we’ll be able to get it down much further” once greater scale is achieved. But Constantini said that for women trying to get pregnant Bloom could be much less expensive than other options and ensure that natural methods are exhausted before resorting to more costly ones like in vitro fertilization.

Prima-Temp raised a $1.8 million Series A round of funding last year, and is hoping to close a Series B round in June.

Meanwhile, the company has been in discussions about partnering with other fertility tracking apps, among them Kindara, which released an integrated thermometer for its app last year. The upside would be access to those apps’ established customer bases, but Prima-Temp would also likely lose some control over its product and not have its branding as prominently associated with the sensors.

The other option, Constantini said, is to go it alone with Prima-Temp’s own app for a while with an eye on being acquired by a larger company down the road.

“It would be a lot easier to be acquired by remaining independent,” she said.

Boulder startup Prima-Temp Inc. this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas unveiled a temperature sensor that will enable women to track their fertility without really even thinking about it.

Bloom is a cervical ring similar in shape to the NuvaRing birth control. Inside is a temperature sensor that tracks a woman’s core body temperature and wirelessly relays the information to an app on the user’s smartphone.

The app isn’t unlike others on the market that help women track their fertility, including Boulder-based Kindara,  except that the others require women to take their temperature themselves and many require data input as well. Bloom tracks the data continuously so that readings are consistently gathered, even while a woman is asleep.

“We’ve simply taken the medicine out of those cervical rings and put a continuous temperature sensor and Bluetooth transmitter in,” Prima-Temp CEO Lauren Constantini said in a phone interview with Boulderopolis.

Because body temperature is a key indicator of hormone levels and ovulation, the app can give women who are trying to get pregnant insight into the times when they’re most fertile. The app can also alert women to their ovulation two days in advance.

The company received Food and Drug Administration guidance in August that the Bloom device does not require FDA approval, though it will still be regulated and have to follow certain guidelines. That means a quicker launch of the product than the company expected, though Constantini said the company is still doing ample testing to make sure…