Sense4Baby raises $4M, hires new CEO

By Jonah Comstock
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image002Sense4Baby, the fetal monitoring system that was the first startup to spin off from the West Health Institute, has raised $4 million from the West Health Investment Fund. The startup also appointed Dr. Jessica Grossman, an obstetrician/gynecologist who has been serving as medical director of Ethicon Endo-Surgery, a Johnson and Johnson medical device company, as president and CEO.

Some or all of the funding was likely raised when Sense4Baby spun off from West Health in September of 2012. At the time, the company received an undisclosed investment from its progenitor, described as a "significant funding commitment," and became the first company in West Health's incubator.

Sense4Baby markets a wireless fetal monitor that straps onto a pregnant woman's belly and transmits data about both maternal and fetal heart rates as well as monitoring contractions. It sends the information via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet which can then upload it to a secure cloud. It's been developed for use in high-risk pregnancies.

West first announced the Sense4Baby technology as a prototype in November 2010. In January 2012, West partnered with the Carlos Slim Health Institute to study the impact of the technology in the state of Yucatan in Mexico.

Grossman has worked with several startup medical device companies in the past 10 years. She served as founder, president and member of the board of directors at Gynesonics, an early stage medical device company focused on minimally invasive solutions for women’s health. Gynesonics raised more than $20 million in venture capital financing and invented and helped develop the first intrauterine, ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation device for fibroid tumors. She has also been an investor herself, investing in Hygeia Personal Care Products, according to AngelList.

Grossman trained as an OB-GYN at Pennsylvania hospital and has her MD from Thomas Jefferson University. She did research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. She is also a board member for two nonprofits: the American United Nations Population Fund and Medicines 360.

"Dr. Grossman’s medical and professional experience will help guide Sense4Baby's clinical and commercial success," Nicholas Valeriani, chairman of the board of Sense4Baby and chief executive officer of the West Health Institute, said in a statement. "Sense4Baby demonstrates how West Health’s family of entities can work together to help lower the cost of health care. The company licensed a technology invented at the Institute for the public good, is housed at the West Health Incubator and received capital from the Investment Fund with the ultimate goal of bringing a new, cost-lowering and patient-centered technology to market."

Sense4Baby's wireless monitoring technology is still pending FDA clearance.