Blue Spark fires up $40M funding for remote monitoring wearables

Things are heating up for Blue Spark Technologies.

Amid the rollout of the latest version of its TempTraq remote body temperature monitor, the Cleveland-based company has secured $40 million to speed up and expand that rollout and advance the development of other remote patient monitoring technologies.

The funding came in the form of an intellectual property-based debt solution, in which a company offers up its IP, rather than bonds or shares of the company, as collateral for a loan. Ghost Tree Partners, a biotech-focused hedge fund that was founded last year, led the financing, while insurance giant Aon also chipped in.

“Hospitals are seeking to improve patient care, reduce readmissions, optimize reimbursements and gain competitive advantage. TempTraq has been clinically proven to accurately detect fevers much earlier than the current standard of care,” said John Gannon, Blue Spark’s president and CEO. “Having Ghost Tree’s support and expertise will be invaluable as we continue to expand our remote patient monitoring solutions to the market.”

The TempTraq device is a thin, flexible patch that’s stuck to the skin in the armpit to continuously monitor body temperature for up to 72 hours. During that time, the single-use patch transmits its readings to a healthcare provider’s electronic health record system and patient monitoring portal, and automatically sends alerts if a fever is detected.

When used in hospital settings, the data is transmitted to the portal through a Bluetooth connector. For outpatients, the patch can wirelessly send its readings to a user’s smartphone or tablet before uploading them to the TempTraq database, which is supported by Google’s healthcare-specific cloud platform.

The technology has been proven in a handful of clinical studies not only to be an accurate temperature monitor, but also to detect fevers well before an intermittent monitoring approach, the current standard of care.

The first iteration of the TempTraq patch, meant to be used for just 24 hours, was cleared (PDF) by the FDA in the fall of 2015. That was followed several years later by the agency’s 2020 clearance (PDF) of 48-hour and 72-hour versions of the wearable monitor. The devices are cleared for use in tracking body temperature for patients of all ages.

Since the latest regulatory nod, Blue Spark’s tech has been tapped by Bristol Myers Squibb to help monitor patients throughout clinical trials of the Big Pharma’s CAR-T cell therapies. When the partnership was announced in 2021, the companies said it marked BMS’ “first use of a remote patient monitoring technology to track CAR-T patient temperatures.”