AI medical imaging firm looks abroad after raising 100 mln yuan

June 28, 2018 12:00
Dr. Chen Hao (front row, left) and Professor Heng Pheng-ann (front, center), from CUHK's department of computer science and engineering, are founding team members of Imsight. Photo: CUHK

Artificial intelligence (AI) medical imaging startup Imsight Medical Technology has completed another round of fundraising, this time led by China Merchants Innovation Investment Management, Chinese tech media 36Kr reports.

The company raised 20 million yuan (US$3.02 million) in a pre-series A funding led by Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group in 2017 and 60 million yuan in a series A round led by Shenzhen Capital Group in March.

Including the latest round, Imsight has raised 100 million yuan in total.

In an interview with the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the company reveals it now wants to focus on research and development of medical imaging products while continuing to explore clinical applications of its products. These efforts are seen as part of its goal to expand into overseas healthcare markets.

Founded in February 2017, Imsight is headquartered in Shenzhen, with R&D centers in Hong Kong, Chengdu and Beijing. Its team comes from the Medical Image Analysis Center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

Professor Heng Pheng-ann, from the CUHK department of computer science and engineering, is one of the co-founders and the chief scientist of the startup.

Last  year, the startup joined the Incu-Tech program run by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation. It currently focuses on developing deep learning technology for medical image analysis, which can ease the doctor's workload and enhance the accuracy of diagnosis.

Dr. Chen Hao, founder and co-chief  executive of the company, said China has less than 10,000 registered pathologists, and a shortage of more than 100,000 doctors.

Medical imaging data in the country, including X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data, is growing at an average rate of 30 percent annually, according to Hao.

Such vast data, coupled with staff shortage, has led to a huge workload for doctors, he said. They have to constantly work overtime to maintain the operation of hospitals.

Take the diagnosis of lung cancer as an example. Doctors used to look closely at the CT scans of the lung with naked eyes, among many CT scan images, in order to spot tiny shadows representing affected areas. It takes about five minutes for each diagnosis; errors are bound to occur.

But with the help of AI algorithms, doctors can locate any lesion within 30 seconds.

The technology provided by Imsight now serves more than 5,000 patients each day. In order to prepare for overseas expansion, the company plans to build partnerships with 100 hospitals this year.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 27

Translation by Jonathan Chong with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Imsight aims to ease the workload of doctors by offering medical imaging analysis powered by artificial intelligence. Photo: Internet

Hong Kong Economic Journal