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Analysis Aug 5, 2019 04:30 pm EqualOcean

Intervision Technology founder and CEO Chen Kuan: Artificial intelligence empowers smart medical innovation practices

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Jun 15, 2020 09:57 am ·

Medical AI Tech Shukun Closes Series B1 Funding Round of CNY 200 Million

Chinese medical AI startup Shukun announced that it had closed Series B funding at a deal value of CNY 200 million. This investment was co-led by BOC International and CCB International’s Jianxing Fund, participation came from sequential investors China Creation Ventures (CCV) and Huaigai Capital (HG Capital). Shukun plans to utilize this capital injection to accelerate landing AI technologies in all-tier clinics and community care centers while continuously advancing in the heart disease, neural systems and oncology areas. As a medical solution provider, Shukun provides hospitals with a smart end-to-end workflow, called ‘Scan-to-Report’ – an efficient procedure that allows booking, examination and receipt of reports within the same day. So far, this AI startup has built three comprehensive platforms covering three major human organ areas: heart, brain and chest. Even further, Shukun also launched a community-based medical imaging cloud platform, which significantly benefits citizens by making it more convenient for them to do the physical examination and follow-up checks. Within the three years since its inception, this high-tech medical company has accumulated nearly 100 patents and has been recognized as an ‘Innovative Medical Device’ by the Chinese Food and Drug Administration. Now it eyes an accelerated expansion into more triple-A hospitals nationwide, as it simultaneously seeks commercialization in joint efforts with giants in the field of medical devices, such as GE Healthcare and Philips Healthcare. From a long-term perspective, the in-depth integration of AI technology and medical application is just a start. In the Governmental Two Sessions, not long ago, one representative from a radiology department introduced that it takes from at least 30 minutes to one hour to do the traditional check and diagnosis, including the stages: ‘scan – post-treatment – diagnosis  – initial reporting – report review.’  For patients, they should usually wait for one to three days to receive the reports. This is the area where AI technology should enter. “The lack of medical resources has always been one of the rooted reasons of China’s medical issues,” says Mr. Zhou Wei, the managing partner of China Creation Venture, “the most efficient way is to utilize AI such advanced technologies to assist doctors in solving the imbalance between demand and supply.” Amid the COVID-19 crisis, this startup has extended its service coverage to over 200 hospitals nationwide. It is not the only AI-based medical tech that has embraced a boosting strategy at this particular time. Invervision, the lung cancer detector, launched a deep-learning system in the epicenter of Wuhan to help frontline doctors fight against the deadly virus. In the coming second wave of the epidemic, high-tech tools are a must to shape a possible solution for all mankind.

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Mar 5, 2020 11:41 am ·

Open Source, Open Mind: Baidu and LinkingMed Help Doctors in Medical Images

LinkingMed has launched its AI-based detection model for pneumonia CT-screening and prediction based on the Baidu’s PaddlePaddle (Parallel Distributed Deep Learning), EqualOcean learned from the medical imaging firm. A Hunan-based hospital affiliated to Xiangnan University became the first medical institution to use the system. This AI-equipped diagnosis system can detect and contour the lesion, picture the diagrams of the density of the two hemisphere lungs, and visualize a series of quantitative benchmarks such as quantity and volume percentage. All these tasks can be completed within less than one minute, with an accuracy rate of  92% - 97%, LinkingMed claims. So far, LinkingMed has not initiated any commercial plans for this AI-based pneumonia detection system. “The motivation to launch this AI medical diagnosis model is only to help fight against the spread of coronavirus,” Mr. Ryan Zhang, the CEO of LinkingMed, said. “We will unconditionally contribute our AI power to containing this plague, as much as we can,” he added. The high-tech medical solution provider focused on solving the compatibility issue with different types of scanning equipment by cooperating with research entities. At the development stage of the algorithm used by the system, the Xiangnan University-affiliated hospital provided professional clinical instructions regarding the data annotation, module design and set strict acceptance criteria to satisfy various medical conditions. This online AI screening system will be deployed at multiple hospitals in Hubei, Chengdu, and other severely-affected areas. Founded in 2016, LinkingMed is an AI technology enterprise in the field of oncological radiation therapy. The Beijing-based medical high-tech company sells techniques and cloud services related to the organic contour, target contour, and radiotherapy to medical institutions. By leveraging the internet and cloud platforms, it also provides remote collaboration and relevant website services for oncological doctors and physicists. During the past four years, LinkingMed has received d four funding rounds, including the recent one worth CNY 40 million in October 2019. Linear Venture is the serial investor for LinkingMed from Series Pre-A finance to the last Series A finance. Medical imaging is a niche business given lightweight and comparably less attention as Chinese medical device makers are promoting their ‘globally competitive’ strategy. Now this area is increasingly highlighted, as the novel coronavirus continues to spread and consumes a lot of medical facilities and doctors across China. The domestic high-tech medical device market rose in 2016, a fierce tussle participated by United Imaging (联影医疗), Huiyihuiying (汇医慧影) and VoxelCloud (体素科技). Most players use essentially indifferent AI technology while base the competency on different sources. These providers still need to consider some fundamental issues to apply AI in daily life. The first is developing the algorithm for the specific problem, for instance, coronavirus event. The other is high-quality data annotation, which takes time and hard work. Additionally, the lack of industry standards, quality protocols, and practice guidelines stand as the major problems ahead of the industry. For patients, time is life. CT imaging plays a critical role in identifying the infected patients, serving as a surrogate to PCR (polymerase chain reaction) diagnostic, according to a previous report. In the Huoshenshan (‘Fire God Mountain) hospital, one of the frontline hospitals, the CT lung screening by InferVision (推想科技) helped with the lab’s capacity as the number of suspected cases rose quickly.  To facilitate the detection process and guarantee the test results, LinkingMed incorporated the AI learning framework into the CT imaging process by utilizing Baidu’s PaddlePaddle. Injected with the AI’s deep-learning power, this open-source online diagnosis model can improve the efficiency and ease the pressure on the clinical doctors.  Before 2020, ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was a buzz word. Now, the outbreak of coronavirus is pushing many key industries to accelerate their AI processes, especially, in the urgent demand for medical facilities. The epidemic has forced Ali Health (阿里健康), Yitu Technology (依图科技), Huawei (华为), Deep Wise (深睿医疗), and other tech companies to introduce their AI-equipped diagnostics, in different aspects, aligning a joint wholistic force to ease the infection.  The PaddlePaddle of Baidu is an open-source deep-learning Chinese platform for industrial applications. Similar to Google’s TensorFlow, PaddlePaddle comprises core learning-framework, model bank, development tool kits, and online services supporting over 1.5 million developers in businesses.  The option to cooperate with PaddlePaddle also indicates LinkingMed’s motivation for its AI diagnostic system. “To curtail the current tension in Korea, Iran, and Japan, we want to provide technical support through Baidu’s platform for international medical institutions and developers,” says Mr. Zhang, “We also will keep an open mind to work with different medical entities, including online healthcare. The goal is to inject technology, whilst fulfilling our social responsibilities. ”

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Feb 3, 2020 09:29 am ·

Infervision: Our AI Detects Deadly Coronavirus via CT Lung Screening

Infervision (推想科技) described its coronavirus detection model as working through CT lung screening. This means that the new model detects ground-glass opacities (GGO) in the lung that may later be confirmed as one of the complications of the virus. The firm's model has already been used by Wuhan Tongji Hospital, one of the frontline hospitals that has been fighting with the epidemic in Wuhan. It is set to be deployed in multiple other hospitals in the near future, Infervision said.  “It serves as a surrogate to PCR diagnostic as the lab capacities aren't enough to keep up with the rising number of suspected cases in the afflicted regions," added the company. Another diagnostics solution support for the rising crisis was launched by Shenzhen-based genomics giant BGI Genomics (300676: SH) on January 28. The company's stocks opened around 10% up as the mainland's stock markets open on January 3, 2020. “The new coronavirus may cause infections with no symptoms and sicken otherwise healthy people,” postulated the Lancet, showing how hard it is presently for hospitals in Wuhan, which are racing against time to diagnose large numbers of patients. The new diagnostic solutions possess tremendous importance for the afflicted region, considering the symptoms of the new virus are similar to other fast-spreading diseases like flu, complicating the process and creating excess demand thanks to a large number of concerned patients who need to be assessed. "Symptomatic patients are piling up in the hospital – AI can help triage the patients quickly," said the firm. "Patients have been seen without any noticeable symptoms like fever or cough, but showing large GGOs in the lung," The Beijing-based private firm had long been drawing the attention of wealthy venture capitalists, including Qiming Venture Partners and Sequoia China; it has secured around USD 100 million since its inception in January 2016. The team has been adopting deep learning technology broadly in the medical imaging field. The firm was involved in an early victory in this complex battle: for the first time since the emergence of the new virus in late 2019, the number of new suspected coronavirus cases in China started to drop, over two consecutive days, on December 31 and January 1, 2020 - mostly driven by faster diagnostic solutions. PCR diagnostics had shown that it could play a crucial role. 

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