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AI-Driven Startup DeepInformatics Receives CNY 100 Mn in Series B
COVID-19 and China
A hands-free solution for pathologists. Image credit: Clay Banks/Unsplash

► The Chinese startup has quickly caught the opportunities rising in the digital pathological diagnosis market.

► The founder and investors are eyeing the post-pandemic digital healthcare business in China.

DeepInformatics, the Hangzhou-based digital and smart solution provider, closed its Series B funding round with a tally of CNY 100 million. The investors include China International Capital Corporation (CICC), Legend Capital and Jiangmen Venture Capital. This capital injection is intended to boost research and development, accelerate artificial intelligence processes and expand pathological businesses.

Founded in 2017 in Hangzhou, this high-tech startup has always focused on pathological services in China. With  the dedicated aim of providing comprehensive solutions for Chinese pathologists, it has developed many AI-based auxiliary diagnostic tools and relevant businesses, including cloud storage, big data management, remote meeting, etc.

During the three years since its inception, this young company went thorough two financing rounds. Jiangmen Venture Capital (‘将门创投’) has been the serial investor since the Angel round in 2017.

Pathology is a hard discipline – this is a commonly-acknowledged opinion. Over 70% of clinical medical diagnoses reply to traditional pathological diagnosis. Not only are the sophisticated methods they apply complex to learn and perfect – but perfectly competent pathologists are also faced with hard situations. As the demand for oncological checks and diagnoses has been expanding, the market is seeing a considerable lack of registered pathologists.

According to the National Medical Products Administration, there were 9,600 registered pathologists nationwide in 2018, while the National Health Committee required one to two for every hundred medical beds, a principle known as '100 thousand in need.'  Pathologists are currently under a lot of pressure. At a Chinese triple-A hospital, a doctor needs to check nearly 2,000 pathological sections on average daily – it also consumes a lot of time and mental energy to recognize diseased organic cells, roughly calculate the cell numbers and assess the cancer risk level.

Dr. Yang Lin, the founder of DeepInformatics, wanted to fix this issue after he interviewed many experienced pathologists and saw many occupational diseases from them. At the age of 37 in 2014, he was granted tenure as a professor by the University of Florida in three departments, including biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering and computer engineering. Later, in 2016, when the Chinese government introduced a series of healthcare reform policies, the young academic saw a chance to make a difference.

When the team started to study the market, Dr. Lin quickly noticed that one smart product could not substantially change the current situation that pathologists are facing. Therefore he and his team have developed a product portfolio, both software and hardware, from a pathological image gallery to remote connection systems and portable smart scanners. Their products won the MedAI Challenge in the 2018 Artificial Intelligence World Innovations hosted by Shanghai Xuhui District’s People’s Government.

“It is a promising business to provide smart auxiliary support for pathologists, improving diagnostic efficiency and efficacy,” says Mr. Liu, a boardmember of CICC. So thinks Mr. Liu, the founder and partner of the Jiangmen V, who stated that “the market of AI-driven auxiliary diagnosis shows great potential, especially during the post-pandemic era.”

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