Now it’s time to take a look at a Korean business bringing about changes in the global economy with some new ideas.
The company we’re going to introduce today is AIDOT, which develops medical devices using artificial intelligence or AI. Let’s hear from company president Jeong Jae-hoon.
AIDOT was established in June 2014. It has been developing medical services based on AI since 2015. Its flagship product is an AI-powered cervical cancer detection solution called “Cerviray,” which is now available worldwide. The company has also developed an AI-based carotid ultrasonography solution for screening cerebral stroke in advance as well as a gastrointestinal endoscopy AI system. It has set up its subsidiary in Beijing and a joint venture in Shenzhen in China to successfully commercialize Cerviray in the country. The company has also signed partnership contracts with companies in Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia to commercialize the cervical cancer screening system.
Before creating this firm, Jeong worked at an IT company and ran his own business in the field of mobile solutions. He happened to learn that many women around the world, especially in developing countries, suffered from cervical cancer.
After breast cancer, cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women. Early medical checkups can reduce the incidence rates of cervical cancer by more than 90 percent, but many women who failed to get proper treatment in early stages died eventually. Jeong wondered how to create a favorable environment for women to receive relevant examination more easily. In cooperation with professors of obstetrics and gynecology and Choi Sung-won, an IT expert and vice president of the company, Jeong developed the world’s first AI-based cervical cancer screening solution, “Cerviray.”
Cerviray can detect cervical cancer in early stages through the use of AI. By employing the technique of applying acetic acid to the cervix, a special colposcope camera developed by AIDOT is used for enlargement photography. The solution’s software can detect cervical cancer and its conditions using AI.
It can use extensive data of more than 30-thousand records and written opinions offered by medical doctors in Korea. The solution’s sensitivity is 93 percent and its specificity is 89 percent, about 20 percent higher than those of previous early-stage cancer screening systems. For patients in countries where medical infrastructure is inadequate and in island countries, Cerviray ensures a precise diagnosis and helps doctors scan cervical cancer remotely. In other words, it can detect cancer in early stages efficiently even in places with poor medical infrastructure.
Medical equipment such as CT, MRI and X-ray has limitations in movement. Also, Pap test results may vary, depending on the experiences of doctors. But it is easy to move Cerviray, which continues to update data to enhance accuracy. Even if patients receive the test outside Korea, they can communicate with doctors in Korea remotely. Wherever they are, they can counsel with Korean doctors about the test results.
This solution proves more effective in developing nations, including China and Southeast Asian countries, where 85 percent of deaths caused by cervical cancer are concentrated. Only 20 years ago, the situation was not much different in South Korea. At the time, cervical cancer was the most common cancer among women in Korea. After the establishment of the early cancer diagnosis system, Korea was able to reduce the cervical cancer incidence rate significantly.
It’s a relief that many countries are increasingly aware of the problem of cervical cancer and making greater investment in preventing it. Accordingly, demand for Cerviray is on the rise.
We’ve already set up a joint venture in Shenzhen in China to secure local customers. Numerous mobile medical examination centers all across China can conduct tests for cervical cancer using our solution. We’ve also signed contracts with companies in archipelagic countries like Indonesia and the Philippines.
In the Philippines, in particular, 200 people have recently received the test for the early detection of cervical cancer through Cerviray. The service is provided free of charge now. If we export our solution, we’ll provide it to our partners in the form of business-to-business transactions. Currently, the demand for our solution outruns the supply. Through the joint venture in Shenzhen, we’ve even picked a factory capable of handling large quantities of products to be consumed in China.
Last year, AIDOT won the Minister’s Award of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups and received the top prize at the Northeast Asia Innovation Forum. The company also obtained ISO certification, the international standard for a quality management system, at the end of last year. This will certainly facilitate the company’s exports to Southeast Asia and South America.
AIDOT’s innovation doesn’t end there. It plans on commercializing a portable carotid ultrasonography solution based on AI in the second half of this year. An ultrasound probe scans the carotid region and AI analyzes the result in just 10 seconds to determine the risks of cerebral stroke.
This solution, called “SONO.AI,” scans the carotid artery to find any legion of plaque using AI. If it finds something abnormal, it displays the location of plaque and measures the risk of stroke. For this solution, we’ve conducted joint research with neurosurgery professor Jeon Jin-pyeong at Hallym University Chuncheon Sacred Heart Hospital. The solution consists of AI software developed by AIDOT and a portable ultrasound probe, so people can carry it around and use it remotely. The population is aging in not only Korea but Japan, North America and Europe. I’m sure the distribution of this solution to those regions will contribute to preventing cerebral stroke there and increasing our sales considerably.
The company has also completed the development of a gastroscopy AI diagnosis system, which displays any lesion in the stomach in real time during a gastroscopy procedure. Using AI, it checks whether the lesion is pre-cancer, early-stage cancer or progressive cancer, and calculates the probability of each case. The company is working on ways to apply this concept to large and small bowel capsule endoscopy as well.
AIDOT targets a huge market, which is estimated to grow to 43 billion US dollars in 2025. Diagnoses of cervical cancer and cerebral stroke as well as AI systems for endoscopy are all combined in this market. AIDOT’s goal is to become a unicorn startup and develop into a global firm. But the company is seeking more than just growth. Its corporate philosophy is to return what it has received to society. Its ultimate goal is to create a better world and make people happy and healthy.
It was artificial intelligence that first saw the COVID-19 pandemic coming. After learning this fact, people have shown greater interest in AI in healthcare. Among Korean startups dealing with AI technology, those specializing in medical AI are growing fast. By incorporating advanced AI technology into excellent medical skills, a number of Korean firms are developing innovative, AI-based medical software. And AIDOT is spearheading this process.