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Gynecology Startup Illumigyn Announces $33M In Funding, Major Expansion

Illumigyn, a gynecological imaging startup, has raised $33 million that it plans to use to expand across the globe, starting this month with the United States, United Arab Emirates, India, Singapore and South Korea.

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The Israel-based startup announced Wednesday it has attracted investment from Yozma Group Korea and Ubicom Holdings Japan, which both led its latest funding round.

Ran Poliakine and Lior Greenstein founded Illumigyn in 2012. The company has since received Food and Drug Administration approval for its device, known as the gynescope. The technology digitally documents a woman’s cervix, vagina and external genitalia with high-quality images that can be magnified to see details that might go unnoticed in a traditional Pap smear test.

The gynescope will help “bridge the gap between all women and outstanding healthcare, and [empower] women with state of the art, proprietary technology,” Wonjae Lee, head of Asia Pacific for Yozma Group, said in a statement. “Our investment comes after our impressive discussions with the company’s leaders, whose vision is not only valuable in this current moment post-pandemic, but is sure to shape the future of gynecology and how women can continue to access innovative and intelligent healthcare.”

Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States, but the number of cases and deaths have “decreased significantly” in the last 40 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2018, the most recent year recorded, the CDC tallied 12,733 new cervical cancer cases in the U.S., down from 13,753 in 1999.

“This decline largely is the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical precancer before it turns into cancer,” the federal agency reports.

Of new cervical cancer cases reported annually between 2014 and 2018, Hispanic and Black women make up a larger share than their white, Native American and Asian and Pacific Islander counterparts, CDC data shows. Most cases are detected between the ages of 40 and 44, according to the data.

Illumigyn’s goal is to decrease overall cases and deaths by detecting problem cells or cancers earlier.

The company says any trained medical care provider—from gynecologists, general and nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants—can use the gynescope, which stores images on the cloud (securely, to comply with HIPAA regulations, the company notes) and lets doctors or specialists look at the pictures remotely.

Company leaders say the recent investment influx will allow Illumigyn to grow its research and development segment and expand the technology’s reach.

“This is another milestone in our vision to democratize women’s health care and bring advanced gynecological care to women worldwide … in developed and developing countries, in population centers, as well as remote communities,” Poliakine said.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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