One of South Korea’s largest companies is doubling-down on its investment to advance medical imaging technology.
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Telecommunications company SK Telecom increased its stake in Israel-based Nanox with an additional $20 million equity investment, the medical imaging technology company announced Thursday. This follows SK’s $5 million investment made in 2019, Ran Poliakine, CEO of Nanox, told Crunchbase News.
Although Nanox started in 2012, the company is attracting significant funds in a short period of time. The SK investment comes less than six months after Nanox’s $26 million venture round, led by Taiwan-based technology manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group. To date, Nanox has raised $80 million, according to the company.
As part of the new investment, SK’s CEO Jung Ho Park will join Nanox’s board of directors.
“We see Nanox as one of the most promising companies to make a real difference for early detection of disease and a higher standard of care to the humankind,” Park said in a written statement.
Nanox was formed by a group of former Sony engineers focused on nanotechnology, intending to utilize that technology to solve the problem of early detection imaging in health care, Poliakine said.
It aims to “democratize health care” by offering a “digital camera for the full body” among its range of medical imaging services that operate on a pay-per-scan business model and include online radiology diagnostics and AI decision assistive algorithms implementation, he said.
“We are like the LED of X-rays, and our technology is utilized on a small chip, so we can replace the hot cathode method invented 125 years ago,” he said. “What we have done is implement nanotechnology in an effectively controlled X-ray stream, designated to exact the procedure as well as make it low cost and accessible.”
A traditional scan in the United States costs an average of $3,000, while globally, that average is $300, Poliakine said. Nanox is charging $30 per scan.
“We are not trying to be altruistic, but the cost of technology has jumped so much that we put in that price point to increase accessibility,” he added. “It is important to push forward health care in a more uniform way and to break down the walls between rich and poor countries.”
SK has decided to deploy 2,500 scanners to enable this service, while Nanox plans to establish a wholly owned Korean subsidiary to scale up production on the Nanox X-ray source semiconductor in order t0 get 15,000 units out to physicians by next year, Poliakine said.
Blogroll Illustration: Li-Anne Dias