Israel’s 20th Biomed Conference kicks off today. Its organizers expect an even larger turnout than in previous years. For the local medical technology and healthcare industries, the conference provides an excellent opportunity to showcase Israeli innovations.
Viz.ai, for example, announced on April 7 that it had raised over an additional $100 million, giving it an estimated valuation of $1.2 billion. This fundraising was led by two American venture capital funds, Tiger Global and Insight Partners.
Israel Medtech was founded in 2020 to promote Israeli high-tech companies specializing in medical technologies. As such, it has fitted in well with the specific needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Yaron Yitzhari, CEO of Medtronics and managing director of the new umbrella organization, said in an interview a few months later that the virus had served as basic training to accelerate the growth of the organization and the entire industry. .
“We started by restoring the functionality of products that were not working, such as ventilators or test equipment. We have worked with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the Israeli aviation industry to release patents for respirators, so they can be made from available materials. At the same time, we have taken steps to connect the technologies used by Israeli medical equipment companies and hospitals, health insurance providers and the Ministry of Health,” he said.
Mr. Yitzhari added that during this period, Israeli companies have developed remarkable technologies, including innovations in breathing and patient treatment, prognosis and patient communication technologies, diagnostics and monitoring, and even home care technologies. “Our role was to channel them to hospitals and the ministry of health, and to help them work with local manufacturers,” he said.
All of these preparatory steps have helped companies like Viz.ai grow and develop. Its technology helps identify life-threatening medical conditions during hospital imaging scans. The company’s system connects to CT equipment, analyzes images using computerized AI, and flags urgent findings. Originally, the technology flagged strokes and cranial hemorrhages. Last year, it expanded its diagnostic capabilities to pulmonary embolisms, aortic dissections and brain aneurysms.
Viz.ai’s business model is SaaS (Software as a Service). It sells annual licenses to use its technology to individual hospitals and healthcare networks. Viz.ai’s staff has tripled to 140 people in Israel and 350 worldwide, including at a development center in Portugal. The system is already installed in some 1,000 hospitals, mostly in the United States.
“There are more products in development, and lots of new opportunities to explore,” said David Golan, Deputy CTO of Viz.ai. The idea came to him when he met with a pulmonologist and showed him a case of suspected stroke on his phone, and “the doctor looked at the picture and said, ‘The patient has cancer in his lungs. Patients have so little time with their doctors. Ten percent of people [censées être en bonne santé] walk with [une maladie] of which they are unaware of the existence. And you can catch all those things in time.”
In Israel, Viz.ai has been installed as a pilot program at Rambam Hospital in Haifa and HaEmek Hospital in Afula. He was not prosecuted, however, for regulatory reasons, which prohibit submitting patient data to the cloud. But, according to Mr. Golan, this has since been rectified. It is now possible to use the product in Israel, and the first hospitals should soon adopt it.
As noted above, Israeli medical technology companies are in high demand, which has been intensified by the coronavirus outbreak. In 2021 alone, they were able to raise around $500 million in investments.
According to the Israel Export Institute, around 1,200 Israeli companies operate in the life sciences sector, in medical equipment, biopharmaceuticals, medical IT and services. According to the institute, these companies provide technological solutions to problems encountered internationally, such as increasing home care, strengthening early diagnosis and preventive medicine. According to the institute, Israel has become a leading country in digital health innovations.
Source: Al Monitor & Israel Valley