Mediwhale, a South Korean AI-powered health diagnostics startup, made headlines in the United States last week when its scientific teams spoke at three cardiovascular and renal health conferences.
Mediwhale revealed data from its Reti-Intelligence suite of diagnostics products, which combine a basic scan of the eye’s retina with advanced AI to detect serious health disorders, in the run-up to its FDA clearance process. Mediwhale presented in November at the American Heart Association (AHA) convention in Chicago, the American Society of Nephrology’s (ASN) Kidney Week in Orlando, Fla., and the hospitals meeting with HeartX in Arkansas, a biotech accelerator that helps entrepreneurs focusing on cardiovascular innovation.
Co-founder and CEO Kevin T. Choi said, “We are very excited to bring our innovative products to the United States, as they represent an opportunity to provide affordable, accessible, and accurate preventative care to improve the health of over 300 million people. Our products are non-invasive, which means patients avoid both the radiation risk from CT scans and the inconvenience and discomfort of blood tests. Our products are used right in the family doctor’s office, removing the need to visit a specialist or hospital, and are easy to use for healthcare professionals.”
Deep learning algorithms are used by Reti-Intelligence to predict illness risks even before symptoms arise. It uses non-invasive retinal scans in conjunction with thoroughly trained algorithms to identify illness in a way that is comfortable for both the patient and the clinician. The eye is the only organ in the body where blood vessels may be viewed directly without the need for intrusive techniques.
Mediwhale is primarily concerned with cardiovascular (Reti-CVD) and renal (Reti-CKD) health. Reti-precision Intelligence and dependability have already resulted in certifications in Asia and Europe. Reti-CVD predicts future cardiovascular disease risk as precisely as a cardiac CT, while Reti-CKD scans outperform standard blood or urine tests in risk prediction. The algorithms have been modified since their first approvals, with deep learning based on over 500,000 worldwide data sets and expanding.
Reti-Intelligence captures pictures of the eye using a basic fundus camera, and the AI system offers the illness risk assessment within one minute. The retina picture capture can be performed by a general practitioner, and if a high disease risk is discovered, the patient can be sent to a specialist for additional testing. Initial evaluation by a family doctor can save patients money and time, as wait periods to visit specialists sometimes exceed a month. Early diagnosis is critical in preventing a possibly irreparable health issue.
The adventure of Mediwhale began in 2016 when the co-founders met under tragic circumstances. Dr. Tyler H. Rim, a vitreoretinal surgeon, was treating Kevin T. Choi, a new graduate student, for severe glaucoma. Choi’s diagnosis came too late, and he lost approximately 40% of his vision. Following treatment, Choi and Rim both expressed a significant interest in applying machine learning to improve prevention, and they co-founded Mediwhale to make this a reality. They were motivated to promote non-invasive technologies and bridge the healthcare gap between medical experts and communities by allowing people to learn about their health concerns early on.
Choi and Rim completed the startup puzzle by hiring award-winning computer scientist Young G. Lee to develop the algorithm and AI solutions that Mediwhale is pioneering today. Choi is the CEO, Rim is the Chief Medical Officer and Lee is the Chief Technology Officer.
Mediwhale intends to reach the US market, subject to FDA clearance, which is expected by the end of 2023. The capacity to detect cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is especially important in the United States, where CVD is the leading cause of death. The American Heart Association, where Mediwhale’s Chief Medical Officer spoke on November 7, was interested in the advantages of Reti-CVD. Furthermore, Mediwhale was one of only five businesses chosen for the new HeartX cohort, and five hospitals decided to bring the lifesaving Reti-CVD to their facilities and begin clinical trials screening patients. Kidney health, another key public health concern in the United States, will benefit from Mediwhale’s offers as well. The Reti-CKD system is said to be the first of its type, employing artificial intelligence retina scans to diagnose and forecast kidney function.
Mediwhale is expanding with the help of investors from all across the world, including the United States. The second round of investment is scheduled to be completed this quarter, providing resources to continue growing into new markets in 2023.
Source: Medi Whale