～First instance of SVF2 investing in a Japanese Medical AI company～
Tokyo, April 26th, 2022: AI Medical Service (AIM), the Tokyo-based med-tech company using deep learning technology to develop endoscopic AI, announces ¥8 Billion (JPY) of financing led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and joined by existing investors Globis Capital Partners, World Innovation Lab (WiL), and Incubate Fund. SoftBank Vision Fund is one of the largest technology investment funds in the world. It has invested $129 billion in the AI industry from the time of its inception until the end of 2021¹. AIM will use the proceeds of the Series C financing round to accelerate the global adoption of endoscopic AI and finance the development of an in-house cloud-based platform.
■ Mission of AIM
World-wide approximately 30% of cancer mortality can be attributed to gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, the largest of any cancer grouping in the world as well as Japan. Many cases of GI cancer can be treated successfully if they are detected at an early stage, but the prospects for recovery diminish substantially in the case of late-stage detection. Currently, only endoscopic exam can detect GI cancer at its early stages. By increasing the accuracy of endoscopic diagnostics with AI, AIM is working to promote the early detection of cancer and save lives all over the world.
■ Positioning of Japanese Endoscopic Medicine
Japan is the origin of endoscopic medicine and leads the world in its development and practice. Due to this storied history, endoscopic data collected in Japan is the world’s best in terms of both quality and quantity. Consequently, endoscopic AI developed utilizing Japanese expertise has great potential to be victorious in the global market.
■ Collaboration with the SoftBank Group
Through its collaboration with the SoftBank Group, AIM will promote the world-wide adoption of endoscopic AI first created in Japan using the knowledge and experience of expert endoscopists. This endoscopic AI will first be distributed on-premises, but distribution will eventually transition to a cloud platform to be developed by AIM. Realizing the vision of cloud-based endoscopic AI will allow people around the world to access the latest endoscopic medicine, contributing to vastly reduced cancer mortality.
●Global Expansion of Endoscopic AI
● AIM Direction from the Series C Financing Round
1. Acceleration of global business development
→ Driving joint research and product development with medical institutions in the US, Asia-Pacific region, etc.
→ Acquiring the talent necessary to expand global business
2. Developing a proprietary cloud platform to eliminate GI cancers around the world
→ Creating an in-house cloud platform that connects endoscopy rooms around the world to our endoscopic AI.
- Comment from Kentaro Matsui, Managing Partner at SB Investment Advisers
We are greatly resonated by AIM's noble vision of further advancing Japan's world-leading endoscopic medicine and saving the precious lives of cancer patients around the world. AIM’s software, built with the cooperation of leading hospitals nationwide and KOLs, has the potential to demonstrate unrivaled accuracy and play an important role globally. We are thrilled to partner with AIM and hope that potential collaboration among the SoftBank Group, SoftBank Corp, and SVF 1 and 2 portfolio companies will support new innovations.
- Comment from Yasuyuki Imai, Representative Director & COO, SoftBank Corp.
A 5G-based joint trial conducted last year² marked the beginning of our collaboration with AIM. Now, with this new investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, we at SoftBank Corp. hope to further deepen our partnership with AIM to digitally transform Japan’s medical industry. We fully identify with CEO Tomohiro Tada's vision of an endoscopic medical platform that enables patients to receive world-class endoscopic care anywhere by networking multiple endoscopy laboratories. Through our partnership with AIM, we will work to bring his vision closer to reality so the development of endoscopic medicine helps save patients’ lives around the world.
- Comment from Satoshi Fukushima, Director at Globis Capital Partners
We are happy to know that AIM, led by CEO Dr. Tomohiro Tada, will receive strong support helpful in expanding its business from Japan to the globe. Our decision to support AIM in this mission was driven by the confidence that we have in AIM to grow and refine its business offerings in furtherance of its noble mission, saving lives around the world with a novel technology first developed in Japan.
Comment from Masataka Matsumoto, General Partner & Co-Founder at WiL, LLC.
Even though Japan is already a world leader in endoscopic medicine, I believe that AIM’s focus on developing technology for solutions to global medical issues will help further strengthen Japan’s position. I am convinced that AIM’s mission of detecting GI cancers early will be realized, and all of us at the World Innovation Lab are excited to continue to support AI Medical on its journey.
Comment from Yusuke Murata, General Partner at Incubate Fund
AIM has resolutely set off on its mission to expands its business globally, and we are confident that many lives will be saved through the adoption of their technology. We believe that this financing round will accelerate the timeline necessary for AIM to achieve its goals.
Comment from Tomohiro Tada, CEO at AI Medical Service
Japan is the origin of GI endoscopy and 98% of the global market share is occupied by Japanese manufacturers (Olympus, Fuji Film, Pentax). The technical skill of Japanese endoscopists is regarded as the world’s best and more than 17 million high-quality endoscopic exams are conducted in Japan each year. Therefore, training AI using large amounts of high-quality Japanese data is sure to lead to meaningful global innovation.
At present, we are conducting joint research with more than 100 top-class medical institutions in Japan (including the Cancer Institute Hospital). We also have a track record of publishing world-first papers on topics such as the classification of Helicobacter pylori, the detection of early gastric cancer, and the detection of early esophageal cancer. Given our track record of success, we view ourselves to be the global leader in developing endoscopic AI.
Making the most of the strong support received from the SoftBank Group, we will simultaneously contribute to the advancement of endoscopic medicine and save lives around the world by increasing the chances of early-stage cancer detection. This large-scale financing round enables us to step into global stage more confidently than ever before. We aim to take on the global challenges before us through unrelenting effort in furtherance of our mission.
■About AI Medical Service Inc.
AI Medical Service (AIM) is a Tokyo-based med-tech company established with the mission to “Save Lives All Over the World”. Japan leads the world in endoscopic diagnosis and treatment, providing firms and researchers with access to large amounts of high-quality data. AIM is the leading player in the field of endoscopic AI, engaging in joint research with more than 100 medical institutions. By bringing endoscopic AI to real-world clinical setting as soon as possible, AIM aims to reduce the number of missed cancer diagnoses and save lives around the world.
Company： AI Medical Service Inc.
Address： Hareza Tower 11F, 1-18-1 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 170-0013, Japan
CEO： Tomohiro Tada
Founding： September 1, 2017
Business ： Development of Endoscopic AI
¹ Total investment by SVF1 and SVF2 since inception to end of 2021, cited from the presentation material for SoftBank Group Corp.’s Earnings Investor Briefing for Q3 FY2021.
2 Press Release: https://www.ai-ms.com/news/other/20210326
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