Big pharma is taking an AI-first approach. Apple is revolutionizing clinical studies. We look at the top artificial intelligence trends reshaping healthcare. Healthcare is emerging as a prominent area for AI research and applications. And nearly every area across the industry will be impacted by the technology's rise. Image recognition, for example, is revolutionizing diagnostics. Recently, Google DeepMind's neural networks matched the accuracy of medical experts in diagnosing 50 sight-threatening eye diseases. Even pharma companies are experimenting with deep learning to design new drugs. For example, Merck partnered with startup Atomwise and GlaxoSmithKline is partnering with Insilico Medicine.
In Japanese hospitals, virtual reality (VR) is getting real. Together with augmented reality (AR), this technology--once the realm of devoted gamers--is now helping surgeons hone their technique. Twelve hospitals across Japan are now using VR tech nology from Tokyo-based Holoeyes, Inc. to view 3D models of organs such as the liver and kidneys. These VR reconstructions allow doctors to carefully plan the fine details of each procedure and provide them with a more accurate view of a patient's anatomy during surgery. The HoloEyes VR application was created using CT scan data from the company's own healthcare database, compiled since the startup launched five years ago.
Tokyo-based AI Medical Service Inc., which is developing endoscopic software powered by artificial intelligence, announced today that it has raised $42.9 million in a Series B round. Japan's Globis Capital Partners, World Innovation Lab (WiL) out of Palo Alto and Sony Innovation Fund by IGV (Innovation Growth Ventures), and others participated in the financing. Combined with the company's last raise of $9 million in August 2018, AI Medical Service has now brought in about $57 million in venture funding since its inception in September 2017. In its own words, the company "develops AI technology that brings together the wisdom of Japanese endoscopic specialists and supports endoscopic examinations of gastrointestinal organs, such as the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine." Its goal is to more quickly and efficiently diagnose gastric cancer.
Many of you have probably been to France, considering that it's the most visited country in the world. While you were there, you may have noticed that the country is quite large – about the size of Texas, but with far fewer Mexicans. Like Texans, the French are proud of where they come from, and will ramble on about it in their funny little accents much to the chagrin of anyone within earshot. This sense of national pride is what made our article on "The Top-10 French Artificial Intelligence Startups" quite popular, and as we promised, we're going to follow up with an article on some French AI startups in healthcare. None of the top French AI companies we wrote about last month came from the healthcare sector, which happens to be the cornerstone of Monsieur Macron's $1.8 billion AI investment program over the next four years.