Healthcare Innovation by clinical AI
Heuron Advances Medical AI Technology and Leads the Commercialization Era.
Heuron CEO Donghoon Shin, “Clinician-Led Development of Solutions for Cranial Nerve Diseases…From Optimal Diagnosis to Collaboration in New Drug Development”
Medical AI technologies are constantly advancing and the technologies in different fields are headed for commercialization. A clinician has developed a technology he thinks is essential in the clinical field and he has been working to accelerate the clinical trials and international approval process to realize the technology.
Meeting with Monthly People, Heuron’s CEO Donghoon Shin (Image: Neurology Professor at Gachon University Gil Medical Center) explained that Heuron is using ‘Clinical AI’ to develop the pipeline for cranial nerve diseases like Parkinson’s disease, stroke and dementia.
“I just happened to start a business while I was working on various research projects including a national strategic project of the Ministry of Health and Welfare. We are currently in the process of developing a tool that can delay the progress of diseases and reduce complications when used optimally for diagnosis and treatment and that can be used to quantitatively analyze the drug effects and thereby enhance the success rate of new drug development” he added.
Heuron’s key product, ‘mPDia’ is an AI-based diagnostic solution for Parkinson’s disease. The problem with Parkinson’s disease is that it is very difficult to diagnose the disease early because it requires a combination of clinicians’ neurological diagnosis and interpretation of PET scans.
So Heuron developed a MRI-based diagnostic method which has been considered impossible so far. Heuron developed MRI protocols and pre-processing methods for capturing the lesions and, an AI model for automatically determining the presence of Parkinson’s disease.
Heuron is trying to develop a solution that can quantify the regions where neurodegeneration from Parkinson’s occurs and that uses a standardized template technology and AI prediction model for long-term stage tracking and prognosis prediction.
Unlike conventional diagnostic methods which rely on PET-CT scans, Heuron’s product helps clinicians make diagnostic decisions by analyzing MR images and determining the abnormalities in specific brain regions that are damaged. It has been recognized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for its outstanding diagnostic performance and has been designated as an ‘Innovative Medical Device’.
Heuron also achieved a significant amount of progress working with Ajou University on developing a diagnostic solution for stroke which is a very time sensitive disease. Heuron is trying to supply AI solutions that can provide clinicians the information necessary for making urgent decisions and analyze data in real-time.
Heuron is also carrying out research to develop a stroke imaging method that can replace conventional methods which take too long, make quantitative analysis of the data too difficult and only show the level of brain shrinkage as well as a biomarker that can be used to track the progress of strokes.
Successfully Acquiring KRW 15.3 Billion Series B Funding and Preparing for a Special Technology
The global markets froze up with panic due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a startup, Heuron is also going through a difficult time.
Nevertheless, by acquiring KRW 15.3 billion through Series B funding, Heuron has successfully secured the funds that would allow them to carry out clinical trials for their pipelines and approval process.
“We are a company aiming for the global market and we had our concerns but the growing interest in AI and IT in the COVID-19 pandemic actually helped Heuron receive a lot of attention. We have to adapt to what’s going on and quickly establish our own business model. We don’t have much time.” Shin explained.
Wrapping up the interview, he said, “A lot of people including Professor Seon-tae Kim at Gachon Medical Device Convergence Center have been so supportive and patient and I would really like to thank them with all my heart.” “Heuron is currently preparing for a special technology listing on KOSDAQ and for an IPO in the first half of the year after next. Heuron is also aiming to reach KRW 65 billion in sales within 5 years” he added expressing his confidence.