Korean startup AITRICS seeks US entry with latest $20M funding


Medical AI startup AITRICS has recently raised 27.1 billion won ($20.1 million) in a Series B funding round. The funding event drew the participation of both existing and new investors, including Premier Partners, BNH Investment, BSK Investment, Bonum Investment, DS Investment & Securities, Ulmers Investment, HB Investment, Shinyoung Securities, and HRZ. 
This adds to the 3.5 billion ($2.6 million) won it raised in a pre-Series B round in 2021. To date, the company raised a total of 38.1 billion won ($28 million). 
WHAT IT DOES
Founded in 2016, AITRICS offers Vital Care, its flagship medical software, which uses AI to predict the likelihood of patient deterioration. It pulls out 19 types of data from EMRs, including six vital signs, 11 blood test results, the patient’s state of consciousness, and age, to tell early when their condition could lead to sepsis, death, or cardiac arrest.
WHAT IT’S FOR
Proceeds from the funding round will go partly to efforts to obtain clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration, which will serve as the foundation of the company’s overseas expansion. The funds will also be used to introduce new products.
AITRICS’s first foray in the US was through its partnership with Cleveland Clinic in 2020 when they verified Vital Care and sought to raise its accuracy of detecting patient deterioration by leveraging the private hospital system’s database. 
“Through this investment, the company will further strengthen medical AI research by expanding its professional workforce, and seek to continue the company’s growth by pioneering new pipelines,” explained CEO Gwang-Jun Kim in a statement.
THE LARGER TREND
AITRICS received the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s (MFDS) approval for Vital Care in 2022. It also got certified as an innovative medical device manufacturer by the MFDS early this year, granting it support for rapid commercialisation, including exemptions to some data requirements. 
Vital Care is currently used in about 40 hospitals across South Korea, including Eunseong Medical Foundation’s Good Hospitals, and Gangnam Severance Hospital.
This year, AITRICS signed joint research deals with Korea University Anam Hospital and Chung-Ang University Hospital, aiming to publish research papers and use its AI software to improve their respective medical services. The company also has a research partnership with Asan Medical Center, the country’s largest hospital, which involved the development of diagnostic technology for critically ill patients and clinical testing of Vital Care using Asan’s data. 
Moreover, it recently tied up with Philips Korea to develop AI-based CDSS solutions for intensive care units to help improve patients’ chances of survival. 
In other related news, an American diagnostics company, Cytovale, which also offers a test that can detect sepsis early, raked in $84 million in a Series C funding round in November. 

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