In the latest sign of consolidation in the maturing AI market, Philips has announced that it is acquiring ultrasound AI specialist DiA Imaging Analysis (DiA).
The Dutch healthcare vendor has agreed to pay almost $100m for DiA, whose focus is on improving cardiac ultrasound imaging. The vendors have an established history together, with Philips forging a partnership with the Israeli firm in 2021 which enabled DiA’s solutions to be utilised by clinicians using Philip’s point-of-care ultrasound solutions. Later that year, Philips also participated in the AI developer’s latest funding round, as part of a cohort that netted DiA $14m, and gave Philips a five percent stake in the Israeli start-up.
The acquisition builds on this partnership, and will allow Philips to further leverage DiA’s nine FDA-approved solutions, but does it say more about Philips’ ongoing strategy?
Last week saw the annual global conference of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The meeting was vibrant, with visitor levels far higher than the 28,000 seen in Orlando last year, at more than 35,000. There was good reason for this excitement. Aside from the usual bounce a ‘return to normality’ can offer, there were also many interesting subjects to discuss, some of which are crucial as vendors, providers and other stakeholders plan their strategies over the coming years.
The Signify View
Of these topics, there was one that stood out. Thanks to its novelty, its recent and sometimes controversial explosion into the public consciousness, and the far-reaching possibilities some
There is much that can be gleaned about medical imaging AI through the analysis of its funding. Vendors may make bold claims about their technology, their clinical utility, their moneymaking potential and their prospects, but venture capital investors need to be cynical of such promises, and instead make their own assessment as to a vendor’s opportunity.
Such appraisals, particularly when considered in unison, are telling. They highlight not only which specific vendors investors have enough confidence in to bet large stakes, but also reveal which types of vendors, working on which clinical problems, in which areas are deemed to offer the surest returns.
After a meteoric rise followed by a humbling retreat, cardiac AI vendor HeartFlow is back in the news, and has come out swinging with a $215m Series F funding round.
The round was led by first time HeartFlow investor, Bain Capital Life Sciences which was joined by another newcomer, Janus Henderson, as well as existing investors including Baillie Gifford and Capricorn investment group. The deal brings the vendor’s total funding raised to almost $800m, making it by far the medical imaging AI vendor with the deepest pockets. It marks the second time HeartFlow has raised more than $200m in a single funding round, and will, in lieu of a windfall from last year’s failed IPO, equip the vendor with enough cash to commercialise and scale new products in its portfolio.
Some problems, however, cannot be solved by money alone, a fact that HeartFlow needs to be conscious of given growing competition in the cardiac AI market.
There are many barriers a medical imaging AI vendor must overcome if it is to be successful. Some of these are more fluid, can be approached in different ways and leave room for creative problem solving. Others, however, are fixed.
Among the most stringent of these challenges is regulatory approval. It is an essential part of any algorithm’s journey from innovation to product, in many ways literally defining the point at which the fruits of a developers’ labour can begin to be seen.
While such approval is essential for algorithm developers, when considered en masse, as Signify Research has done in its Regulatory Product Matrix, which tracks approvals of AI algorithms across the world, broader trends can also be gleaned about the wider medical imaging AI market.