AI start-ups and AI leveraging deals revolutionizing the Healthcare industry

Start-up is a high-growth potential entrepreneurial venture that is technologically oriented to meet the most pressing need of a marketplace by offering or developing innovative services, products or processes. As start-ups play a significant role in denoting the economical and technological prosperity of a nation or region, IQ4I analyzed the regional and country-wise spread of a representative 339 artificial intelligence (AI) based healthcare start-ups founded between the period 2010 – 2020 to determine the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem for AI embedded healthcare companies.

According to our analysis, North American region, especially U.S. has the highest share of AI-based healthcare start-ups. The highly nurturing entrepreneurial ecosystem of the region, availability of immense private funding, several government initiatives for the large scale deployment of AI-based healthcare solutions, presence of large pharma and biotech companies in the region and a favorable regulatory environment that is expediting the approvals of AI innovations are all steering the emergence of start-ups in the region. European region has a respectable share in the number of start-ups based in the region among the various start-ups that we analyzed. The AI-based healthcare start-up ecosystem in the region has heated up with several start-ups emerging recently due to the availability of all resources, government support for widespread deployment of AI, presence of the numerous large pharma, medical device and biotech companies in the region, a streamlined regulatory environment for AI invention approvals and sophisticated infrastructures for the development and implementation of AI in the healthcare sector of the region. But compared to the North American country, U.S., the European region significantly lags in the number of start-ups mainly due to the relatively less healthy start-up ecosystem in the region, inability of the companies in the region to raise enough private funds and a relatively fragmented regulatory landscape of the region due to the presence of numerous countries in the region. Countries like U.K., France and Germany lead in the number of start-ups in the region.

The AI-based start-up scenario in the APAC region is slowly gaining ground due to the several government initiatives for the adoption of AI into the healthcare sector, the promotion of entrepreneurship in the region for the acceleration of indigenous technological innovations and the huge market opportunity lying in the region for addressing the various pressing healthcare needs of the region. In the region, China followed by Singapore, India had the largest number of AI-based healthcare start-ups. The AI-based healthcare start-up ecosystem in the ROW region is slowly developing due to the several government schemes for the promotion of entrepreneurship in countries like Brazil, availability of plenty of AI expertise and a flexible, entrepreneurial spirit based innovation ecosystem in countries like Israel and the existence of several unmet healthcare problems in the region that can only be efficiently soothed through innovative AI solutions. In the region, Israel occupied the largest share of the start-ups.

Deals which are the mutual agreements between two or more business organizations for their mutual benefits have been increasing rapidly over the past few years in the healthcare sector attributed to the advent of disruptive artificial intelligence (AI) technology. To keep pace with the rapidly evolving AI embedded healthcare industry, the pharma, biotech companies, healthcare organizations, research institutes and government organizations are entering into partnerships or collaborations with AI companies to leverage the disruptive technology to drive systematic innovation in their field, to improve their productivity efficiently, to streamline and reduce their operational expenditures, to enhance the value of their services and products to the customers and ensure customer effectiveness and to gain a competitive advantage over their peers. We analyzed the various partnership, adoption or collaboration deals for leveraging AI solutions of some of the major AI companies in the healthcare industry during the period 2019 - 2020. Most of the pharma and biotech companies partnered with the AI companies to accelerate their drug discovery and development process efficiently. Through the deals, AI companies receive option exercise fees, technology access fees, royalties and also income based on sale or sublicensing of sale of assets created under the collaboration. Diversification of collaborations or deals across various companies was noted owing to the large pharma companies adopting AI solutions of various innovative companies for different therapeutic areas or different stages of drug development. In September 2020, Bayer collaborated with Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (U.S.), to leverage Recursion’s purpose-built AI guided drug discovery platform to discover and develop new therapeutics for the fibrotic diseases of the lung, kidney, heart and more while in January 2020, Bayer had also entered into a collaboration agreement with the AI drug discovery company, Exscientia for the identification and optimization of novel lead structures for potential therapeutics for the various cardiovascular and oncological diseases. In December 2019, Pharma giant AstraZeneca collaborated with U.S. based Gatehouse Bio to utilize its AI-powered Analytics Platform for identifying the potential drug targets in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases while in April 2019, it had collaborated with the U.K. based BenevolentAI to leverage BenevolentAI’s AI capabilities to discover novel drugs for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Hospitals and other healthcare settings are partnering with AI companies to leverage their AI capabilities for improving the efficiency of their healthcare services without burdening their healthcare personnel, increasing productivity and optimizing their administrative workflow. In October 2020, U.S. based Medical Center Network, Kettering Health Network has adopted the Emergency Department (ED) Guidance, AI-powered computer-assisted physician documentation (CAPD) solution of Nuance Communications Inc. for advising and supporting the emergency room physicians with workflow integrated diagnostic and clinical best practices at one of the earliest and most critical points of care to alleviate the burden on clinicians, improve patient safety and reduce missed diagnosis risk. In October 2020, U.S.-based St. Luke's University Hospital entered into an $11 million partnership deal with General Electric Company for the installation of 76 AI-powered ultrasound systems and maintenance of these systems.

Research Institutes are leveraging AI solutions to accelerate their biomedical research. In July 2019, researchers of Michigan Medicine and the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy and U-M Life Sciences Institute, have leveraged Atomwise’s AI approach to accelerate their drug discovery research. Governments or Government organizations are also leveraging AI technology to ensure the democratization of value-based healthcare services. In August 2020, the city of Seoul (South Korea) launched the 'I Care You' project to support its citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic by utilizing the IBM Corporation developed AI-based Virtual Assistant.

Thus, through a large number of existing and emerging AI-based healthcare start-ups across the globe motivated by the vast opportunities in the healthcare industry, various AI innovations for improving the efficiency of the healthcare services and for solving the real world problems can be expected. Through the integration or leveraging of AI solutions into the various sectors of the healthcare ecosystem, a radical transformation or revolution of the healthcare industry in terms of profitability, efficiency, productivity of healthcare services and better client experience is anticipated.



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