International med-tech giant Medtronic plc (NYSE: MDT) has signed a marketing agreement with Israeli artificial intelligence (AI) stroke care company Viz.ai. This is the fourth marketing agreement signed this year by Medtronic with an Israeli company for products that are on the frontier between medical devices and digital health and complement the med-tech giant's existing products.
Viz.ai uses artificial intelligence to swiftly and accurately analyze CT scans for the diagnosis of strokes. The company received FDA approval for its products in the US in February 2018 and last summer raised $21 million. Investors include Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors, the AME fund of Yahoo! Founder Jerry Yang; and Danhua Capital, controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma as well as venture capital fund Kleiner Perkins.
With offices in San Francisco and Tel Aviv, Viz.ai was founded by Dr. Chris Mansi, a neurosurgeon with an MBA from Stanford University; Dr. Manoj Ramachandran, an orthopedic surgeon and honorary reader at Barts Health NHS Trust; and Dr. David Golan, an Israeli post-doctoral machine learning student at Stanford University.
Automation in diagnosing strokes is vital because there is only a very short period of time, on average six hours from the event, to provide therapeutic treatment. Within that period, patients must understand that they have undergone a stroke, reach the hospital, be diagnosed and undergone a CT scan, which must be interpreted. Anything which speeds up the process can be lifesaving or dramatically reduce the damage to brain tissue.
The three other marketing agreements signed by Medtronic with Israeli companies are with: Cathworks, which has developed non-invasive imaging technology for coronary arteries during catheterization; Alpha Omega, which has developed neurological products for for surgical navigation inside the brain; and EDP, which owned by Philips has developed systems for guiding devices for treatment of heart arrhythmia.
Medtronic has always been highly active in Israel and CEO Omar Ishrak visited Israel last December, mainly to meet with the employees of Israeli robotics surgery company Mazor, which Medtronic bought last year for $1.64 billion.
Medtronic Israel country manager is Yaron Itzhari.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 24, 2019
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