The pandemic accelerated medical technology development across the world and especially in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
Two mainland medical technology start-ups were among the 10 winners at the 2023 Start-up Express International, the international version of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s entrepreneurship development programme.
The winners of the second edition gathered at the 2023 Entrepreneur-Day last month to share their entrepreneurial journey.
The 10 laureates included two healthtech start-ups from Mainland China. Sino Microimaging (Taizhou) Medical Technology has developed a portable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, while Flectothink focuses on developing a non-invasive brain-computer interface technology research.
Sino Microimaging, based in Taizhou City in Jiangsu province, was founded in 2021 by Chief Executive Jiang Weiping. With the support of a technical team from the Institute of Electrical Engineering at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the company set out to develop portable MRI equipment.
The devices Sino Microimaging has created can be used on the head and neck, joints, new-born babies and pets, and can help surgeons navigate through bodies during keyhole operations.
The technology is based on a suite of new technologies, including the world's first lightweight high-powered MRI-strength magnet and the world's leading radio frequency (RF) coil technology, as well as gradient coil technology and several other innovative core solutions.
Sino Microimaging overcame a number of technical barriers to pioneer the small MRI market. The innovator has applied for nearly 90 patents, taking aboard all core technologies and avoiding dependence on overseas supply chains.
Small MRI machines cannot replace the traditional room-scale equipment – the full-power permanent magnets weigh as much as 30 tons - but do have a broad range of applications and offer value.
The portable machines can be placed in emergency rooms or ambulances, significantly shortening the time patients need to wait for MRI scans and potentially saving lives.
With a headcount of 24, the firm has amassed well over RMB10 million (US$1.4 million) in venture capital. It is currently in Pre-A round financing, aiming to attract US$15-20 million in venture capital. The target markets are medical and pet care markets.
The second mainland healthtech winner is Flectothink from Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province. Founded in March 2020 by CEO Dr Sun Yu, Flectothink is developing a non-invasive brain-computer interface technology and currently operates in Hangzhou and Shenzhen as well as Atlanta in the United States. The core R&D team includes experts in several related disciplines from the world's top universities.
The main product R&D direction for Flectothink is flexible electrode electroencephalography (EEG), used to monitor electrical activity in the brain and using the metaverse to build up interactive neural 3D systems.
The Flectothink solution draws on a number of scientific fields, such as flexible materials, algorithm-based development and artificial intelligence.
Healthcare solutions and technical applications Flectothink offers include services in the fields of sleep monitoring, screening, diagnosis and treatment for psychological disorders, and chronic disease rehabilitation management.
The technology can also augment virtual reality and augmented reality interactions, enriching fields, such as games and other fields using VR/AR.