Medical imaging startup Nanox hopes to reinvent the X-ray with hardware inspired by Star Trek’s biobed. The company today nabbed $59 million in additional financing led by A-Labs Advisory and Finance Ltd., capping a November 2019 round in which Nanox raised around $110 million. CEO Ran Poliakine says the round, which brings the company’s total raised to $137.6 million, will be used to support global expansion as it finalizes agreements with customers in 13 countries.
According to the World Health Organization, roughly two-thirds of the world’s population lack access to medical imaging. As a result, many are forced to wait weeks or months for diagnostic results. Nanox — which crucially doesn’t yet have regulatory approval for its system, Nanox.Arc (Arc) — claims its X-ray source technology can lower the cost of imaging hardware from millions of dollars to $10,000, making it considerably more accessible.
The Arc is designed to promote the early detection of conditions discoverable by computed tomography (CT), mammography, fluoroscopy, angiogram, and other imaging modalities. Poliakine says it will be offered under a pay-per-scan business model at prices “competitive” with alternatives. A planned cloud-based software dubbed Nanox.Cloud will complement the Arc with several value-added services, including a scan repository, radiologist matching, online and offline diagnostic review and annotation, connectivity to diagnostic assistive AI systems, billing, and reporting. Earlier this year, Nanox began laying the groundwork for Nanox.Cloud by collaborating with Qure.ai and CureMetrix to integrate their health solutions.
The Arc’s underlying technology is the product of over 15 years of development and is based on silicon micro-electromechanical systems (MEMs), or semiconductors with both mechanical and electronic components. As opposed to legacy systems, which heat a filament to over 2,000 degrees Celsius to create an electron cloud that produces X-rays when pulled toward a metal anode, the Arc employs a field emission array of 100 million molybdenum nanocones that generate electrons at low voltage.
An added advantage of this design is reduced weight. The Arc weighs around 70 kilograms (about 154 pounds) versus the 2,000 kilograms (about 4,409 pounds) of most traditional CT scanners. The lighter weight should make it easier to install and wheel around clinics.
Nanox plans to make the Arc available globally in 2021 and has announced contracts with:
- Hadassah Hospital in Israel for the development of early detection protocols.
- Gateway Group for 1,000 Arc units in New Zealand, Australia, and Norway worth a combined $174 million.
- Teleradiology company USARAD for 3,000 Arc units in the U.S.
- Promedica Bioelectronics for 500 Arc units in Italy.
- Distribution Partners for 600 Arc units in Belarus and Russia.
- Golden Vine International for 500 units in Taiwan and Singapore.
Within the next two years, ahead of an initial public offering on the Nasdaq that would value the company at more than $500 million, Poliakine hopes to onboard more than 15,000 customers, with service fees in the “hundreds of millions” of dollars. (He says presales to date represent over $300 million in fees over the next three years.) In June, Nanox inked a deal with SK Telecom to deploy 2,500 of the startup’s systems in South Korea and Vietnam next year, with a plan to manufacture the bulk of them at Nanox’s Korean subsidiary focused on mass production.
Nanox was founded in 2016 by Japanese venture capital tycoon Hitoshi Masuya as part of a joint investment with Sony. After Sony dropped out, Masuya joined forces with Poliakine, and the two decided to split the company’s operations between Japan and Israel.
Previous investments in Nanox, which has just over 50 employees, included participation from Fujifilm.