[MIK HOT SPOT_KHIDI] INTHESMART steps up from medical device company to a smart hospital
[ Jane Lee 2020-06-18 ]  
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INTHESMART was established by transferring the technology, manpower, and assets of KERI, a government-funded research institute that researches and develops specialized medical devices. At the time, it conducted medical devices R&D for over 10 years with the SOI-KOREA Center Project of the MSIT (5 years, budget of 12 billion won) and Seoul Metropolitan City's Russia Science Seoul Center Project (5 years, budget of 18 billion won), and the core researchers of KERI Advanced Medical Device Division founded INTHESMART in October 2015 according to the researcher entrepreneurship system.

AVING News interviewed Lee Chung-hee, the CEO of INTHESMART, which participated in the MIK HOT SPOT (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) KHIDI.

Please introduce your company briefly.

We cooperated with SNUH and jointly researched and developed the endoscope as a result of first cooperation. It is an advanced medical device company with a mission to commercialize the next-gen medical device products such as AI medical devices that utilize the information technology such as big data and AI, healthcare products that will provide direct convenience to patients' lives, and building  automated health checkup center system that will contribute to improving the health level of the people. The level of medical institutions in Korea is the top in the world. There are 3,200 healthcare companies in Korea. But more than 80% are small businesses with less than one billion won in sales. In addition, there is a vicious cycle in which revolutionary ideas presented by outstanding Korean medical staff were purchased at a bargain price to develop new medical devices, and imported again at an expensive price. To break this vicious circle, I thought we should develop the Korean medical industry, and I started my business with the idea of changing the malformed medical structure of Korea.

Fluorescent laparoscope system for surgery

Please introduce your main products and systems.

Our first product is a surgical fluorescence endoscopy system and the model name is ITS Model-L6K. This is an endoscopic system consisting of a camera and an imaging system used in minimally invasive surgery in which surgery is performed by inserting a camera after making a small hole without incising the affected area. This product uses real-time fluorescence imaging technology to an ultra-high-endoscope system to observe vascular flow, tissues, and lymph nodes that are invisible to the naked eye during surgery. By using this, doctors can check the tissues and blood vessels in real time during surgery, reducing fatigue of medical staff to perform surgery quickly and safely. Patients can recover faster by reducing surgery and anesthesia time.

This product developed in-house is an upgraded version of FHD-class ITS Model-L released in 2017, and in February 2019, it was registered in the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Currently, we are preparing international licenses such as US FDA and European CE certification for overseas export.

We cooperated with SNUH and jointly researched and developed the endoscope as a result of first cooperation. It is an advanced medical device company with a mission to commercialize the next-gen medical device products such as AI medical devices that utilize the information technology such as big data and AI, healthcare products that will provide direct convenience to patients' lives, and building automated health checkup center system that will contribute to improving the health level of the people. The level of medical institutions in Korea is the top in the world. There are 3,200 healthcare companies in Korea. But more than 80% are small businesses with less than one billion won in sales. In addition, there is a vicious cycle in which revolutionary ideas presented by outstanding Korean medical staff were purchased at a bargain price to develop new medical devices, and imported again at an expensive price. To break this vicious circle, I thought we should develop the Korean medical industry, and I started my business with the idea of changing the malformed medical structure of Korea.

Lee Chung-hee, the CEO of INTHESMART

What are your plans for the future?

Due to the limited size of the domestic medical market, we prepared for various ways in overseas expansions, including establishing a US corporation, a Russian branch, a Hong Kong branch, and a global hospital network. To mass-produce products and expand the medical device business, we recently signed an MOU for establishing a joint venture with China's leading pharmaceutical company Chan Li Chai and successfully led a 30 million dollar primary investment (series A) with official contract.

Through this contract, CEO Lee will be the CEO of Shenying Medical Co., Ltd, a joint venture of the two companies, and the stake of both companies is 50:50. Through this joint-venture company, we will first mass-produce and sell surgical fluorescence endoscopy systems to make a cornerstone to enter China, and then create a medical industry complex of 1.2 million pyeong, which is 1.5 times the size of Yeouido. In this industrial complex, domestic and foreign experts will start a medical device and pharmaceutical industry, and will begin to develop and produce medical devices and pharmaceuticals in full force.

In the long term, we plan to establish a smart hospital that combines the technologies of Chan Li Chai, the Chinese medical and pharmaceutical company. Smart hospital is a next-generation automated hospital that can be fully ready in case of a global epidemic like COVID-19. The goal is to use advanced technology to provide tests and treatments to the average patient anytime, anywhere, even when an epidemic has spread.

Lastly, is there a program that has been particularly helpful as a company that participated in the KHIDI online exhibition?

Saving money and time is the most important issue for companies that are under pressure by fund and time. Many institutions that support medical devices have been formed in Korea, and one of them is KHIDI. It provides a variety of support projects in stages, from new product development tasks for medical devices to support tasks for product use. We are working hard in the development of AI-applied hardware through the commercialization support business, R&D support project, and public listing program of KHIDI, and we are receiving various support such as various licenses for commercialization, product promotion by participating in the exhibition.

With the start-up leap package commercialization supoprt business, it participated in the Asia-Pacific Inter-Korean Conference, Korean Medical Equipment Exhibition, Seoul International Gastric Cancer Forum, the 9th Symposium on Liver, Gallbladder, and Pancreas, the 24th training course participation fee, Pacific Coast Surgical Association and International Congress for the Fluorescence Guided Surgery Society. In the exhibition, we were able to meet many buyers, distributors, and other partners, and at the end of last year, we signed an MOU with a cancer hospital in Beijing, China, becoming great strength in building global network.

With the start-up leap package R&D support project, we have integrated AI to the existing surgical fluorescence endoscope system, we are developing the system to help the medical staff to perform surgey by displaying anatomical reference points on the monitor. By R&D cost support, we are accelerating the development of new technology-grafted medical devices.

With the start-up leap package listing program, we received support for the listing procedure suitable for the company and listing review, making more systematic preparation. This support project helped us to meet the requirements for semi-annual audit and internal control evaluation for listing by financially supporting us.

The global news network AVING News has begun holding the MIK Hot Spot (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) to help small and medium-sized companies enter the market and attract investment 365 days a year. AVING News has been running online exhibitions since 2005 and had 975 online exhibitions so far. Its YouTube online exhibition has placed itself as Korea's largest online exhibition hall that opens with 19,000 videos (booths) with more than 800,000 visits per month which means more than 10 million visits per year.

The MIK HOT SPOT online exhibition is scheduled to be held regularly according to the field, target market, and participating institutions, and it will be presented as a new type of online business by transforming the know-hows and values of the participating companies according to the trend. Companies that want to participate can apply and apply through the marketing support projects from supporting institutions in the local governments. Refer to the institutions for more information.

→ Go to MIK Hot Spot (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) special page

→ Go to MIK Hot Spot (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) information page

Global News Network 'AVING'
by Jane Lee (www.aving.net)

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