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AI-Driven Cancer Detection Startup NIRAMAI Raises $6 Mn In Series A Round

AI-Driven Cancer Detection Startup NIRAMAI Raises $6 Mn In Series A Round

Startup’s Thermalytix tech detects abnormalities in the body

It is currently being used to detect breast cancer in 9 Indian cities

Company to use funds to expand team, foray into new markets

Bengaluru-based NIRAMAI Health Analytix has raised $6 Mn in Series A round funding led by a Japanese venture capital firm Dream Incubator. The healthtech startup is gearing up to scale its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven solution that detects cancer and abnormalities, across India and also expand its employee headcount.

Its existing investors, including pi Ventures, Ankur Capital, Axilor Ventures, Binny Bansal, and BEENEXT, also participated in the startup’s latest funding round. The company has raised $7 Mn in funds till now.

NIRAMAI, which stands for Non-Invasive Risk Assessment with Machine Learning, is led by cofounders — Dr Geetha Manjunath and Nidhi Mathur. They have developed a healthtech solution called Thermalytix.

Currently, Thermalytix is being used to detect breast cancer and the cofounders believe that the solution is applicable to detect several other types of cancer and abnormalities.

“Presently, we have about 22 installations across hospitals and diagnostics centres in nine cities in India. We want to expand to additional cities, and sort-of scale in India to make it accessible for every woman in India,” Manjunath told Inc42.

NIRMAI’s Thermalytix is being used across hospitals and diagnostic centres in nine cities including Bengaluru, Mysore, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Dehradun, Bhuvaneshwar.

The startup also wants to utilise the latest funding to grow its team, from 22 to 44, mostly in the senior positions to lead several of its business initiatives. The startup is also ready to get the NIRAMAI solution regulatory cleared for international usage.

“Generally, our strategy has been to first get established in India. Provide the solution to some Asian countries, and then move to Europe and the US,” Manjunath said.

How NIRAMAI Is Using AI In Its Technology

NIRAMAI’s Thermalytix detects abnormalities in the body. Artificial intelligence is a key to the startup’s solution. Manjunath explains —

Interpreting a thermal image can be very difficult because there are about four lakh colour points for every person. It is very error-prone. So, we have used AI to provide more capability of configuration for an accurate analysis of thermography, making it more subjective.”

The cofounder said that about 5,500 patients across India have already gone through treatment using Thermalytix, with over 90% accuracy in results.

According to reports, 95% of breast cancer is curable if detected early. Yet 76K women die in India alone, and more than 700K globally, every year.

Manjunath said that NIRAMAI’s solution costs less than one-tenth of the cost of mammography. It provides its solution broadly into two categories — a screening operation solution, and enterprise solution.

In the screening service solution, the startup works with NGOs and government bodies for breast cancer screening-related programs. In an enterprise solution, it provides an end-to-end management solution for diagnostics centres and hospitals — working on a revenue share basis where the startup receives the payment as and when Thermalytix is user for breast cancer screening.

“We are not leaning on doctors to give interpretation or give guesswork on thermal imaging. Using AI, we are making it a more dependable tool,” Manjunath said.

[NIRAMAI Health Analytix was part of the 2018 edition of the coveted list of India’s most innovative startups — 42Next by Inc42.]