I have always been interested in space and physics, and my childhood dream even was to become a particle physicist.
That all changed, however, when I was hospitalized for a long period of time due to long-standing kidney troubles at the age of 18. I decided to pursue medicine and enrolled in medical school. At the laboratory to which I belonged at school, I came in contact with programming, and my companions and I became engrossed with the idea of creating software that aids in the medical field. Although we still had much to learn, we began developing software at our own pace and in our own way.
One of the professors in the Mathematical Biology Laboratory saw one of these – a Cell Tracking System made using machine learning technology – and explained to us that it could be applicable in pathological diagnosis. Later, I participated in a pitch contest overseas and came into contact with a broad range of people. All of these ultimately led me to founding the startup.
It is said that, in most cases of cancer screening, the final diagnosis is made using pathological diagnosis. In Japan, there are only around 2,500 pathologists who perform this critical diagnosis, and at present, most medical institutions commission other hospitals, including university hospitals, or testing centers to perform pathological diagnosis. This means that patients are required to wait long periods of time for diagnostic results, which can be an emotional strain, and in some cases, illnesses progress while waiting for results. In addition, there are many hospitals at which a single pathologist is in charge of all pathological diagnosis, which places a heavy burden on the pathologist. This problem is becoming increasingly serious overseas as well, and in some regions, it can take months to receive the results of pathological diagnosis.
I feel that there is still much more room for digitization in the medical field
– and not just in Japan. Looking at the rest of the world, I feel that there are other places with even more room for improvement. In fact, the number of Medtech (Medical + Technology) startups originating from San Francisco and Silicon Valley rises year-by-year, and the scale of investment continues to increase by the day. Right in front of our eyes, we are witnessing the birth of a string of companies, each presenting its own interesting idea or new value.
Our company is currently developing and promoting business targeting this global market with PidPort (a pathologic image analysis system) as our main product. In the future, we think that, through the power of technology, we will be able to influence other issues in the medical field as well, while making sure to stay true to our mission of “using technology to create a world in which necessary medical care is available anywhere anytime.”
CEO Osamu Iizuka