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[Sponsored Report] SGSC helps Seoul start-ups thrive

Dec 24,2018
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Smart MD is developing an application using smartphones and artificial intelligence to identify malaria parasites and treat infectious diseases. [SEOUL GLOBAL STARTUP CENTER]
The achievements of the start-up support program at the Seoul Global Start-up Center (SGSC) are becoming clear. In addition to providing a space for start-ups, SGSC is stepping up its efforts to increase the likelihood of business success by creating and supporting an environment that will help start-ups sign deals.

Smart MD, a resident start-up in SGSC in May, was able to lay the foundations for Korea International Cooperation Agency’s (Koica) CTS program in October through the support program. The CTS program is a business in which innovative ideas and technologies are applied to official development assistance projects (ODA) to solve problems in developing countries and create social value.

Malaria is caused by a parasite that infects 500 million people each year, and kills 400,000 of which are young children under two years old. The fight against malaria continues, but the development of diagnostic methods (parasite identification) for malaria treatment is still lacking. Two hundred million microscopic diagnoses are made annually, but it is a time-consuming and inefficient procedure for technicians to visually identify parasites through a microscope and passively count the numbers.

Smart MD is developing an application using smartphones and artificial intelligence (computer vision) to identify malaria parasites and treat infectious diseases. Using this method, the sensitivity, error rate and speed of malaria diagnosis are more than 10 times better. Moreover, because it will be released at a reasonable price, it will be available in developing countries.

Smart MD consists of an international team from France, South Korea and Africa that aims to find solutions to the world’s major health problems.

From early 2019, Smart MD plans to apply this technology in earnest to 1,500 patients in Cameroon along with Koica. It plans to extend this technology to Cameroon and to more than 90 countries that are vulnerable to malaria.


BY KIM HA-EUN [kim.haeun@joongang.co.kr]