Each year, we see the improved quality of AI and its application to healthcare. Whether it is diagnostics, prevention, or alternative treatment methods. AI has the chance to become widely adopted in a broad spectrum of medicine. In Israel, an AI startup that was founded less than 3 years ago, Embryonics, uses the novel geometric deep learning in order to improve in vitro fertilization. However, its application stretches way beyond IVF.
Israeli AI Startup Revolutionizes Embryo Implementation
What the Israeli medtech startup did was developing an algorithm that aims at precisely predicting the probability of embryo implementation. The algorithm has been trained through time-lapsed IVF imaging of developing embryos, as reported by TechCrunch. The trials of Embryonics have been going on for a relatively short period of time, with only 11 women going through the trial so far. 6 of the women managed to successfully get pregnant while the remaining women are still waiting for results.
Small Team With Great Results
Embryonics was initially founded in 2018 by a Medical Doctor, Yael Gold-Zamir, a Hebrew University-educated surgeon who specializes in IVF research. Having a relatively small team of under 15 full-time employees apart from Gold-Zamir, Embryonics has made tremendous progress in a very short time-frame.
Embryonics Israeli Startup Disrupting Market That Has Not Changed In Decades
Why is Embryonics special? They are disrupting the market that has not had many breakthrough developments in the last decades. That does not mean that the IVF market is not one with great perspectives. Its value is currently estimated at approximately $18 billion and can double by 2025. One may wonder why the field that has been working in a similar way in the past years has such a valuation potential. The easiest answer lay in the Millennials and Generation Z putting off having children.
More Women Are Expected To Go Through IVF
While more and more women are expected to use the help of an IVF treatment, the costs vary between $10 000 and $15 000 per cycle, with many women having to undergo more than one cycle, as the chances of successful fertilization grow worse with age. Thus, there is a huge demand for a company that can reduce the risk of multiple rounds of IVF.
How Do Embryonics Algorithms Work?
Embryonics developed two algorithms that have very different applications. The first algorithm is an already patented AI-technology that allows automatic browsing and studying tens of thousands of healthcare data on embryos and their implementation rate and then analyzes which embryos are the most successful to end up with fertilization.
Using Geometric Deep Learning Technology
The other algorithm analyzes data using a very new geometric deep learning technology, in order to customize treatment for IVF patients. Being a quickly developing field of machine learning, geometric deep learning shows the potential to largely outperform traditional AI algorithms in terms of analyzing graphs or multi-dimensional points.
AI Startup’s Long-Term Goals
What is the long-term goal of Embryonics? A collaboration with fertility clinics to improve the quality and quantity of eggs of their female patients. In its initial seed funding round, Embryonics got a total of $4 million, some from private VCs and some from the Israeli Innovation Authority.
The start-up is currently in the process of receiving regulatory approval in the United States and Europe. The approval would let them sell their software to different fertility clinics. In 2019, have concluded that AI can evaluate the quality of human embryos in a much more accurate manner than a human eye.
Embryonics Algorithm Used For Treating Covid-19 Patients?
Moreover, the Embryonics technology can go beyond IVF treatment and could potentially be used for the diagnosis and treatment of other diseases. The CEO, Yael Zamir says that the geometric deep learning technology can serve Covid-19 patients as well, analyzing which patients require ventilators or medical care and which can be treated at home. If that application would turn out to be true, it could significantly raise the burden of the hospitals’ shoulders. The pandemics have brutally shown the inadequacies of the healthcare system and the majority of countries around the world have several times reached a point of healthcare system collapse.
Recently, Embryonics startup started collaborating with Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem that has treated the second-largest number of Covid-19 patients in the country. Under strict privacy regulations, the startup will receive the database of the patients that were stricken by the virus. Using its embryo-classifying algorithm will be able to divide patients into categories, based on their habits, age, underlying conditions, and other series of characteristics. That way, the system will be able to make forecasts and recommendations for newly admitted patients, based on which category they fit in.
“We must have collaborations with tech firms” to make much-needed breakthroughs,” Renana Ofan, the direction of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center said, “We bring our clinical knowledge, and they bring the technology. We are happy to join forces with anyone who wants to, and have very many of these kinds of collaborations”.