SGInnovate  announced today that it has completed an investment in a
Singapore-based startup called NDR
which combines Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and computer vision for
MedTech and AI are two of the three focus technology areas
for SGInnovate during 2018, as part of its ‘Deep
Tech Nexus’ Strategy. Through the strategy, SGInnovate aims to add tangible
value to the Singapore deep tech startup ecosystem in two key areas – Human
Capital and Investment Capital. SGInnovate has appointed
17 co-investors under the Startup
SG Equity scheme. The total value for investments that would be made
alongside these co-investors could potentially reach up to S$80 million over
the next four years.
NDR is the first early-stage MedTech startup to receive
SGInnovate’s direct investment. Preparatory work is going on for the system to
go into pilot clinical trial and commercial application is expected to launch
in the first quarter of 2020.
It has developed a proprietary smart robotic guiding system
known as Automated Needle Targeting (ANT). The system uses AI and image
processing to help surgeons visualise the 3D location of the target lesion in
the patient’s body.
Conventional surgical control systems rely on electronic and
mechanical sensors along with pre-programmed coordinates to perform lesion
targeting. This often requires manual intervention by surgeons.
By combining the precision adjustment and guiding technology
of ANT with the surgeon’s skill and dexterity, surgeons are now able to precisely
target needle alignment and positioning to target lesions. It can achieve an
accuracy of up to ±1mm.
AI-based algorithms allow the system to use training data to
continually improve the accuracy of targeting lesions.
Over time, the system has the potential to significantly
reduce the risks of surgery and shorten the learning curves for surgeons to
perform advanced minimally invasive surgeries as compared to invasive surgeries
using conventional procedural methods. Patients can also look forward to faster
recovery times and lower risk of unwanted side-effects.
ANT will complement existing imaging modalities like C-Arm
fluoroscopy, CT-scan and ultrasound. It can process 2D images to create 3D
targets with precision in minimally invasive applications such as lesion biopsy
and ablation treatment.
NDR is currently working on the deployment of ANT for CT
scans and ultrasound imaging. The company plans to expand the use of ANT into
other medical applications such as orthopaedics and anaesthesia in the near
Leonard, Founding CEO, SGInnovate, said, “A system that brings AI and a
high-precision surgical tool together is a powerful combination. Doctors have
told us this system can raise the efficacy of surgical procedures to improve
the clinical outcomes and lives of patients. In addition, the underlying
technology NDR has built can be applied in other industries. As SGInnovate, our
mission is to enable deep tech startups to build from Singapore for the world.”
“We would like to thank SGInnovate for believing in NDR’s
pursuit in AI Robotics. Surgeries will be automated in the foreseeable future,
and data is the key to this medical advancement. With our AI-driven robotics
system, surgical procedures will be more precise and surgeons will enjoy
greater productivity in the operating theatre.” said Alan Goh, co-founder and
CEO, NDR Medical Technology.
 SGInnovate is a
private limited company wholly owned by the Singapore Government, to support
and develop the deep tech startup ecosystem in Singapore. It does so by
investing in deep tech startups, helping them source talent and finding early
adopter customers for them.