10 June 2021 | Analysis
A comprehensive analysis by Apoorva Bajaj, Practice Head-Financial Markets at GlobalData
Apoorva Bajaj, CFA, Practice Head-Financial Markets, GlobalData, India
AI ecosystem in healthcare has grown in the recent past, as companies are looking to capitalize on the benefits provided by AI to improve patient outcomes and enable convenient, cost-effective access to healthcare solutions. In addition to the significant increase in digital penetration and Internet connectivity, favourable government policies (e.g., China, Thailand and the Philippines) have been key driving factors of growth in healthtech startups across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Against this backdrop, the APAC AI in healthcare market is set to grow substantially due to increasing VC investments in AI healthcare startups, cross-industry partnerships and collaborations, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
AI is being used by healthtech startups for various applications within healthcare domain such as Patient Data Analytics, Medical Imaging, Lifestyle Monitoring, Drug Discovery, Vaccine Trails, Virtual Assistants, Wearables, Health-records, Mental Health & Wellness, and Robot Assisted Surgery, Dosage Error Reduction among others. Medical Imaging based on Deep Learning Neural Networks (a sub-field of AI) can be used in diagnosing diseases with the help of historical data. AI can also be used in detecting cancerous tissues and diagnose certain chronic heart diseases.
APAC lags North America in terms of VC funding
GlobalData reveals that, in terms of total venture capital (VC) funding received by healthcare startups across the globe, North America startups accounted for approximately 60%, followed by APAC startups with approximately 25% and Europe & MENA startups with approximately 15% of the total funding. In 2020, VC funding for APAC startups has increased by around 37% YoY.
In 2020, within the healthcare domain for APAC-based startups, Diagnostics sub-sector received around 20% of the total funding; e-Marketplace received 15%; followed by Insurance Tech and Nutrition & Wellness sub-sector with 10% of the total VC funding.
Within APAC, the countries can be divided into three broad categories depending on the maturity of healthcare infrastructure. Countries like Vietnam, Myanmar and Pakistan are categorized as ‘Evolving’, due to low healthcare spend/capital, low GDP/capita, high imports of generic drugs and relatively poor healthcare infrastructure. Counties like China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines are categorized as ‘Growing’, due to high GDP/capita, healthcare spend/capita, local production of basic generic drugs and healthcare infrastructure. Countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia, and Japan are categorized as ‘Developed’ on account of high GDP/capita, high healthcare spend/capita, specialty pharma and biotech manufacturing and mature healthcare infrastructure.
China bets big on AI in healthcare
Apoorva Bajaj, Practice Head, Financial Markets at GlobalData, says: “China is one of the few developing countries, which is integrating AI with traditional industries, including healthcare. The country is investing heavily to ramp up digitization in its healthcare industry. As a result, China-based AI healthcare startups are benefiting from the AI-focused government policies, encouraging investment and private-public partnerships.”
GlobalData's Startup Scorecard has identified 16 startups from the APAC region, which are leveraging AI for various use-cases in the healthcare sector.
Mr Bajaj explains: “GlobalData’s Startup Scorecard enables identification and shortlisting of startups for respective use cases as potential investors, partners, acquisition targets or even as vendors. The Scorecard ranks 10,000 startups using quantifiable data to ensure that it is objective and can be comparatively measured across different sectors, geographies and themes.”
Key information about each of these startups, including founding year, total funding raised till date, latest round of financing (amount raised, series and date), headquarters, sub-sector focus and key investors, are highlighted below.
Mr Bajaj concludes: “The use of AI in APAC healthcare sector is still in nascent stages and this bodes well for startups as they look to build large sustainable companies providing convenient, scalable and low-cost access to quality healthcare solutions to their customers. Given the huge potential of using AI and ML algorithms in the various sub-domains of healthtech solutions, the opportunity seems significant driving access to VC funding for these startups working in the healthtech domain. However, shortage of skilled workforce and lack of regulatory guidelines for medical software are some of the major factors that may hinder the market growth.”
FOR DETAILED GRAPHICAL REPRESENTATION REFER TO JUNE EDITION OF BIOSPECTRUM ASIA https://www.biospectrumasia.com/e-magazine
Apoorva Bajaj is working as Practice Head-Financial Markets at GlobalData, where he is responsible for developing innovative products using various alternative datasets like patents, filings, jobs, deals, news, social media, and themes for financial market clients. His team has developed Quant based Startup Scorecard to rank 10,000 Startups across three broad pillars: Investment, Innovation and Market Presence, across sectors and geographies. Prior to GlobalData, Mr. Bajaj is a CFA Charter holder and completed his MBA from IIM Kozhikode (Gold Medalist) and B.Tech from IIT Dhanbad.