Startup Spotlight: Seoul-Based Medtech Startup DC Medical Is Bringing Innovative Patented Medical Technologies To The Middle East While there are four technologies the DC Medical team is working on, it is the preterm birth diagnostic device called EveryBaby that it is largely focused on at the moment.
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This article is part of an ongoing series covering startups that have been a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program.
Headquartered in the South Korean capital of Seoul, DC Medical is a medtech company that runs clinical trials and advanced research and development (R&D) experiments using overseas patented medical device technologies.
Having recently obtained a technology patent license from the National Health Service in the UK, the startup (which was founded in 2018) is currently working on developing four healthcare technologies: an organ preservation solution, a preterm birth diagnostic device, a biomimetic surgical mesh, and an atrial fibrillation surgical catheter. "DC Medical believes in bringing innovation to everyone at an affordable price," says Choi Dabriel, CEO, DC Medical. "We provide medical expertise, as well as financial and business support, and we also have experts in the medical device industry with over 20 years of experience collaborating with key opinion leaders on our clinical advisory board. In collaboration with MBRIF and other entities, we intend to conduct a multi-clinical trial in the UK, Dubai, South Korea, and Israel for our preterm birth diagnostic device."
According to Choi, while each of the four technologies his team is working on has its own revenue model, it is the preterm birth diagnostic device called EveryBaby that DC Medical is largely focused on at the moment. "Preterm birth is the number one cause of mortality in children under the age of five," explains Choi. "In fact, research by the World Health Organization shows that there are over 15 million preterm births and 1 million deaths from preterm births every year. We intend to address this problem with an accurate diagnostic device."
Built as an affordable standalone portable device, EveryBaby is intended to be easily accessible by mothers, with it providing quick and accurate results about the chances of going into preterm labor. And although it hasn't officially entered the healthcare market, EveryBaby's clinical trials are already showing promising results. "The current standard for preterm birth diagnosis is a transvaginal ultrasound and fibronectin test, but they only have an accuracy of 66% for all mothers," explains Choi. "On the other hand, EveryBaby's investigational clinical trial has shown accuracy of 80%. With the development of new AI algorithms and the upcoming multi-center clinical trials, we envision our accuracy to increase."
DC Medical is hoping to debut its technology into the global market by 2023, and Choi already has the business route for his startup mapped out, with the starting point being to target countries that already have well-established healthcare systems. "These countries are more committed to bringing in more accurate diagnostic methods to decrease healthcare spending and ensure welfare of citizens," says Choi, explaining the rationale behind this decision. "Which is why we hope to establish our product as the standard prenatal care in countries such as the UAE."
Source: DC Medical
While the startup hasn't started to generate revenue, DC Medical is expecting to get moving on that front very soon. "We aim to enter the market in 2023, with target market shares of 20% in Korea, 15% in UAE, around 10% in the UK and Israel, 3% in Saudi Arabia, and 1% in the European market by 2024," Choi says. "We also expect the revenue to be over US$8.7million in 2024, $21 million in 2025, and we forecast our revenue to grow at a 35.4% compound annual growth rate until 2033 by expanding our market." Having already raised close to $10 million in funds from seed and Series A investment rounds, mostly from Korean venture capital funds, DC Medical is now working towards raising its Series B round.
The DC Medical team is currently a small team of 12, spread across South Korea, the US, and the UK, and it also recently commenced research operations in the UAE. But with the COVID-19 crisis having hindered travel between the team's different locations, Choi admits it's been a frustrating time for the startup's operations. "It is also very challenging to support market entry and maintain physical office and personnel in the UAE, because we are heavily investing in research and development at the moment," he adds. That would explain why the DC Medical team has found immense help through their participation in the MBRIF accelerator program. "Building a business in the medical industry, unlike any other, requires an extensive amount of time and consistency," Choi says. "DC Medical applied to the MBRIF program, because we have confidence it would provide the bespoke services we needed to enter the UAE market. The first four months of the program have been valuable, from understanding cultural and market differences, to pitching to venture capitalists and collaborators, and also initiating communications with Dubai Health Authority."
As Choi and his team thus gear up for a busy 2022, the CEO stresses upon the need to realize that healthcare technology does, and must, keep human connection at its forefront. "The inventors of our products are doctors of medicine, who felt the need for better and innovative products," adds Choi. "This shows a strong human connection and consideration for patients. At DC Medical, we are developing EveryBaby to reduce preterm birth, save more infant lives, and ultimately, restore happiness for families."