Raised seed round of 80 million yen
AiRato, Inc (Headquarters: Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Representative Directors: Yuto Kimura, Noriyuki Kadoya) develops AI radiation treatment planning support services with the mission of “saving all cancer patients with radiation therapy.” ) is a subsidiary of Central Japan Seed Fund (Headquarters: Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, Representative Partners: Go Fujita and Hisanari Ito, hereafter referred to as CJS), which supports entrepreneurs working to solve regional issues, and GxPartners LLP (Headquarters: Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, Representatives: Partners: Toshihiro Kishihara, Ken Nakahara, Hiroshi Terai (hereinafter referred to as GxPartners) and FFG Venture Business Partners Co., Ltd. (Head office: Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, President and CEO: Yasuhiko Yoshida) jointly operate “Kyushu Open Innovation No. 2 Investment Business Co., Ltd.” We are pleased to announce that Midvillage Co., Ltd. (Representative Director: Takahiro Nakamura) has raised a seed round of 80 million yen through third-party allotment in January 2024.
Purpose and background of funding
Our company’s mission is to “save all cancer patients with radiation therapy,” and we are working to develop and socially implement AI radiation therapy planning support services. The funds raised this time will be used for business and product development, as well as for hiring personnel who are particularly important for future business expansion, and will work to strengthen the organization’s foundation.
AI radiation treatment planning support service (RatoGuide)
Radiotherapy, one of the three major cancer treatment methods, has an extremely low burden on patients and is becoming increasingly important as a cancer treatment method in a super-aging society. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has become popular in recent years as a cutting-edge treatment method, and has demonstrated high therapeutic efficacy. IMRT is an excellent radiotherapy method, but there are two major issues: (1) variations in treatment results depending on experience, and (2) a shortage of medical staff to perform the treatment (and resulting overwork). These challenges have resulted in situations in which IMRT has not been performed on as many patients as expected. Therefore, we aim to develop and commercialize a radiation therapy support service (RatoGuide) that uses AI to solve these issues, and become a domestic manufacturer that can compete with the world. By using RatoGuide, contour extraction of tumors and normal tissues, irradiation area determination, and safety verification can be performed automatically and in a short time. (Reducing work time from 6 hours to 10-20 minutes) RatoGuide provides high quality and safe radiation treatment planning, expanding the possibilities of IMRT.
Comments from investors (in no particular order)
■MTG Venture Representative Partner Hisanari Ito/Capitalist Chihiro Nakata
In recent years, amidst the remarkable development of medical technology, there is a noticeable shortage of medical personnel in the region. In cancer treatment, even though advanced radiation therapy equipment is available at each hospital, the current situation is that it is not being fully utilized. Team Airat aims to develop and provide solutions using AI to address this issue. Mr. Kakutani is at the forefront of the field of radiation therapy x AI based on cutting-edge research results from Japan and the United States. CJS will do our best to support Airat in realizing his desire to “save all cancer patients” and the future.
■GxPartners Representative Partner Toshihiro Kishihara
IMRT, a highly effective and low-burden radiotherapy for cancer patients, offers great hope, but it also has major challenges, such as the large amount of time that doctors spend on creating treatment plans. I am. Representative Kakutani is a medical professional who plans radiation therapy himself, and has a remarkable track record in his research. I believe that his thorough knowledge of the field made it possible for him to recognize the need for efficient treatment planning software that utilizes AI and to develop accurate solutions. It is a great pleasure for me as a shareholder to be able to participate in this socially significant business. This time, we made the investment after winning the StartupGo!Go! ThePitch competition held in October last year. I would like to fully support Airat’s growth in the future.
■Midvillage Co., Ltd. Representative Director Takahiro Nakamura
By 2040, there will be approximately 30 million cancer patients per year. We believe that AiRato has the power to make it possible to overcome cancer by utilizing AI x radiation therapy technology, which will be a problem that will be closely related to cancer patients, their families, and friends in the future. I’m here. I sympathize with the founder, Mr. Kakutani’s passion and plans, so I will do my best to support him.
Our Representative Director Noriyuki Kadoya
bout two years have passed since our founding. “We want to save many cancer patients with radiation therapy” by utilizing radiation therapy AI technology developed over many years at Tohoku University’s Radiation Oncology Laboratory. It was two years that I ran through with that feeling in mind. Even before our company was founded, we conducted countless experiments with our members. It was a series of hardships, from setting the vision and mission to PoC (proof of concept). Under these circumstances, it was very emotional for us to be able to carry out a demonstration experiment and advance to the stage where we received a certain level of evaluation on the test site, and we would like to express our gratitude to the many medical professionals and startup supporters who have cooperated and supported us thus far. Thank you again. We have recently raised funds and have received the reassuring support system of our wonderful investors. We will further accelerate our growth towards the practical application of RatoGuide. In order to further expand the possibilities of radiation therapy through AI and realize the grand mission of eliminating “all cancer patients” in Japan and around the world, collaboration with many people and organizations is required. Together with you, we will establish business in this difficult but important market and contribute to society. We look forward to your continued support.
February 9, 2024 Winner of DX business contest sponsored by Miyagi Prefecture
Our AI radiation treatment planning support service is a service that supports safe and high-quality treatment with cutting-edge radiation therapy anywhere in the world. We are looking for members who will contribute to the realization of the world we aspire to.
■Board members: Members with leadership to co-create the vision of the startup
■Development engineer (AI, UI): Engineer with enthusiasm and technical skills involved in developing products that are close to patients
■Sales: Sales personnel with a passion for disseminating our patient-friendly products to medical institutions (medical sales experience preferred)
■Technical sales: Technical sales personnel with a passion for disseminating our patient-friendly products to medical institutions (medical experience in radiation therapy settings, radiology technicians, and medical physicists welcome)