Samsung Acquires French AI Firm Sonio to Advance Medical Diagnostic Systems

In this post:

  • Samsung acquires French AI company Sonio in order to develop and enhance medical ultrasound technology, primarily in regard to prenatal care. 
  • Sonio AI tech improves ultrasound accuracy, particularly for fetal brain and heart structure systems. 
  • This acquisition is evidence of the company’s aspiration to roll out AI in the healthcare system to ensure positive outcomes for patients.

Samsung Electronics‘ medical equipment unit, Samsung Medison, is dedicated to creating diagnostic imagining devices. On Wednesday, Samsung announced that it plans to acquire Sonio, a Paris-based company that develops AI-powered software for ultrasound workflows, for about $92. 7 million. 

The startup company in France has an AI assistant to help obstetricians and gynecologists during the examination and document process. In addition, it has been awarded regulatory clearance (FDA 510(k)) for Sonio Detect, which, using deep learning algorithms, improves the real-time image quality of ultrasound scans. 

From healthcare to product development, AI has quickly found its broad application in many disciplines, and businesses are interested in fusing this technology into their products to sell them on the market.

Strategic investment in medical technology

Samsung Medison stated that its software will help develop AI-enabled health diagnostics and therapies. Samsung Electronics, which is a 68. 45 % shareholder, acquired Medison for about $25 million in 2011. 

Samsung said in a statement after the acquisition that Sonio will remain an independent one, still able to grow commercially and deliver its products and services in France.  Sonio, co-founded by Hervé Icot and Mehdi Chorob, has been in existence since 2020 and very recently concluded a Series A round worth $14 million led by Cross Border Impact Ventures in August 2023. The company raised 27. 2 million dollars in total sum, as per the report by Tracxn.  Its investors include Elaia, BpifranceFrench Tech Seed, OneRagtime, and some angel investors. 

 Yong Kwan Kim, CEO of Samsung Medison, stated, “Through the acquisition of Sonio, Samsung Medison will continue to deliver upon our promise to improve the quality of people’s lives with technology. Collaboration with Sonio will bring together best-in-class ultrasound AI technology and reporting capabilities to bring a paradigm shift in the prenatal ultrasound exam.”

Empowering Medical Diagnosis with AI

Sonio’s super intelligent tech (AI) empowers and improves the precision of ultrasound diagnosis through learning by training and analysis. One of its products, Sonio Detect, validated for use in the US, analyses images of a fetus, including brain and heart structures.

This deal signifies yet another initiative by Samsung to build its artificial intelligence domain. Samsung Electronics is the world’s leading manufacturer of memory chips including upper-end versions of AI hardware used by industry giants like Nvidia. The company is also one of the top smartphone makers in the world, and the recently introduced models showcased its Galaxy AI technology as the power source in January.

Advantages and Disadvantages of acquisition

The acquisition would enhance the development process of AI-enhanced ultrasound and, therefore, increase the accuracy of prenatal ultrasound diagnostics. Moreover, Sonio could benefit from support from Samsung, its parent company, by expanding its reach into wider markets.

On one hand, the differences in culture and structure can bring about greater difficulties in the collaboration process. Moreover, the brand and operational autonomy of Sonio can be preserved by achieving a balanced state to avoid any conflict of interest with Samsung Medison’s strategies.

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