Keio Innovation Initiative Announces its Investment in Luxonus


Keio Innovation Initiative announces its investment in Luxonus, a venture company developing diagnostic imaging devices, through a fund managed by Keio Innovation Initiative.

The Keio University-based venture capital firm Keio Innovation Initiative (KII; CEO Kotaro Yamagishi) has invested in a third-party allotment of shares in Luxonus Co. Ltd., a venture company that utilizes Keio University’s research.

Luxonus Co. Ltd. is a university-launched venture company that is developing a general purpose imaging device that uses proprietary Photoacoustic Imaging (PAI) technology to enable early-stage disease detection and diagnosis. The venture company was established in 2018 on the basis of results from programs including the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technology Program (ImPACT) and their “Innovative visual technology to lead to the creation of a new growth industry” program (implemented in fiscal years 2014~2018, with participation by Keio University and Kyoto University).

PAI uses special sensors to detect laser pulses directed at the body, which supplement the detection capabilities of traditional ultrasound, with the resulting images then computer-analyzed. Compared to traditional imaging methods such as Ultrasound, X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT), or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), the imaging equipment developed using PAI is non-invasive (no contrast agent) and has no radiation exposure, yet allows for ultra-high resolution 3D imaging of vessels such as blood vessels and lymph vessels.

Keio University and Kyoto University have installed prototypes of PAI imaging equipment and have conducted clinical trials for approximately 250 cases, including cases of diseases such as breast cancer, lymphedema, and angiopathy. The ultimate aim is the improvement of treatment results through earlier diagnosis that is made possible by wide-area, ultra-high resolution imaging for diseases including breast cancer, lymphedema, and vascular disorders, which have been more difficult to diagnose with existing technology. Luxonus is now developing mass-producible versions of its imaging equipment, aiming to make the devices available to research institutes in 2021 and medical institutions in 2022.

KII made a seed round investment, together with the Japanese Organization for Medical Device Development Inc. (JOMDD; Headquarters: Chuo-Ku, Tokyo; CEO Takahiro Uchida) and the Innovation Kyoto 2016 Investment Business Limited Partnership operated by Kyoto University Innovation Capital Co., Ltd (Kyoto iCAP; Headquarters: Sakyo-ku, Kyoto; CEO Koji Murota). KII hopes to support the introduction and implementation of PAI imaging devices for cases in which accurate pre- and postoperative diagnoses have thus far been difficult, in the hope that treatment can become more effective. KII supports the business development of Luxonus with JOMDD and Kyoto iCAP and aims to maximize investment return through social contributions and the social implementation of academic research.

Japanese Organization for Medical Device Development Inc.

Kyoto University Innovation Capital Co., Ltd.

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