Medical imaging company Medo acquired by California's Exo

· The Pulse

Medo, an Edmonton-based medical AI innovator, is being acquired by Exo, an American health information and medical device company interested in making ultrasound imaging faster and simpler so that a wider range of caregivers can use it.

"Exo's powerful hardware and workflow technologies and Medo's AI will dramatically reduce the challenges that have long held back the widespread adoption of point-of-care ultrasound," Medo co-founder and CEO Dornoosh Zonoobi said in a release. "The ease of imaging and immediacy of diagnostic information we provide will radically transform medical care, creating a world where caregivers can image the body as easily as snapping a photo on a smartphone."

She did not disclose the terms of the acquisition when she shared the news on LinkedIn, but she said Medo and Exo have a shared vision of simple, reliable, and accessible medical imaging, and that their combined expertise will further drive point-of-care ultrasound adoption.

Medo's AI algorithm automates image acquisition and interpretation, aiding those without specialized training in performing accurate exams and diagnosing common or critical conditions. Trained on a library of millions of ultrasound images and longitudinal data, the AI processes and selects images that are best suited for calculating standard measurements, and has shown to be reliable in the diagnosis of hip dysplasia and thyroid conditions.

Incorporating this technology into Exo's platform will increase early detection and treatment, said Sandeep Akkaraju, CEO and founder of Exo, which is based in Redwood City, California.

"We believe this is going to really change healthcare in a significant manner," Akkaraju told the San Francisco Examiner. "This is something that is going to be in the pockets of caregivers everywhere."

A technician holds a device on a baby's hip joint and looks at an ultrasound image

Medo received FDA approval in 2020 to use its AI-enabled technology to detect hip dysplasia in infants. (Medo/YouTube)

Established in 2018 with the goal of producing "the 21st-century stethoscope," Medo is dually headquartered in Edmonton and Singapore, and has more than 20 employees in the two locations. Two of Medo's algorithms have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., with more in the works. The company also has partnerships with healthcare institutions in Asia and Canada, credits that bolstered Exo's confidence in the company and the future validation and adoption of its products.

The acquisition is good news for the local health innovation ecosystem, said Reg Joseph, CEO of Health Cities, which published a white paper on Medo in 2021.

"Some people would look at this and say it's a bit of a loss because we're losing another company out of Alberta to a U.S. company. But I would tell you, in the world of transactions and finance, this is putting Edmonton on the map," he said. "This is going to create a lot more transactions in these kinds of spaces."

Joseph pointed to the multimillion-dollar agreement between Entos Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly earlier this year as another example of the region's growing importance in the sector and the strength of its small to medium-sized enterprises. "It's really demonstrating that Alberta SMEs or Edmonton SMEs can actually play in the global market space."