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Chinese capsule endoscope maker raises dozens of millions of dollars

Jifu Medical tool allows doctors to easily peer into patients' digestive organs

Jifu Medical hopes to capture more of China's medical endoscope market, now dominated by Japanese and German makers. (Photo courtesy of Jifu Medical)

BEIJING -- Jifu Medical, which has a capsule-size endoscope tool, has raised several hundred million yuan (several dozens of millions of dollars) in a Series C funding round.

The lead investor is Greenwoods Investment, and Bojiang Capital is among the co-investors.

Some of the funds will go toward further developing the company's minimally invasive examination products for the digestive organs. The money will also be used for marketing and to expand production of Jifu's magnetic induction capsule endoscopes.

China's medical endoscope market is growing rapidly, according to a report released by Qianzhan Industry Research Institute. It expanded to 19.9 billion yuan ($2.93 billion) in 2017 from 15.6 billion yuan in 2015.

Although the market is large, domestic companies lack competitiveness as they face high technological hurdles. The endoscopes used in China are mostly made by Japanese and German companies, with domestic players having a combined market share of less than 5%.

Jifu Medical, founded in 2011, is developing a magnetic induction capsule endoscope. The capsule-shaped camera weighs 2.7 grams. after being swallowed by a patient, it can be moved inside the body through magnetic induction, allowing for accurate photographing.

The capsule is less invasive than a traditional peroral endoscopy and requires no anesthesia. It can also reduce the examination time to between 10 and 15 minutes.

The capsule is also easy to operate; training consists of a single lecture, according to Jifu Medical. The capsule has already been introduced at Shanghai Jiao Tong University-affiliated Ruijin Hospital and elsewhere.

Jifu Medical, with a plant in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, has acquired good manufacturing practice certification for the production control and quality control of medical products and quasi-drugs. It also has ISO 13485 certification.

In December, the capsule endoscope obtained Class III medical device certification from China's National Medical Products Administration as well as CE certification from the European Union under the brand of DaSheng.

In China, medical devices are classified by risk level, with Class III being the highest risk.

36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.

For the Japanese version of this story, click here.

For the Chinese version, click here.

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