SKT scales up investment in Nanox to enter next-gen medical device market

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SK Telecom, Korea’s leading ICT company, has upped its stake in Nasdaq-heading Nanox, a medical imaging technology company, with an additional $20 million equity investment, with eyes on possible opening in the telemedicine market in Korea.

With the investment, SK Telecom will become the second major shareholder in Israel-based company with exclusive business rights in Korea and Vietnam, the company said last weekend. The transaction follows an initial $3 million investment made by SK Telecom a year ago. Nanox is an Israeli company with proprietary technology that digitally converts filament-based analog X-ray imaging using a semiconductor nano approach.

Fuji Film, Foxconn and Yozma Group are also shareholders of Nanox, which is preparing to be listed on the Nasdaq.

SK Telecom plans to establish a digital X-ray production plant in Korea. A conventional X-ray system generates electrons by heating filaments made of copper and tungsten and then rotates them rapidly for imaging, but a digital X-ray system digitally controls silicon semiconductors to generate electrons and convert them to X-rays.

It is excellent in imaging quality and speed, and it is also advantageous in weight reduction since it does not require a cooling device. Most of all, the imaging cost is only a tenth that of an analog system, according to SK Telecom.

SK Telecom is considering the application of this digital X-ray technology to medical, security, and industrial services, involving its ICT affiliates such as SK Hynix, ADT Caps, and Invites Healthcare.

SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho said the two companies have a common philosophy of creating better social value with advanced technology, adding the combination between next-generation medical technology, 5G and artificial intelligence will lead to innovation in the post-COVID-19 world.