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PolyU-nurtured startups listed on Forbes Asia 100 To Watch 2023

31 Aug 2023

Achievements Knowledge Transfer and Entrepreneurship Office

Prof. Zheng Yongping, Henry G. Leong Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Director of Research Institute for Smart Ageing

Dr Kelvin Heung Ho-lam, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Building and Real Estate at PolyU

Three startups nurtured by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) - Eieling Medical Limited, Fleming MedLab Limited and Telefield Medical Imaging Limited - have been listed in the newly-released Forbes Asia 100 To Watch 2023.

This year’s Forbes Asia 100 to Watch list spotlights small companies and startups that are targeting underserved markets or applying new technologies. Thirteen countries and regions are represented across 11 categories, including biotechnology and healthcare, e-commerce and retail, and finance. The PolyU-nurtured companies are among 15 startups from Hong Kong.

Both Eieling Medical and Telefield Medical Imaging were co-founded by Prof. ZHENG Yongping, Henry G. Leong Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Director of Research Institute for Smart Ageing at PolyU. Established in 2018, Eieling is a technology development company in advanced medical ultrasound imaging devices. Prof. Zheng and his PolyU research team combined transient elastography diagnostic technology with a real-time ultrasound image guided system to develop a solution called Liverscan® for liver fibrosis assessment. Liverscan® is a low-cost, palm-sized, and wireless device, allowing medical staff to perform liver checkups on patients anytime, anywhere. Eieling has been supported by the Incu-Bio Programme of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks and the PolyU Tech Launchpad Fund, as well as secured funding from an industrial partner and several private investors. Clinical trials are now being conducted on the device in several major hospitals in Mainland China and Hong Kong, with a plan for local release this year, registration in Mainland China in 2024 and the United States in 2025, and a full-scale worldwide launch in 2026.

Prof. Zheng said, “I have been working in the area of ultrasound for over 30 years, and the innovations in medical ultrasound have the potential to benefit many people in need. I have tried different ways to do technology transfer, including consultancy projects, patent licensing, and collaborative research. I have decided to further engage in technology transfer to enable our university inventions to generate a greater impact and provide more opportunities to my team members through startups. While the process is challenging, we can have better control over the initial development of the product and gain a better understanding of what the real world actually needs, which will guide us in planning for future research and development. I am very happy that our approach fits very well with PolyU’s strategic mission to be an innovative world-class university. Meanwhile, I learned that a start-up needs a CEO with professional experience to operate it when it enters a certain stage, and it is important for further growth.”

Founded in 2012, Telefield is a leading global provider of 3D ultrasound imaging technology, equipment and solutions. Prof. Zheng and his PolyU research team have developed a safer and more cost-effective scoliosis assessment system, applying 3D ultrasound imaging technology to generate a radiography-like image of the spine. This breakthrough in assessing spinal deformity, especially in adolescents, is behind the pioneering medical system Scolioscan®. With more than 120 filed or granted patents, Scolioscan® can measure spinal curvature as accurately as X-ray. As the world’s first and only ultrasound scoliosis assessment system, Scolioscan® is currently in use in hospitals and clinics in countries and regions including Australia, Bosnia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Thailand, Romania, Malaysia, Thailand, Mainland China, Macao and Hong Kong, and has helped reduce harmful exposure to radiation for more than 20,000 scoliosis patients worldwide. Telefield has so far secured more than HK$100 million in funding for this innovative project. In April 2023, Telefield achieved the Pre-A round financing totalling nearly HK$40 million, with investors including Fosun Pharma, AEF Greater Bay Area Fund (managed by Gobi GBA), PolyU Entrepreneurship Investment Fund and other industry investors.

Fleming MedLab is an academic-led startup co-founded by Dr Kelvin HEUNG Ho-lam, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Building and Real Estate at PolyU, who was a Bronze medallist at this year’s International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva and an awardee of the PolyU Young Innovative Research Award 2023. The company is a biomedical robotics startup specialising in stroke rehabilitation and gait training. Dr Heung’s startup focuses on developing a lightweight, wearable and easy-to-use medical-grade rehabilitation robotic exoskeleton. The system is designed to detect the movement intent of users and provide adaptive assistive force to empower joint movement. Regular use during rehabilitation training can aid in the reorganisation of the brain cortex and recovery of mobility. In order to help accelerate development, Fleming MedLab has secured funding from the PolyU Micro Fund scheme.

Dr Heung said, “Suffering from a stroke is potentially life-changing, and our invention aims to assist patients in their recovery and help them regain mobility. With support from PolyU, we can concentrate fully on embracing our entrepreneurial endeavour and translating our research outcomes into real-world impacts.”

As an innovative world-class university driven by its motto, “To learn and to apply, for the benefit of mankind”, PolyU is committed to creating societal impact by advancing knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship. The University has been providing staunch support to students, alumni and faculty members, to enable them to pursue interdisciplinary research in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges and nurture impactful innovation, as well as translate PolyU’s research excellence into practical real-world applications. To date, PolyU has nurtured more than 480 startups, including over 60 academic-led initiatives, four unicorns and quite a number of ponies.



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