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Samsung to buy French medical AI firm Sonio

By AFP - May 09,2024 - Last updated at May 09,2024

Pedestrians walk outside a Samsung store with signage that reads 'Galaxy AI is here' in Seoul on Wednesday (AFP photo)

SEOUL — South Korean tech giant Samsung said on Wednesday it will buy French artificial intelligence company Sonio to boost its cutting-edge medical diagnostic systems.

The use of AI has exploded in recent years in a wide range of disciplines and industries, including medical care, and firms around the world are investing heavily to incorporate it into their products.

The purchase of Sonio by medical equipment maker Samsung Medison, an affiliate of global chip and smartphone giant Samsung Electronics, would boost maternal care through AI-enhanced ultrasound systems, according to a company statement.

"Collaboration with Sonio will bring together best-in-class ultrasound AI technology and reporting capabilities to bring a paradigm shift in the prenatal ultrasound exam," said Yong Kwan-kim, CEO of Samsung Medison.

Samsung will acquire all Sonio's shares for 126 billion won (around $92 million), according to public financial records.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals including from France. Once it is concluded, Sonio will remain headquartered in France.

"In addition to close collaboration with Samsung Medison, as an independent company, Sonio will continue to advance medical reporting technology and diagnostic software globally, including for underserved areas in healthcare," Sonio CEO Cecile Brosset said.

Sonio's AI tech uses machine learning to enhance the accuracy, quality and analysis of ultrasounds.

Its Sonio Detect product, approved for use in the United States, helps analyse images of a fetus, including brain and heart structures.

The acquisition marks the latest move by Samsung to strengthen its AI offerings.

Samsung Electronics is the world's biggest producer of memory chips, including versions used in top-of-the-line AI hardware from industry leaders such as Nvidia.

The firm is also one of the world's biggest smartphone makers, and the latest models it unveiled in January are powered by its own Galaxy AI tech.

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