▲ Hwang Hee, CEO of KakaoHealthcare

– ‘Pasta’, mobile-based, blood glucose management service, will be launched in South Korea this February and will globally expand from the end of this year
– ‘Pasta’ to enter Japan by the end of this year and the U.S. market by the end of next year
– Business expansion of big data & AI based global healthcare research collaboration network and RWE-based global clinical trial to be expected

[January 11, 2024] KakaoHealthcare’s CEO, Hwang Hee, revealed his ambition for expansion to global markets targeting Japan and the United States at the APAC presentation session during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, January 10, 2024 at 10:00 AM. (KST: January 9, 5:00PM). He remarked that KakaoHealthcare’s blood sugar management service, “Pasta”, will be launched in Korea in February 2024, and that the company will then begin to actively enter the global market, first targeting Japan and the United States.

The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is the largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology investment industry event in the world. Held in the United States every January, it is a major conference that brings together many pharmaceutical, biotechnology, healthcare companies and investors. It allows the participants to see and share global pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and healthcare trends as well as promising technologies from each company. At the APAC session, KakaoHealthcare introduced both “Pasta”, AI-based mobile blood glucose management service, and multi-institutional, AI-based, medical data analysis platform business based on federated learning.

“By 2030, the global diabetes population will reach 642 million people, 39% of whom may suffer from chronic, diabetes-related complications, and the economic burden will reach $2.3 trillion, nearly 2% of the global GDP,” said CEO Hwang Hee. He expressed that “for people with diabetes, PASTA will empower them to self-manage their diabetes based on the correlation of real-time continuous glucose data with their lifestyle data, ultimately reducing the incidence of serious complications. For people with pre-diabetes, PASTA aims to slow the progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes through self-management by focusing on lifestyle improvements and will help healthcare providers to provide precision treatment based on patients’ lifestyle data.” The CEO also added that, “we hope to expand the targeting area of PASTA to other chronic diseases to ultimately improve patients’ quality of life, increase access to healthcare, and reduce social costs.”

“Pasta” is a blood glucose management service that utilizes continuous glucose monitoring devices(CGM) and smartphones, and KakaoHealthcare developed the service last year in collaboration with global companies Dexcom, Novo Nordisk, and i-Sens. Pasta is equipped with AI-based food recognition and nutrient analysis, real-time blood glucose measurement, real-time guidance, analysis reports, and community space for family and friends to share their blood glucose data. To make it easier for healthcare professionals to use Pasta for patient care and education, KakaoHealthcare provides a separate system called “Pasta Connect” to medical institutions. In addition, KakaoHealthcare is planning to integrate the data in the patients’ Pasta APP with the hospital’s EMR system to help patients receive continuous treatment.

Next, CEO Hwang introduced “Project Delta”, an AI-based clinical data analysis and prediction technology based on federated learning for KakaoHealthcare’s partner hospitals. “As of 2020, there were 2.314 billion terabytes of global healthcare data, and the size of the data analysis market is predicted to reach $122 billion in 2030,” added Hwang. “We are working on the ‘Data Curation’ business in cooperation with Google Cloud to satisfy the unmet needs of partners, including hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and research institutions.”

KakaoHealthcare is building a data lake by standardizing high-quality clinical data and various medical records held by medical institutions, and within this infrastructure, the company provides a solution that enables convenient utilization of artificial intelligence and large-scale machine learning. Revitalization of multi-institutional clinical research is expected through Kakao Healthcare’s data analysis system without concerns on data security and privacy issues caused by the export of hospital in-house data. Various organizations with demand of data are anticipated to create various social-added values such as the revitalization of multi-institutional research, the development of pharmaceutical industry, the improvement of medical quality, and the innovation of medical technology through fast data analysis based on data standardization and federated learning without the need to export original data. To this end, KakaoHealthcare officially launched the “Research Collaboration Network(R-Alliance)”, a research alliance utilizing artificial intelligence and big data technologies, with Korea University Medical Center, Yonsei University Health System, Ewha Womans University Medical Center, Samsung Medical Center, Chonnam National University Hospital and Chonnam University Hwasun Hospital in November, 2023. In addition, KakaoHealthcare signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with global beauty company L’Oréal in July, 2023, to develop precision beauty solutions based on RWE (Real World Evidence). The company also announced its plan to lead the data analysis field based on RWE, which is expected to be active in clinical trials in the future.
Kakao Healthcare has already conducted a federated learning pilot test with Google Cloud and three South Korean university hospitals on the topic of mortality and complication prediction model for colorectal cancer patients. Through this test, they confirmed that the federated learning model without data exportation does not compromise the performance compared to traditional data analysis prediction models. KakaoHealthcare is currently conducting additional pilot tests with more hospitals in the breast cancer field.

On the same day, CEO Hwang also expressed ambitions for overseas business. With mentioning the plans to enter the Japanese and U.S. markets with the ‘PASTA’ service, he revealed that discussions with potential partners for joint ventures in each region are underway and will be able to showcase the specifics of their overseas business within this year. Regarding ‘Project Delta,’ he said that he wants to create an opportunity for the results of the Research Collaboration Network, based on Kakao Healthcare’s technology and the participation of South Korean major domestic hospitals, to be used as a representative data set for Asians in the global pharmaceutical and tech sectors.

Lastly, CEO Hwang shared his reflections on the conference, stating, “Through this conference, KakaoHealthcare had meaningful meetings with key investors and received significant feedback on our current direction and achievements. As a two-year-old startup, this has greatly contributed to solidifying our direction of development for the next stage. We look forward to the meaningful outcomes of our global business expansion and that the invitation to this conference will have a significant impact on our expansion.” (End)