The Butterfly Network plans to revolutionize the way ultrasounds are conducted with their iQ, the portable ultrasound device that is an ultrasound on chip, which will sell for $2000. To date Butterfly has raised $250 million dollars from solid private investors, for a company valued at $1.25 billion.
The founder of Butterfly is Jonathan Rothberg, who is known for being an adventurous biotechnology entrepreneur. Rotherberg previously led two companies involved in developing DNA sequencing machines. Rothenberg chief executive of Butterfly Network sees great potential for the portable ultrasound device at home, but particularly in developing countries.
Rothberg says, “The iQ represents the birth of an industry. Unlike other ultrasounds our ultrasound is on chip, and is a semiconductor-based device that will change the world.”
The iQ device is currently being shipped. Gioel Molinari, the Butterfly Network’s president, says, “We expect to have thousands of units in the field by year-end. It’s just been extraordinary to see the click between the market and what’s needed and the product that’s produced.”
Currently the device is available to US healthcare providers at a cost of $1,999, plus a monthly fee for the software. The monthly fee is $35 a month for individuals, or $100 a month for a team of ten members.
Rothberg told Forbes last year that the motivation for this ultrasound device was personal. Rothberg’s daughter has tuberosclerosis, which causes the development of tumors throughout the body. Rothberg questioned why the equipment was so bulky, and after seeing a talk about artificial intelligence by Max Tegmark an MIT physicist, he started the Butterfly Network. He then recruited Nevada Sanchez as a co-founder. Rothberg’s invested $20 million of his own money, previously raised $100 million, and now has raised another $250 million dollars.
Molinari said, “Getting the prototype into production took some serious work. The sensor required modifications in the way it was assembled so that manufacturing could be sped up. The US launch is occurring now. Expect a European launch next year, and after that a rollout in Asia. By 2020 the iQ could be available in China.”
The opportunity for the use of the iQ within the US is far reaching and is likely to be seen in portable clinics, the military may find the iQ a handy medical device, and it is certainly to be popular with physicians that do work in third world countries, such as Doctors Without Borders. As availability increases and the cost of the iQ decreases it may find its way into your doctor’s office and even ER departments, because of its convenience and portability.