IQ-AI Ltd (LON:IQAI) said it has reversed the strategic decision to divest its StoneChecker (SC) division and instead will now retain the business.

The AIM-listed company announced the divestment plans in December 2019, with the aim of focusing existing resources on further expanding its leadership position in the neuroimaging field. At that time, IQ-AI determined that the return on shareholder value would be maximized if existing resources were deployed to capitalize on the company’s core strength without the dilutive impact of launching and supporting a commercial version of SC software.

On 5 August 2020, IQ-AI announced that it had signed a Letter of Intent with a major international group wishing to buy SC. However, in a statement today, IQ-AI said it has withdrawn from discussions and will retain the SC application in its product portfolio.

READ: IQ-AI outlines benefits and significance of flagship IB Neuro brand

The company noted that last December’s decision to dispose of SC enabled existing resources to accelerate the development of key initiatives in Imaging Biometric’s neuro imaging platforms. This accelerated pathway included the addition of a recognized artificial intelligence (AI) expert, Dr Jay Urbain, PhD, to the development team in January 2020. The added development capacity of Dr Urbain has allowed the existing developers to focus and complete numerous initiatives ahead of schedule.

During this period, requests for trials of SC, as well as inquiries from international distributors, have been steadily received. Feedback from these trials has provided the opportunity for end-users to use SC and identify fundamental workflow enhancements which are now being readily addressed and implemented by IQ-AI’s development team.

The team is now preparing to release version 2.0 of SC in early Q4 2020. This will be followed with a subsequent version that leverages AI to automate workflows.

IQ-AI said the decision to retain SC also flows logically from IQ-AI’s previously announced growth strategy of providing proven quantitative solutions outside of the brain. Earlier this year, a US FDA 510(k) application was submitted for Liver Surface Nodularity (LSN). While the review is still pending, IQ-AI is optimistic it will soon receive clearance.

LSN and StoneChecker provide IQ-AI with two non-neuro solutions which leverage the company’s expertise in quantitative image analysis. Moreover, the high prevalence of liver disease and kidney stones provide attractive market opportunities.

Regulatory clearance for LSN and the modest software enhancements forthcoming in future versions of StoneChecker 2.0 are significant milestones that will help IQ-AI attain its global business objectives, the group added.

Trevor Brown, CEO of IQ-AI commented in today’s statement: “The accomplishments by the Imaging Biometrics team thus far in 2020 provided an opportunity for your Board to rethink last year’s decision to dispose of StoneChecker. Interest in medical application in AI has intensified considerably as the year has progressed as the team continue to identify potential software solutions to a widening range of medical imaging challenges.

“The decision to retain and further develop StoneChecker, enhances the potential to market and sell it in Europe, the USA and South Korea, where it already has regulatory approval.”