Of the 11 startups that recently graduated from our accelerator program, 3 of them are from Poland.
During the 2008 economic crisis, Poland was known to be one of the few European countries that did not fall victim to its hardships.
This granted the country a period of growth in the development of medical equipment, which they have been exporting all over, not least to Germany, Europe’s largest healthcare market.
The synergy came naturally and has since lead to an unsurpassed level of medical innovation between the 2 countries.
Let’s talk business, shall we?
We recently sat down with one of these startups, Biolumo, to talk business, innovation, antibiotics and how they are planning on changing the face of e-health. Don’t let their age fool you.
With reddish hair and wearing a college hoodie, Biolumo’s Chief Operation Officer Olga Grudniak, at a first glance, isn’t exactly your next-door CEO.
But as the chat progressed, it soon became clear why, despite her age (at 20, she was the youngest CEO in our Cohort 2017), Olga is indeed heading the company towards promising times.
Driven by her highs levels of enthusiasm and passion for the biotech industry, she went on to tell us how the business idea came about.
“Marcin Pitek (one of our founders and our Chief Science Officer) and I have been working on biotech research projects since high school. During one of these initiatives, Wojciech Gizowski (our Chief Technology Officer) got a call from his business mentor, asking if we knew any antibiotic solution for his son. We researched the market and couldn’t find a feasible solution. Then, a few days later, Marcin came up with an idea that would, later on, become Biolumo.”
A device that can help General Practitioners (GPs) select proper antibiotics, in as little as 6 hours, Biolumo focuses on the two most common areas of bacterial infection: upper respiratory system and urinary tract.
“The problem with antibiotics selection is a worldwide one. In Poland, for example, there are 70 million antibiotics therapies per year. Out of this, only 25 million work. Simply put, adult patients, for example, get broad-spectrum antibiotics leading to only 37% of them receiving an accurate dosage of their medication. If they want to get tested and move into targeted therapy, they need to wait up to 72 hours to receive a proper prescription” explains Wojciech Gizowski.
How does it work in practice?
“Instead of sending a sample to the laboratory, all the doctor/nurse has to do is take a sample from the patient’s infection point and insert it together with Biolumo’s prefilled with antibiotics cartridge to our device Lumobox as seen below (an early concept visualization is being displayed here)”, Olga tells us.
Once this process has been completed, Biolumo’s sensor will measure the growth of the bacteria and their proprietary imaging technology will analyze it.
The system will, then, send the antibiotics recommendation to the doctor, either by e-mail or via a system notification.
We’re only getting started
Reducing the 72 ‘waiting hour’ to 6 clearly is an ambitious target. But, if there is one thing that Biolumo’s team has in abundance is biotech expertise. There is a gap in the market and they are eager to fill it.
“About 10 years ago, GPs’ medical experience and intuition were good enough to determine the best antibiotics for patients. Since then, antibiotic resistance has increased significantly. The same antibiotic can work differently for two patients, suffering from the same disease” – Jakub Wysocki – Chief Marketing Officer.
Digital Health Berlin’s Demo Day 2017
After delivering an astonishing pitch at Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin’s Demo Day, the team is now back in their hometown Gdańsk working at full speed on the next steps.
Currently fully automated, the device will go through clinical validation (set to be concluded by mid-2018). Then, the startup can move forward with securing the required certifications and getting the device to the production phase.
Reflecting back on their 3 months at Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin’s accelerator program, nostalgia and gratitude seem to fit the mood perfectly.
“Over the past 3 months, all of us could physically work together and this process was vital to reach the level we are at. Being able to try out concepts, exchange ideas and get support and feedback from the mentors, the startups and the SBC’s team was extremely beneficial” – Olga.