Adebayo Alonge, a Nigerian Pharmacist who co-developed a miniature nanoscanner that uses AI to identify fake drugs and assess general drug quality on mobile phones, has won the 2019 deepTech Challenge at the Hello Tomorrow conference, which comes with a €100,000 prize.
Hello Tomorrow describes itself as "the world’s best deepTech conference for scientists, technologists and their enablers".
It organises an annual challenge that seeks to identify the best deepTech solution in the world, over a six-month period. The conference seeks to discover, initiate and support the deepTech ecosystem, the purpose of which is to scale science-based solutions to solve the world’s biggest problems.
Alonge credits his science education at King’s College Lagos and at the Pharmacy School, University of Ibadan, for providing the building blocks of this innovative technology.
In the 2019 deepTech challenge, 4,500 deepTech startups applied from across 119 countries. A global jury of the best deepTech scientists and investors reviewed the applications, selected the top 500 deepTech applicants and organised regional pitch contests to select the Top 80 finalists for the finals in Paris in March 2019.
Alonge’s startup RxAll was drawn into the Africa region finals in Cape Town, which was organised by the @africarena. RxAll won this regional final in November 2018, worth a $5,000 prize money and associated AI benefits from Microsoft.
At the deepTech finals in Paris, the Top80 deepTech startups were grouped into 12 groups — Aeronautics, Data and AI; Digital Health; Energy; Food; Agriculture and Environment; Global Health; Industrial Biotech; Industry 4.0; New Materials; New Mobility; New Space and Wellbeing.
RxAll competed in these intense finals in the Digital Health group against five other impressive startups, including some that are applying Quantum Computing for therapeutic protein development.
RxAll had to convince digital health jury consisting of health experts, scientists and investors that the RxAll solution was the best to win the Digital Health group and to further represent the group against other groups for the grand prize. It eventually won the Digital Health group and the €15,000 prize money awarded by WeHealth by Servier.
Twelve of the best deepTech startups were selected as winners of the 12 deepTech groups. The selected 12 deepTech winners from the groups were RxAll (Digital Health), Bound4Blue (Aeronautics), Insightness (Data & AI), CoreShell (Energy), Fauna Photonics (Food, Agric & Environment), X-Therma (Global Health Prize), Dust Biosolutions (Industrial Biotech), Echoring (Industry 4.0), Soundskrit (New Materials), Niveauup (Mobility), Atomos (New Space) and IlyaPharma (Wellbeing).
After careful deliberation by judges and deepTech experts from across the 12 competing groups, the unanimous winner of the 2019 best deepTech in the world, represented by the Hello Tomorrow grand prize, was declared as RxAll.
Alonge and the rest of the RxAll team will continue to expand their solution across Africa and SE Asia. They are working with drug regulators and foundations in these regions. They are also selling their solution to individuals in the developed world who are concerned about the drugs they buy online or on the streets.
RxAll is currently enabling science research application in the field of pharma spectrometry in Africa & SE Asia and is sponsoring joint research projects in the following countries:
RxAll is also running a donation programme to enable access to its solution for country medicine regulators/FDAs in low-income countries.
Starting at $60/month, pharmacovigilance inspectors from country FDAs can now use the RxAll solution to test drug quality at the ports and in pharmacies using their phones.
They can also use the RxAll solution to see where bad drugs are showing up in different cities and who is responsible in real time. Doing so, they can organise batch recalls and stop the bad actors in real time.
The RxAll solution also helps drug regulators send to one another drug test reports including geolocation data of tests and timestamps. This helps to reduce administrative burden and improve record keeping towards improved productivity and successful prosecution of bad actors.
RxAll is looking for resellers across the world, who will get the opportunity to build a million-dollar business while doing good.