Nanovare’s team tell us about their aspirations for Data Pitch and beyond.
Describe your Data Pitch challenge idea
By 2020, the average man’s sperm count is expected to drop below medically acceptable levels, drastically inhibiting the ability to conceive naturally. While medical practices have taken great strides to address couples faced with fertility issues, the current process of trying to naturally boost fertility rates in men is still a guessing game. There is still a great deal to discover about the underlying causes of male infertility, and it is one of the only modern-day declining health traits that is still not being addressed. Many healthcare professionals find the typical diagnosis and treatment process inefficient, stemming from lack of deep understanding. To address this, we are developing Mojo Pro, a unique automated medical-grade male fertility diagnostics solution. This will be complemented by Mojo Diagnostics, a male fertility data platform set to provide researchers and physicians with data-based insights to better understand male fertility, and ultimately to improve the diagnostic process.
What does the idea set out to achieve?
Current medical practices rely heavily on manual measurements combined with trial and error diagnostics based on long-term medical experience. We are aiming to automate the semen analysis process, as well as eliminating the guesswork from the diagnostic process by leveraging the power of machine learning to identify the causes of male fertility. Our aim, with this capability, is to make male fertility testing more accessible and more efficient.
What makes your idea different or unique?
Mojo pro, our diagnostic device, allows us to harness the power of data in male fertility assessment and diagnostics. In addition to this, by leveraging data generated by Mojo pro together with existing data sets, such as genetic information and lifestyle factors, we are researching why male fertility levels are declining globally, and draw conclusions on individual couples’ chances to conceive naturally. This allows us to build a centralised platform for male fertility, providing an unprecedentedly personalised healthcare experience delivered by healthcare professionals.
Where did the idea come from?
In the fall of 2014, our CEO Mohamed Taha attended a Startup Weekend Open Labs event in Lyon. It was there that he met Fanny Chesa, and together they set out to develop a cancer detection device based on Mohamed’s nanomaterials PhD research. While such a lofty project proved to be too aspirational for a young startup, Mohamed soon realised a very real need developing across the Middle East; male fertility testing. As the two expanded their search, they discovered a more generalised neglect of tech innovation in male fertility which, coupled with the need for a better understanding of this issue, led to the creation of Nanovare.
What excites you about the challenge you applied for?
We are excited to have the opportunity to bring the power of big data to doctors and fertility clinics, in order to enable them to conduct efficient male fertility testing and provide the couple with fertility issues targeted care. Since the advent of modern diagnostics and the increasingly burgeoning field of MedTech, doctors and medical practitioners have been adopting new technologies that empower their decision making and deliver high-quality healthcare.
How did your team meet?
After joining Mohamed at a Medtech Startup Weekend event, Fanny focused her master’s thesis on the design of Nanovare’s first product, mojo pro. It was during this design phase in mid-2015 that Daniel, one of Mohamed’s PhD colleagues and longtime friends, joined Nanovare to help develop and design the technology. As our CTO, he brings expertise from the field of electrical and computer engineering. Having been friends with Daniel and Mohamed for nearly a year, Tobias realised the team’s need for a partner who understood the dynamics of business and had experience in the medical field. As a result, he joined and completed the team at the end of 2015.
What’s the best thing about working with data?
We are thrilled to be bringing artificial intelligence to healthcare and reproductive health, in particular, capitalising on big data. Big data will enable us to gain new insights and reveal essential information that assists doctors and researchers in order to provide unprecedentedly targeted care to men with fertility issues.
Anything else you want to tell us about your startup and why you do what you do?
We’re fascinated by the impact technology has already had on healthcare and will continue to have in the next decades. We’re just at the beginning of a revolution and it excites us to be working on something that tangibly improves the people’s lives.
Being confronted with fertility issues is challenging enough, and we believe that the diagnosis and treatment process should be made as seamless and efficient as possible.