Research says that counterfeit drugs are the cause of 1 million deaths per year. One tenth of this number comes from Africa. Counterfeiting is difficult to detect, investigate, quantify or prevent. It is a global problem, with annual revenues from substandard drugs exceeding $100 billion.
Some technologies have helped in tackling this menace; For example, radio frequency identification, which works by assigning serial numbers to each product’s containers. More modern approaches are being adopted these days, which is the case of RxAll, a startup using deep technology to provide quality medicine to patients.. Today, the US and Nigerian-based company is announcing a $3.15 million funding round to expand into existing markets and improve its technology..
rxal Was established By Adebayo Alonge, Amy Cao and Wei Lui in 2016. As students at Yale University, the three came together as a whole solve a problem they encountered, either personally of or relating to a loved one.
In 2006, Along became a victim of counterfeit drugs and nearly died after taking a drug containing lethal levels of diazepam.. He went into a coma for three weeks.
“I survived a 21-day coma in Nigeria 15 years ago. My co-founder, Amy, was hospitalized After taking counterfeit medicine in Thailand. And Wei lost a family member to contaminated drugs,” Along told ClearTips over a call.
Based on an R&D project in the college’s Department of Chemistry, Elong, Cao and Louie began analyzing how to use machine learning and molecular spectroscopy for drug quality and content and quality assurance.. The big idea was to first address the problem of poor access to high quality medicine across Africa by creating a marketplace to certify the sale of safe and reputable pharmaceuticals..
“After going through that, the information there further confirmed that what we experienced was not a one-time situation.. This is an ongoing problem; Every year 100,000 Africans die from this problem. One million people die worldwide from this problem,” continued CEO Along.
Its proprietary technology, RxScanner, is a handheld authentication designed for patients to verify their medications. According to the company, RxScanner can identify the quality of prescription drugs in 20 seconds and display the results in real time through a mobile app.
RxAll curates and provides RxScanner to the high quality vendors in their marketplace. Machine learning model reads sample spectra and sends test results indicating identity and quality versus context. seller can can be found by using filters, and oOnce the batch testing is done, the seller can push the product to the market and also make it available for on-demand ordering, pick-up and delivery..
The company earns money through commission through transactions done on the Marketplace. It also employs a subscription model with RxScanner for personal and business customers.
Despite the company’s innovation, funding has been few and far between, with many deep tech platforms with a significant focus on Africa. this is mainly Because of the long cycle from research to commercialization of such ventures, most VCs will instead join the later stages of the company.. So far, RxAll has survived by winning grants and prize money in competitions, with some equity funding from the likes of the Africa-focused accelerator Founders Factory Africa..
Along sees RXAL as a leader in the world of deep technology blended with health technology. He believes there is no direct competition with how RxScanner works, at least for the time being.
“According to Pharmaceutical e-commerce, yes it’s a different ballgame. According to Drug testing, the only other solution, are laboratory equipment, and they can be expensive. But the space we play in, the application sector, the price point, the way we are using deep learning about it and mobile phones, has no comparison,” said the CEO.
howeverTechnological edge alone does not sell products or run businesses. According to Along, with RxAll, the key to scaling up its technology is to make its products affordable to market, regardless of cost. This is a challenge the company is taking steps to address In addition to this To make it easier for investors to understand its technology.
RxAll describes itself as a company playing in a global market. but as highlighted before this, a large portion of its customers and revenues come from Africa, especially Nigeria. It is currently serving ten cities and is active Validating the authenticity of medicines for 1 million patients serving over 2,000 hospitals and pharmacies in the West African nation. The company plans to add an additional 14 cities before the end of this year, with a pan-African Games starting next year.
This financing round is an amalgamation of the recently closed $2 million seed round (with $2.25 million oversubscribed) and the $900,000 pre-seed at the tail end of last year.. Launch Africa led the round with participation from SOSV’s HAX and Keisuke Honda through its KSK Fund.
Speaking on the round, Zakaria George, Managing Partner at Launch Africa Ventures said, “Launch Africa Ventures” is excited To co-lead this round of financing as a strong, experienced team at RxAll. we believe That RxAll is leading the drug delivery platform in Africa to bridge a large gap in access to quality healthcare by enabling pharmacies and patients to buy certified medicines online.. ability to achieve favorable unit economics and Different Revenue flow by leveraging anti-counterfeiting mobile spectrometer technology, the entire drug delivery supply chain and owning your own payment wallet, provides massive growth and scaling opportunities across Africa and beyond.“
Duncan Turner, General Partner of SOSV and Managing Director of HAX, said, “We have been incredibly Impressed by RxAll’s ability to grow and meet customer demand. In In college Over the past year, the team has brought together world-class hard-working technology and operational excellence to solve pressing issues for over a million Nigerians, and we couldn’t be more excited than their vision for the broader pharmaceutical market .“
So what’s next for RxAll? Alonge said the company’s next focus is on partnerships. According to him, they will be integral in RxAll’s effort to grow its market and scanners in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.
“Aside from hospitals, pharmacies and patients, we also sell to governments and country FDAs on the scanner side of things. That’s why we want to secure important partnerships globally, not In college in Nigeria, but throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, North America and South America. Those are the key markets that we want to see in a big way. “