Biologists, Doctors and Engineers seed 6 new startups into Peshawar’s Biomedical Cluster

The Precision Medicine Lab held a 3-day event around innovation in healthcare. Dubbed as PML Hacks, the event brought together young professionals from different disciplines to solve some of the most pressing problems that we face in the healthcare system today. These included doctors, engineers, data scientists, computer scientists, microbiologists and molecular biologists.

The hackathon began with an open mic session where each participants shared a pressing problem they have spotted or a solution they would like to offer. This was followed by a passionate discussion and a final voting mechanism was used to pick the six most exciting ideas. The participants then assembled into teams around these promising ideas which they were most passionate about and began to solve them over the span of the next two days. The teams also got some help from experts who led product design sprints as well as a business model development workshop, to explore how each solution could be made self-sustainable.

Final Startups

The following were the final startups:

  1. KaryoAlign: a machine-learning-enabled cytogenetics lab.
  2. EpiSensor: a wearable for helping patients predict epileptic episodes, improving their safety.
  3. Cuppy: a design overhaul for the urine sampling experience, bringing more safety and dignity.
  4. GlucoBuddy: a low-cost wearable for continuous glucose monitoring for the masses.
  5. CalKitna: a smart diet app for desi food, beginning with KP’s cuisine.
  6. Covidector: a biochemistry-based COVID19 strip test for the masses.

The event was sponsored by CECOS University and Rehman Medical institute, along with some funding from the Higher Education Commission. The most promising teams have been offered their first ’90 days’ cheque by Mr Shafique ur Rehman, CEO, RMI and Engr Sohaib Tanveer, VP, CECOS University, who were really keen on helping them prototype their idea.

‘The coolest thing was that each team could run down or go across the street and speak to a consultant or a patient and their family to validate a given idea’, said Shahram Khan, Community Lead at the Precision Medicine Lab. ‘This was a massive leap forward in terms of the development of their and it was all because of our location in a hospital’, he said.

‘The idea is to begin stitching together different pieces from different disciplines in the middle of where all the healthcare action is happening’ said Dr Faisal Khan, who leads the Precision Medicine Lab. ‘Phase V in Hayatabad has dozens of healthcare providers including some of the largest tertiary care hospitals in the province with hundreds of doctors and tens of thousands of patients visiting every single day. We want to leverage this for not only the rapidly prototyping solutions for local problems but also testing them here with doctors, and patients – the ultimate beneficiaries’.

‘I was deeply encouraged by their problem solving and analytical skills, and most importantly by their interest in working together with people from different backgrounds. We saw clinicians working with IT professionals, biologists and people from a variety of backgrounds to think about issues and develop solutions which frankly were very viable and realistic’, said Shafique ur Rehman, Chief Executive of Rehman Medical Institute.

‘The interesting thing was that all startups was created by the Precision Medicine Lab’s own team’, said Engr Sohaib Tanveer, Vice President of CECOS University. ‘This means they are not restricting themselves to the Lab only and are looking at different avenues and ways of impacting healthcare’, he said.

The Precision Medicine Lab is run jointly by CECOS University and Rehman Medical Institute and is an affiliate of the National Centre for Big Data and Cloud Computing which is a network of 11 research groups in the big data space funded by the Federal Government. The Lab is located at Rehman Medical Institute, in Phase V of Hayatabad, which is arguably the densest healthcare clusters in the country.