Article | NEOSENS, a SensUs Startup
NEOSENS, a startup brought into life by three young innovators—Mateo Hamel, Marco Fumagalli, and Karim Zahra—aims to tackle a pressing global health concern head-on. In low and middle-income countries, an alarming 12% of newborns undergo unnecessary antibiotic treatment each year due to false sepsis diagnosis. In this interview with the founders, we explore their inspiring journey and groundbreaking solution to this critical issue, which finds its roots in the SensUs Competition.
Sepsis, a life-threatening condition triggered by an uncontrolled response to infection, poses a formidable challenge in healthcare. Quick and accurate diagnosis is of utmost importance, yet current laboratory techniques can take up to a week to yield results, exposing patients to enormous risks. Furthermore, sepsis is a complex condition involving multiple factors beyond the infectious agent itself, further complicating the diagnostic process.
The idea for starting NEOSENS started with participation in the SensUs Competition of 2022, where the trio, along with their team LAU’SENS from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne secured first place in the categories of analytical performance as well as translation potential. They not only demonstrated their talent but also shared their ambition to transform their biosensor prototype into a full-fledged startup.
Mateo Hamel, a French national from the picturesque Alps region. Mateo's expertise in computer vision and machine learning, coupled with his pursuit of a robotics major at ETH Zurich, fuels the startup's drive towards success. His commitment to leveraging technology for real-world challenges serves as a strong force behind the team's efforts.
Marco Fumagalli, from the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, complements the team's skill set with his background in biomedical engineering. Having completed his bachelor's degree in Zurich and pursued a master's program in life sciences engineering in Lausanne, Marco's dedication to enhancing healthcare outcomes, combined with his innovative thinking, brings an invaluable perspective to NEOSENS.
Completing this trio is Karim, an Egyptian who went to Switzerland in pursuit of higher education. With a bachelor's degree in microengineering and currently pursuing a master's degree in robotics with a minor in biomedical technologies, Karim's diverse skill set aligns seamlessly with NEOSENS' multi-disciplinary approach. His commitment to the cause and his connection to Egypt—the primary target market for NEOSENS—establishes him as a crucial asset within the team.
However, it was the bond and shared passion for biosensor technology and its potential impact on infants in low-income countries that led them towards their entrepreneurial venture. While the original team consisted of more members, Mateo, Karim, and Marco firmly believed that their collective knowledge, enthusiasm, and skill sets made them the perfect group to confront this critical global health concern head-on.
Propelled by the desire to transcend academic boundaries and create a visible impact, these three individuals embraced the entrepreneurial aspect of their venture. Their work on NEOSENS provided an extraordinary opportunity to engage in a project far more captivating and consequential than traditional coursework. With their complementary skill sets and dedication, they laid a rock-solid foundation for their startup.
As NEOSENS embarked on its trajectory, Mateo, Karim, and Marco showcased a unique blend of academic expertise, entrepreneurial sharpness, and a great sense of social responsibility. United by a shared vision to enhance the lives of newborns in low and middle-income countries, they catapulted NEOSENS to battle against unnecessary antibiotic treatment and false sepsis diagnosis.
The startup's remarkable journey reached unprecedented heights when they emerged victorious at the start-Lausanne competition, a testament to their groundbreaking approach and commitment to revolutionising newborn healthcare. This significant leap forward solidified their credibility, attracting attention from industry leaders and investors alike.
With NEOSENS, Mateo, Karim, and Marco have embarked not only on an entrepreneurial expedition but also on a mission to save lives. Their dedication to making a tangible impact in the lives of newborns in low and middle-income countries positions NEOSENS as an industry disruptor in the fight against sepsis. As they continue to refine their biosensor technology, the world awaits the day when unnecessary antibiotic treatment and false sepsis diagnoses become relics of the past, thanks to the pursuit of innovation and compassion by these extraordinary founders.