Diabetes Research Gets A Startup-like Boost in Lebanon

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Beirut-based UK Lebanon Tech Hub (UKLTH) will fund the development of Ediamond, a non-invasive blood glucose-monitoring device being developed at the American University of Beirut (AUB).

Ediamond is a wearable device that enables continuous glucose monitoring, UKLTH said in a statement, that is being developed by the university’s Maroun Semaan faculty of engineering and architecture and the faculty of medicine.

It helps patients check their glucose levels without pricking their finger with a needle.

With 15% of the world’s population suffering from diabetes, the device, which uses advanced electromagnetic theory, could make a difference to the lives of hundreds of millions of people, according to UK-Lebanon Tech Hub Chairman Nicolas Sehnaoui.

Sehnaoui said that this initiative will help it create a direct link with AUB, enabling the students to gain first-hand knowledge of life at a startup and enhance their entrepreneurial spirits.

The collaboration demonstrates UKLTH’s commitment to supporting applied research projects through the recently set up International Research Centre (IRC), according to a statement.

The IRC was set up to play a key role in boosting investment in RD in Lebanon and the wider MENA region, in particular by developing links between universities and entrepreneurs, it said.

One of the most efficient ways to do business is to have the initial ideas come out from the academic institutions, said AUB President Dr. Fadlo R Khuri, pointing to the intimate ties companies in Silicon Valley, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have with great universities.

UKLTH also recently launched The Nucleus, an accelerator program that is aimed at helping idea- and early-stage Lebanese startups build marketable products within three months.

The accelerator would give startups funding worth $50,000 in cash and mentoring services for up to 5% equity.

Besides offering free office space for startups, the UKLTH will offer advisory teams dedicated to focus on the startups’ business models, commercialization, legalities, and potential for investment

The startups can also avail the help of a tech team devoted to working hand-in-hand with early-stage firms to turn their ideas into a marketable product.

In addition, the accelerator will arrange product development workshops and training modules focused on business and technical needs.

Located in the Beirut Digital District, the hub was launched on in May 2015 as a partnership between the United Kingdom and the Lebanon’s Central Bank.

It is part of Central Bank’s Circular 331 initiative that is aimed at building scalable Lebanese startups.