Adebayo Alonge, a Nigerian pharmacist, is combating Africa’s counterfeit drugs with artificial intelligence. The CEO and co-founder of RxAll, an AI-hyperspectral platform for authenticating drugs, developed a handheld nano-scanner called ‘RxScanner’ that detects fake drugs in real time.
Alonge was moved to create the nano scanner after a fake drug almost killed him.
“I was on life support after using Ventolin tablet, 4 milligrams. The drug was found not to contain any active ingredient, this experience was what inspired RxAll. I almost died from a fake drug and I knew so many people are dying every year from fake drugs. I knew if I solve this problem I am saving the lives of millions of people. It wasn’t about money. It wasn’t about fame,” he said in an interview.
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Last year, Alonge competed against 4,500 candidates from 119 nations across the globe 80 finalists in the 2019 Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge which took place in Paris in March.
With his life-changing invention, Alonge emerged as the winner, becoming the first African to win the contest with €100,000 ($113,000) prize awarded by BNP Paribas.
[#BNPPEvent] When #deeptech finds its way to a #safer future: Today, half of drugs in Africa are fake drugs. But tomorrow, thanks to @RxAll_Inc & @adebayoalonge, handheld nanoscanners can ensure drug quality in real time! They won BNP Paribas Grand Prize at @hellotmrc: € 100K 👏 pic.twitter.com/uSnhnrCLVp— BNP Paribas Group (@BNPParibas) March 19, 2019
During his acceptance speech, Alonge said: “I have a science background, and after surviving that trauma, my goal with science… is to make sure that nobody has to go through the traumatic experience I had”.
RxAll was founded in 2017 and the company “uses a proprietary molecular sensor device with a cloud-based IP-protected deep learning algorithm and database of spectral signatures of drugs- both prescription and recreational- to carry out non-destructive drug authentication.”
The company says it works with drug regulators and other stakeholders to reduce branded drug counterfeiting and ensure that patients receive high quality authenticated drugs. Pharma manufacturers increase sales and patients have better access to high-quality drugs, it says.
RxAll is currently operational in the USA, Canada, China, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria but it is also expanding its business in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Americas.
It has a drug delivery platform called “RxDelivered” that enables hospitals, pharmacies and patients to order high quality and authenticated drugs for home/office delivery from its wholesale network within one hour.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently commended Alonge for his AI invention.
FLASH | @adebayoalonge, Nigerian pharmacist and co-founder @RxAll_inc, who co-developed an AI that detests fake and contaminated drugs in 15 seconds, for pharmacies in Ibadan and cities in Africa, receives accolades from President @JustinTrudeau pic.twitter.com/cTpyU3Rz3c— SIGNAL (@thesignalng) July 5, 2020
Alonge is not just a pharmacist. He is also a market development professional with a business degree from Yale. He has 10+years in market development and strategy consulting across Africa working with BCG, BASF, Roche and Sanofi.
Alonge says he is a passionate African who is interested in using technology, especially deep tech, which is the interception of science and programming, to solve social problems in Africa, and in the rest of the developing world.
“My focus is to reduce the gap, and provide opportunities for those who don’t have the privilege, and I believe that technology is the solution to enabling this sort of reduction of inequality in the society.”
Watch the RxScanner in use: