03:54 - Starting her first company in Syria
11:13 - First contact with Switzerland
16:12 - Explaining what biomarkers are
19:10 - How Rea Diagnostics helps determine pre-term birth symptoms
21:55 - Rea Diagnostic’s go-to-market process
Loulia Kassem is the co-founder and CEO of Rea Diagnostics, a medtech company that created a device to help pregnant women and their doctors monitor the risk of pre-term birth. Originally from Syria, she received a bachelor's degree from Arab International University in Pharmacy. After that, she started her first company at 21 in Damascus called BMP Pharm, which distributed essential medicines and nose sprays in Syrian hospitals. Unfortunately, the Syrian war meant that she could not continue her business, so Loulia chose to leave the country and pursue a master's abroad. She received a master's degree in pharmaceutical biotechnology from the University of Bologna and did her thesis through EPFL, which inspired her to move to Switzerland.
Loulia's entrepreneurial drive finds its roots in her family's legacy of entrepreneurship. Her father, in particular, was pivotal in nurturing her entrepreneurial spirit. This early exposure gave her the confidence to become an entrepreneur at such a young age, and instilled in her the belief that she could always be active and productive in making a positive difference in the world.
After moving to Switzerland and meeting her co-founder while completing her thesis, she knew it was the place she would call home and where she could start REA Diagnostics. REA Diagnostics has developed a unique approach to address pre-term birth, detecting specific biomarkers in a woman's body during pregnancy. These biomarkers are proteins that can indicate the likelihood of pre-term birth. Traditionally, biomarker testing required invasive procedures, often administered in a hospital setting, limiting accessibility and convenience. REA Diagnostics is committed to making these diagnostic tests accessible from the comfort of a woman's home.
By giving women the means to monitor their pregnancy health quickly and precisely, REA Diagnostics' product acts as a crucial red flag, alerting patients and doctors to potential risks. This early detection can significantly increase the chances of a safe and healthy pregnancy, ultimately leading to a brighter future for mothers and their newborns. They are still in the process of being approved to perform clinical trials and testing the device. However, they hope to get it to market as soon as possible and into pharmacies and hospitals all over Switzerland and beyond.
“It’s very rewarding to create something from scratch, especially something that has the potential to change people’s lives.”
“People don’t talk about how difficult it is to have a pre-term birth. If the child survives, they have life-long complications, and even one extra day in the womb can cause a host of issues if the patient is unaware.