Inauthentic drugs or the counterfeit drugs pose as a threat to the health of patients. According to estimation by the World Health Organization, around 16% of the counterfeit drugs contain the wrong ingredients. Such drugs can be a serious threat to the health.
Founded by Amy Kao, RxAll is a platform that 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. In this interview with The Enterprise World, Amy Kao tells us more about RxAll.
Tell us about the company.
RxAll is a drug quality authentication deep-learning IoT and authenticated drug delivery Platform solving the problem of fake and substandard drugs globally.
Our drug quality checking platform called the RxScanner is used by country FDA, Big Pharma, hospitals and pharmacies to confirm the quality of medicines before they are dispensed to patients. Through the RxScanner platform we build a customized database of drug spectral signatures for Big Pharma. We enable them and their brand security vendors carry out real time testing of drug quality on the field. Big Pharma gets real time information about drug quality and can immediately see and respond in real time to locations where brand counterfeiting is taking place.
The RxScanner platform allows Big Pharma enable their patients test medicines and also see the provenance of the drug. This provides real time data about patients to Big Pharma enabling them to interact with their patients as well as get feedback including on adverse drug effects.
The RxScanner platform allows Big Pharma enable their patients test medicines and also see the provenance of the drug.
Our drug delivery platform called RxDelivered delivers authenticated medicines and medical commodities (authenticated using our RxScanner) from pharma manufacturers, importers and wholesalers to pharmacies, hospitals and patients. RxDelivered enables doctors issue prescriptions to patients directly through the platform and we provide deliveries to the patients.
With over 6000 platform visits weekly, more than 500 transactions weekly and serving 200 pharmacies and hospitals and thousands of patients in West Africa using our platform, we provide big data to Big Pharma about who is buying their products and where they are located.
The Big Data generated enables Big Pharma to target ads specifically to buyers of their brands. We also help with deliveries reducing the cost to Big Pharma of servicing their clients. We are headquartered in the USA with subsidiaries in Nigeria, Kenya and China.
What were the initial challenges you faced?
Our earliest challenge was validating our proof of concept and assessing market need. We needed to ensure that our technology achieved maximum detection accuracy, that our technology was accurate, and that our hardware received proper certifications. It was challenging in the sense that it was time consuming in the beginning to get everything set up, but we needed the POC to convince investors that we had a viable business idea.
Which was that point that triggered the growth of the company?
Winning the Grand prize award of 100,000 euros at the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge in Paris was a huge opportunity that put us on the world map. We were selected as the grand prize winner out of 4500 start-ups from over 119 countries so it was definitely validation from the world that helped us build credibility and brought global awareness on the issue of counterfeit medicine. It was a notable milestone that fuelled our company’s growth.
How have the company graphs changed since the foundation? Can you share a few statistics? (You can share the charts/graphs here).
In the wake of covid-19, we launched our newest product: RxDelivered. Since our launch of RxDelivered only 2 months ago, we’ve seen incredible traction. We currently serve 500+ hospitals and pharmacies, covering two thousand medical professionals and enabling deliveries for 250K+ patients. With this pivot to an authenticated drugs delivery marketplace, our company’s growth has accelerated to ~150% QoQ for 2 straight quarters.
What is the reason behind your company’s long-standing success?
It’s a combination of the founders’ grit and interest around industry and space we’re operating in. We are solving a global health problem that kills 1 million people globally with innovative tech.
What are the products/services the company focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
We have 2 main products: RxScanner and RxDeliver:
- 10x cheaper than existing counterfeit detection solutions 5x more portable than existing counterfeit detection solutions Identifies incoming raw materials and finished drugs
- Allows for non-destructive drug identification Identifies drugs through packaging materials including but not limited to blister plastic, alu-alu foils, glass
- Results delivered instantly in 20 secs. to smartphone
- Control centers can see all scans in real time allowing for analytics and real time monitoring
- Scans recorded on blockchain enable tracking of quality through the supply chain
- Data maps provide real time info about where bad drugs are showing up and from whom allowing for quick intervention and product recalls
- AI enables high accuracy, sensitivity and specificity as per national standards
- No need for field based updates as AI updates software and algorithms in cloud
- New materials can be added in <1 week
THE RXDELIVERED PLATFORM
- Big Data on who is prescribing, buying and using your brands including bio-data, location, purchase size and transaction frequency
- Ad Display and Keyword targeting to bring your message in front of those who are looking for your brands
- Real-Time chat messaging interface with SMS & WhatsApp integration enabling interaction in real time with doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and patients looking to engage with you
- Deliveries to Big Pharma customers directly eliminating logistics costs
- Disintermediating middle-men, reducing product costs, eliminating product quality interference and assuring brand reputation protection with patients
How do you decide to take the company a step further in terms of your products/services?
We adapt to the needs of our customers. At the end of the day, we listen to our customers and want to build a product that fulfils their need. Amidst covid, the need of customer all of a sudden became real-time and contactless delivery of authentic medicines. So that’s what we did. We put our customers’ needs first and pivoted our business to RxDelivered. Because we listened to our customers, our growth has been soaring 150% QoQ.
Is there any new addition to the list of products/services? Anything exciting you would like to share?
In the past, we’ve really focused primarily on RxScanner, but in the wake of covid-19, we launched RxDelivered and within three months of operation, we’ve already seen significant traction on our platform. We’re very excited to see the growth of our products and services and look forward to delivering on our mission on ensuring that every individual has access to safe, quality medicines.
What do you think are the responsibilities of an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs have a wide variety of roles and responsibilities, but I think the three main categories are: 1) Visionary: Setting the vision and mission of the company (product or service) and dreaming big or crazy enough to want to turn that vision into reality; 2) Storyteller: Telling the story and selling vision of the company; 3) Management/Execution: Everything to do with organizing and operating the business
Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
After graduating with a Bachelors of Science degree from Carnegie Mellon University, I worked at Deloitte Consulting in the Strategy and Operations group for 3 years. My industry focus was on pharmaceutical company and life sciences companies and I worked on many strategy cases in New York, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. I then went to pursue my MBA at Yale University, where I interned at Google’s Enterprise Asia team in Singapore. It was also awesome learning opportunity and really set the foundation for developing the pharma / tech skill set needed to start RxAll.
What are the key achievements of your entrepreneurial journey?
For me, the biggest achievement of my entrepreneurial journey is not an award or accolade received. Rather, I think it’s my positive personality. As an entrepreneur, I have failed and been rejected more times than I can remember. I have been told by people that my product is not viable or that this is a business that would never work However, throughout the years I have trusted myself and developed a grit and tenacity to keep going despite the voices around me. Because I never gave up, I think that’s one of the main reasons for RxAll’s success.
How do you look after your employees? What makes your team unique?
The way I work with everyone at RxAll is simple: I treat all team members with kindness and respect. The culture is flat and we are very collaborative.
Is there any special experience with your clients you would like to highlight?
One of my most vivid memories to date is working with a customer in Southeast Asia and showing her how to use the product. She was the manager of her own pharmacy and her business was getting negatively impacted by counterfeit drugs infiltrating the supply chain. After showing her how to use RxAll’s products, she immediately became emotional and gave me a hug and told me how grateful she was for our product because it would help her business recover, but more importantly – it could potentially help to save the lives of her patients. That’s when I knew that what I was going was directly impacting another person’s life.
Constant vigilance- a need or a strategy? Please share your views.
Both. You need constant vigilance in order to strategize for the future.
It’s a rat-race out there. How do you cope with that?
Life may seem like a rat-race with others, but the real competition is with yourself. When you compete with others, you will evaluate your performance against the goals or metrics that are important to other people. But if you “win,” you’re really only winning against what another person has deemed valuable or worthy…not what matters to you. So whenever I find myself comparing myself to others, I shift my mindset and remind myself that the real journey is really against myself and the goals, values, and metrics that I set for me – not anyone else.