8 Apr 24

Five start-ups empowering health for everyone, everywhere


Everyone, everywhere has the right to access quality health services, safe drinking water, clean air and good nutrition, and at least 140 countries across the globe recognise health as a constitutional right.

Despite this, more than half of the world’s 8 billion population was not fully covered by essential health services in 2021, whilst persisting climate emergencies and agricultural instability threaten people’s ability to enjoy the essentials for a healthy lifestyle.

World Health Day serves as a reminder of the importance of democratising health to protect and facilitate everyone’s most basic rights –a mission that all our member companies can stand behind.

Meet Ensilitech, Glaia, Transdermal Diagnostics, Pictura Bio and Kuano, five Science Creates start-ups developing and delivering groundbreaking technologies across vaccine preservation, food production, diagnostics, and drug design to champion equal access to healthy lifestyles for all because your health is your right.


Ensilitech is pioneering an innovative technology to solve a critical challenge in global healthcare: over 50% of vaccines are wasted worldwide due to failures in maintaining the cold chain during transport and storage. This limits access to life-saving treatments, especially in regions lacking the infrastructure for cold storage.

The company’s solution is ensilication –a technology that creates a protective silica nanoshell to protect delicate biological components from degradation and spoilage in the absence of cold storage and transport. With this versatile technique, vaccines and other delicate biologicals such as therapeutic antibodies or enzymes remain stable and effective without depending on cold chain logistics.

Ensilitech’s technology can increase the shelf-life of essential medicines and make life-saving treatments available to a wider population, regardless of geographic and economic barriers.


In the sphere of sustainable food production is Glaia, a company working to bring food and environmental security to all –and, in turn, improve global health. Glaia’s target is photosynthesis, the most important process in plant and crop growth –and one of the most inefficient ones, too.

Using revolutionary synthetic carbon nanomaterials that work at the cellular level, Glaia’s technology unlocks the potential of photosynthesis to convert more natural energy from the sun into biomass. No changes to the existing processes are needed, which leads to improved crop yields without compromising quality, and CO2 reductions for the planet.

Having boosted the yields of crops like strawberries by up to 20%, the company is now continuing to develop its products to eventually target staple food crops such as cereals, wheat and soy.

Transdermal Diagnostics

Amongst the biggest global health challenges is diabetes –a disease affecting approximately 1 in 10 adults worldwide and that is more prevalent in low- and middle-income countries, where 3 out of 4 people with diabetes reside.

With rising prevalence numbers year on year, diabetes doesn’t only affect individual health –it also has profound implications for healthcare systems and economies, with millions of deaths annually attributed to diabetes and its complications.

Transdermal Diagnostics is developing an entirely needle-free continuous glucose monitor to improve the prevention, diagnosis and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes. Its affordable skin patch uses a non-invasive technique to draw out biological substances through individual hair follicles and communicate with a smartphone app through a rechargeable transmitter, making remote health monitoring accessible to all.


Identifying the pathogens that cause disease is often a slow process. It requires taking patient samples, sending them off for lab analysis and returning results to doctors to recommend a treatment.

Point-of-care diagnostics could revolutionise healthcare by enhancing the precision and speed of pathogen identification and allowing practitioners to prescribe the most effective treatment right then and there -improving treatment efficacy and patient outcomes whilst lowering waiting times, costs and the antimicrobial resistance risk posed by the overprescription of antibiotics.

Pictura Bio‘s technology, a world-first universal diagnostic platform, uses a fluorescent coating that sticks to living organisms and most viruses on a patient sample, creating a distinctive profile for each pathogen. Computer vision and machine learning are then used to analyse the coated sample, comparing against an AI-trained database, to identify exactly which pathogens are present in only seconds.


Traditional drug discovery is a slow and costly process– often taking billions of dollars and over a decade per drug. Due to lack of profitability for pharmaceutical companies, rare diseases and diseases affecting low-income regions are often under-researched.

Quantum computing and AI can be integrated into drug discovery to dramatically reduce discovery times and costs and enhance drug design precision –leading to cheaper treatments for healthcare systems, more effective drugs with fewer side effects and huge opportunities for personalised medicine.

Kuano uses quantum simulations to exploit ‘transition states’ in enzyme reactions –during which highly specific binding sites between the enzyme and the reactants are created– using them as templates to design more effective drugs. Their detailed simulations of enzymes allow them to uncover unique profiles and target them individually with the right drug candidates quickly, using a suite of AI tools, enabling faster development of better drug candidates.

Health is a human right that requires more than constitutions to be championed and protected – it needs systems, practices and technology to support discrimination-free service provision and enhance our collective quality of life.

With the right support, deep tech start-ups have the potential to disrupt markets and deliver innovative global solutions that empower and enable resilient health, food and energy systems for everyone, everywhere.

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