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EIT Health supported Italian start-up aims to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from rare diseases

6th April 2022

In just two years, Kazaam Lab has managed to turn its idea into a promising product that could enhance the quality of life of patients suffering from rare diseases. The guided support of EIT Health was the springboard to the success of the Palermo-based start-up.

There are around 400 million people around the globe who are affected by rare diseases. These patients may look similar from the outside but are characterised by various health features. This is why it is so hard to find the right treatment for them. When general treatment methods are applied, it only works in 20 per cent of the cases. This represents a big challenge not only to those affected but also to healthcare professionals.

Kazaam Lab aims to offer a solution to this pressing societal problem. The Palermo-based start-up wants to provide support for healthcare professionals in making difficult decisions, such as choosing the most suitable therapy for individuals affected by a severe disease. These kinds of digital solutions can fill the gap between data and Precision Medicine by using Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. As Simona Rombo, one of the founders of Kazaam Lab, explained in EIT Health InnoStars’ podcast, Healthcare Hackers, “success in precision medicine depends on accessing high-quality genetic and molecular data, that in conjunction with comprehensive clinical data, can lead to more effective therapies”.

„This way, better therapies can be designed for a category of patients, which may result in an improved quality of life and a decreased risk of side effects – explained Rombo, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Palermo. As she pointed out, omics data is available on public databases but it is extremely difficult for healthcare professionals to extract useful information from it because the volumes are enormous and the data is very heterogeneous. That is why Kazaam Lab’s solutions, which simplify decision-making, can be a game-changer for doctors and scientists.

No wonder Kazaam Lab – which is in the process of getting a patent for its invention – has raised curiosity in the United States, China, Germany and UK, and most recently, it has been awarded the „Get it Prize!”, along with an investment of 50,000 EUR by the Giordano Dell’Amore Social Venture Foundation. EIT Health has been the springboard in the success story of Kazaam Lab, which won the EIT Health RIS Innovation Call in 2020 (hyperlink) (obtaining a 75,000 EUR prize) and participated in other EIT Health acceleration programmes.

„The EIT Health network was very important for our path because it allowed us to get in touch with their circuit of stakeholders. Furthermore, the one-to-one meetings with clinical institutes and large pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Roche, have also been extremely valuable experiences,”said Simona Rombo to a local TV channel, also showing gratitude towards the local EIT Health Hub, operating within the Regional innovation Scheme – Consorzio Arca.

Achievements such as Kazaam Lab represent the best feedback for EIT Health InnoStars. It proves that the guided support start-ups receive from us at an early-stage is beneficial for them in the path of developing important healthcare solutions. In many cases, EIT Health is the first step in their journey to grow from the lab to the market.

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