Nawah Scientific gets US-FDA approval for food analysis, hints Nigeria & South Africa expansion

Following its US-FDA accreditation for food analysis, Egyptian healthtech startup, Nawah Scientific plans to expand into Nigeria and South Africa.

Nawah Scientific gets US-FDA approval for food analysis, hints Nigeria & South Africa expansion
Nawah Scientific

While often overlooked, ensuring food safety is crucial to Africa's pursuit of food and nutritional security.

Globally, unsafe food leads to 600 million cases of foodborne diseases and 420,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Children under five years old account for 30% of foodborne deaths. The WHO estimates that globally, 33 million healthy life years are lost annually due to the consumption of unsafe food, though this figure is likely underestimated.

Recently, Nawah Scientific, an Egyptian cloud lab for on-demand scientific services, received accreditation from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) for food analysis and safety through the Laboratory Accreditation for Analyses of Foods Program.

“Accreditation reduces costs by half and accelerates analysis time by nine-tenths for Egyptian exports which need sample analysis abroad,” says Omar Sakr, founder and CEO of Nawah Scientific.

The accreditation also provides the biotech startup with the opportunity to collaborate with international organizations such as the United Nations World Food Programme. According to Sakr, Nawah Scientific plans to expand into Nigeria and South Africa in the coming months.

The startup will require approval from local regulators in both countries; the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control in Nigeria, and South Africa's Food Control.

“The government supports the expansion of Egyptian startups regionally and globally,” says Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt's Minister of International Cooperation.

Launched in 2015, Nawah Scientific provides researchers and companies with the latest scientific capabilities through an online platform, enabling them to conduct complex laboratory tests remotely.

So far, Nawah Scientific has examined over 400,000 samples across 12 countries, experiencing an average annual growth rate of 250%. Presently, the company boasts a team of over 100 researchers dedicated to advancing scientific research in universities and industrial sectors.

Nawah is an Arabic word that means nucleus.

Since its launch, the biotech has secured $2.5 million through three successive funding rounds—pre-seed, seed, and pre-Series A—and is currently seeking to raise $10 million in its upcoming Series A round. Sakr admits that fundraising remains a challenge: a I can tell you how many funds I’ve pitched to and the response is more or less the same: ‘Omar, we love what you’re doing, but we don’t have a company to benchmark you on, so we don’t actually know if you’re doing a good job or a bad job.’”

However, Nawah Scientific remains resilient in its mission to build a “nucleus for biotech research in Africa”.

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