Teemu Suna and his company Nightingale Health want to help stop the more than 15.5 million deaths from heart disease each year. Their solution? Focusing on testing and prevention.
With a background in scientific research, the team has developed a more efficient blood screening technology. Their pitch? Nightingale Health says their screening is low cost and three times more accurate than current clinical tools at detecting early heart disease and diabetes.
Teemu and Nightingale Health joined us as Solver teams after making this pitch at Solve at the United Nations in March.
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TEEMU SUNA’S STORY:
Q: Tell us your story: How did you first become interested in the work you do?
I believe the world’s biggest problems can only be solved by doing. If you believe you have the ambition and vision needed to make a change, it is best to start doing things yourself today. If your vision cannot be achieved within a large corporation, the best thing to do is to start your own business. At Nightingale, we are working every day to bring preventive medicine in chronic diseases to everyone. It’s about finding solutions to the world’s biggest health problem, and that is what keeps us striving forward.
Q: Did you have a turning point moment that inspired you to think differently about your work?
I used to believe that big changes were only made in big corporations, as they often have the necessary resources. However, the turning point for me was realizing that every great story starts from the beginning. Having the ambition, courage, and determination to start something new doesn’t necessarily come with money. Failing fast and beginning again breeds success. Money is just a tool, not the driver, to making things happen.
Q: Tell us about your background—professionally, personally, or as a team.
Personally, I have 15 years of experience in information technology. I have a master’s degree in industrial engineering and management. And, I have conducted research in computational medicine. Nightingale is my second startup as co-founder! Our team is a strong mix of experts in computational medicine, healthcare IT, and business. But above all, they are people who are inspired to make a global impact, push the boundaries of science, and shape the future of medicine. And, they are people who want to commit to something bigger than themselves.
SOLUTION TEAM: NIGHTINGALE HEALTH
Q: What is the problem you’re trying to solve?
When we look at global healthcare today, we are not actually delivering healthcare but rather sick-care. For chronic diseases, the world’s number one health problem, there is not a very productive approach to early-prediction of diseases. Medical doctors have limited tools to support patients with high risk, and, until now, we have been implementing global solutions for local problems.
Q: How are you trying to solve it?
Instead of treating sickness, Nightingale Health will provide early disease prediction for healthy people. We do this by bringing extensive biological data to routine healthcare. Our approach helps evaluate early risks for a variety of diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We will also help people make life-defining choices by understanding the impact of interventions at a molecular level. This brings new tools for medical doctors and motivates individuals for better health outcomes.
Q: What is unique about your solution?
Our analysis technology provides 228 blood biomarkers from a single sample while costing the same as a current cholesterol test. The technology is backed up by peer-reviewed science: there are over 100 scientific articles applying our method and showing the relevance of our extensive biomarker panel for chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Q: Tell us a story! Who will your solution impact?
According to research, over 70 percent of people who have suffered a heart attack have normal cholesterol values. With our blood analysis, we enable preventive medicine for key chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The detailed molecular level insight to the disease risk equips medical doctors with better tools to motivate patients and enables patients to understand how to improve their metabolic health. The vast amount of routinely measured biological data also enables tailoring healthcare for different ethnicities—our aim is to make healthcare global by providing local solutions for local problems. One size does not fit all.
BECOMING A SOLVER:
Q: What do you think the Solve community can uniquely bring to solving your challenge?
No one transforms the burden of chronic diseases alone. Through the Solve community, we are looking to connect with world leading parties that share our vision of preventive medicine for everyone, and the passion to make things happen.
Q: What’s the challenge that you think Solve should take on next?
I believe the three main challenges in the world are: healthcare, sustainable food, and clean energy. I believe the future Solve challenges should be around these themes as they all require immediate improvements, disruptive innovations, and concrete impact.