Olive Diagnostics |

Start-Up Nation Meets Urine-Nation

Olive Diagnostics’ scientific achievement epitomizes the spirit of the Start-Up Nation: it is the story of a personal mission and obstinate determination, mixed with a dash of Israeli chutzpah, resulting in a revolutionary yet simple technology to monitor physiological indicators and improve human health

Rebecca Kopans
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From left Dr. Yaniv Oiknine, CEO Guy Goldman and Dr. Ofer Melamed. Photo Olive Diagnostics
From left Dr. Yaniv Oiknine, CEO Guy Goldman and Dr. Ofer Melamed. Photo Olive Diagnostics
Rebecca Kopans
Promoted Content

When Guy Goldman’s mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, he was struck by the fact that there was no technology available that could systematically monitor her health indicators without interfering with her daily routine. Goldman decided to step up to the challenge: “For me it was a personal problem that needed to be solved,” he says.

Refusing to take no for an answer, Goldman’s quest led him to establish Olive Diagnostics in 2019. After two years of intensive research, the company patented its novel approach to spectroscopy and was ready to conduct clinical trials. The innovative Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) device functions as a continuous urinalysis capable of detecting different types of molecules. It can be easily mounted on any toilet, where it unobtrusively monitors people’s health biomarkers. The system’s efficacy has already been demonstrated and the invention is now on the way to receiving CE and FDA approvals.

Groundbreaking research

Olive Diagnostics succeeded in developing the capability of sampling at speeds of up to 500,000 times per second, enabling a new approach to spectroscopy. In essence, spectroscopy involves the splitting of light into its constituent wavelengths – which is usually very expensive and requires special optical equipment. Goldman and his team developed a technology that compares the amount entering each drop with that exiting the same drop. Conventional spectrometers (machines that do spectroscopy) are extremely sensitive to noise, which is why very large machines were required in order to cancel out noise disturbances.

The KG device constantly monitors health biomarkersCredit: Olive Diagnostics

“I talked to every optics expert in Israel, and they all threw me out of their offices because my idea involved too much noise. We had to create a whole new science that could overcome the noise problem,” says Goldman, who is the CEO of Olive Diagnostics.

In January 2020, Goldman set out to solve this scientific challenge along with two scientists: Dr. Ofer Melamed, a multidisciplinary neuroscientist from the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Dr. Yaniv Oiknine, a spectroscopy expert with a PhD from Ben-Gurion University. Dr. Melamed describes their groundbreaking research: “We developed an innovative mathematical way to describe light rays that pass through a drop. We are able to describe the physical phenomenon so well that we can apply it even to the tiniest drops. If the ray meets a molecule, we can know which molecule it met.”

From the start, they decided to use urine as a way to monitor health indices. “It was obvious to me. The technology had to be something my Mom would have used; it had to be passive and simple. We designed it with a 74-year old woman in mind,” Goldman notes. The device is named KG in honor of his late mother, Karen Goldman, and its initial target market is the remote monitoring of elderly people.

The product that they designed using the new spectroscopy technology is indeed very simple to use. A toilet seat booster is mounted on the toilet and is cleaned in the same way a person cleans their toilet. The battery needs to be charged only once every three months. The device is not expensive and is easy to assemble. If more than one person uses the same toilet, the system can identify who is urinating and can therefore monitor several people in a given household.

Successful clinical trials

The KG device is able to detect even the most minute changes in a person’s baseline urine profile, in which case it alerts caregivers to the possible need for medical attention. For now, the system can identify changes in albumen, nitrate, red blood cells, pH levels, SG (solids-to-waste ratio), volume, pressure, color and frequency. These biomarkers reveal a variety of medical conditions, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, dehydration, heart failure, constipation and even certain types of cancer.

Olive Diagnostics' technology sends notifications to users and caregivers in real timeCredit: Olive Diagnostics

The recent clinical trial at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem was conducted by TechnoSTAT Clinical Services, an international clinical trial management and monitoring company. The clinical trial was designed to test the system's ability to detect protein in urine in more than 900 samples. The results were unequivocal, clearly demonstrating that the device works well: its sensitivity rating for continuous urinalysis urine sample is 98.7% and its specificity rating is 100%. Sensitivity refers to the system identifying a specific molecule in the sample, and this molecule indeed exists in the sample. Specificity is when the system claims that a specific molecule does not exist in the sample, and that material really does not exist in the sample.

These results are far more precise than urine sticks – considered the ‘gold standard’ of urinalysis – which have a sensitivity rating of only 80% and a specificity rating of 95%. TechnoSTAT performed third-party validation on its models.

The company has also completed its ISO 13485 certification, a critical milestone necessary for CE certification, which will enable Olive Diagnostics to commercialize its technology and commence sales in the European Union. The device is also in the FDA pre-submission phase for the United States.

The sky is the limit

There are already over 100 KG devices in use in a pilot program, producing around 30,000 measurements a month. The company is in the process of installing hundreds more in assisted living and homecare facilities in Holland, and another large-scale pilot will soon be launched in Israel. “I believe that within five years, our system will be in every home, office and gym,” Goldman predicts, adding that the company is constantly expanding the portfolio of biomarkers that the system can detect.

In addition to passively monitoring the health of elderly people and capturing diseases at the outset, the KG will also be very beneficial for athletes and, indeed, for anyone concerned about their wellness or nutrition. The law enforcement industry is another important future market because the system is capable of identifying when people have used illegal drugs or alcohol.

Since the device is composed of fairly inexpensive components, CEO Goldman says that once the KG will be mass produced, there is no reason for cost to be an inhibitor. The retail price will be around $100, and clients will also pay a monthly fee of approximately $10-15 for the data processing services.

Following CE and FDA certification, the sky will be the limit: caregivers will be notified if Grandma didn’t drink enough; pregnant women will be immediately notified of the risk of preeclampsia or if they need to take vitamin supplements; athletes can monitor the intensity of a workout, as well as being alerted in real time to the fact that they must change their nutrition; and people all over the world will receive early warnings about diseases such as cancer, which they will then be able to treat in time.

How it works

The KG device developed by Olive Diagnostics to monitor biomarkers in urine was achieved during residency at eHealth Ventures in Modi’in, a digital health incubator supported by the Israel Innovation Authority and other investors. The concept is actually quite simple: light enters the drop and jumps around from one molecule to the next, using up quantum-sized energy. By modeling the level change in the quantum energy, the different molecules can be precisely identified.

“Molecules affect one another, and that is how we can identify a molecule at a tiny concentration. We are capable of seeing differences between proteins, which was very difficult to do until now,” explains Dr. Ofer Melamed, who led the scientific research together with Dr. Yaniv Oiknine. “Since it’s difficult to measure a drop, we developed a simulation of a drop whose dimensions can be enlarged or shrunk. We also designed a virtual simulation that enables us to identify drops in space and target them,” he elaborates.

Using Artificial Intelligence, the research team assembled a bank of molecule patterns and the system learned how each molecule affects the light rays. This is similar to the way facial recognition technology works.

Since changes in one’s health affect the composition of one’s urine, the KG system is able to alert people about these changes, so that they can seek medical attention. Diseases can be detected at a much earlier stage than through traditional testing options – which are not continuous and are usually invasive. Urinary tract infections, for example, can be treated before they become severe, thereby a-verting complications that frequently lead to hospitalization.

For more information about the KG device and Olive Diagnostics, visit the website

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