NERv – 11 August

11 Aug 2020


NERv is a Canadian medical device startup utilizing the plethora of data within the body, to detect postoperative complications at their onset. Its first application focuses on anastomotic (gastrointestinal) leaks that can arise after GI surgeries.

One of the greatest fears for a surgeon is that their patient is amongst the 1 in 6 who suffer from a postoperative complication. In general, following the development of a complication, treatment is delayed as it can take a couple of days for symptoms to present themselves before examination begins. Anastomotic leakage, or the leakage of gastrointestinal fluid into the abdominal cavity, is one such complication that can develop after surgery. Anastomotic leaks are of particular concern, as they occur in approximately 130,000 high-risk abdominal surgery patients annually in the US with a 10-15% mortality and adverse outcomes for the survivors. Anastomotic leaks can occur at any time in the weeks following surgery. This renders current detection techniques, which rely on infrequent monitoring by a medical professional and unreliable diagnostic tests, costly and ineffective. These practices, which often result in late detection and delayed patient care, heavily contribute to the hospital-borne cost of $28M USD per 1000 high-risk abdominal surgery patients.

NERv is developing a smart continuous monitoring system that integrates with the current standard of care requiring little to no training. Hence, adoption becomes a much more seamless process. NERv’s system incorporates μ-biosensors designed to detect postoperative complications in real-time. The system can notify the healthcare provider if early signs of complications are detected by the sensors and monitor the development of the complication in real-time. NERv’s platform allows surgeons to intervene early while avoiding the cascade of complications that arise from the late detection of the complication. NERv’s solution also allows healthcare providers to verify the effectiveness of their intervention by monitoring the status of the patient following the clinical intervention (guided Intervention). In this process a lot of unnecessary tests currently conducted can be eliminated.



NERv has LOIs from a number of medical institutions to conduct clinical studies. NERv has already worked with the Keenan Research Center in association with surgeons from St. Michael’s Hospital to conduct animal trials. NERv further holds partnerships with Dr. Osama Taha and Osama Taha Academy in Egypt.

NERv also recently won the Johnson and Johnson Innovation Labs (JLabs)/TMC Breakthrough Medical Devices Quickfire Challenge, providing NERv with 1 year of free residency in JLabs and access to Johnson and Johnson’s network. Furthermore, the company had successfully worked with some of the top accelerators such as the Texas Medical Center (TMCx), HAX, OBIO CAAP, and Velocity. In recent news, NERv has graduated from the prestigious Creative Destruction Labs (CDL) program, working with strategic mentors who have previous startup experience.

One of NERv’s greatest accomplishments was placing first at the first-ever Entrepreneurship World Cup coming ahead of more than 102,000 companies from over 185 countries around the world and winning the top prize of $500,000 USD.

Despite their multitudes of successes and achievements, NERv’s biggest hurdle to overcome in the following year is securing regulatory approval and initiating commercialization efforts.



Youssef Helwa, CEO and Co-Founder – Youssef has led the development and growth of NERv throughout his Nanotechnology Engineering degree, implementing its novel approaches in improving the clinical workflow for both patients and physicians. Coming from a medical family himself, allowed him to live the most common challenges seen across many patient journeys. Youssef pursued his Masters in the field of implantable biochips while running NERv as a startup. The research work helped establish the foundation of NERv’s first product. His focus remains on building systems and products that integrate seamlessly with existing medical products and procedures while improving patient outcomes and growing NERv into a leading medical company.

Amr Abdelgawad, COO and Co-Founder – Amr’s passion for healthcare has pushed him towards joining NERv with a mission to provide better resources for physicians to make more informed decisions regarding their patients. Over the years, Amr has been able to develop his business acumen through the Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MBET) program at the University of Waterloo and by leading the operations, finance, and business development activities at NERv. Amr is also the 2016 Ontario Student Entrepreneur of the Year, the 2016 runner-up Canada Student Entrepreneur of the Year, the 2017 Canada Student Entrepreneur of the Year, and a 2017 TEDxUW speaker. Outside of work, you will find him cheering on Real Madrid or playing soccer with his friends.

Abdallah El-Falou, CTO and Co-founder – As a techie at heart, Abdallah has always been fascinated by technology old and new. Having combined backgrounds in biomedical and electrical engineering, his primary role is translating clinicians’ needs into a full-fledged system. Before joining NERv, Abdallah fulfilled R&D roles in cutting-edge technologies including mobile touch controllers, high-speed satellite communications, and camera modules at leading institutions including the University of Waterloo and Apple. Outside of the office, you’ll find him watching a musical, flexing his culinary skills, or catching up with world news.



NERv has seen a lot of success in garnering capital with over $4.5M USD raised thus far.

Committed to positively impacting the post-operative recovery period so that no other patient would lose their life due to undetected complications, NERv’s team is driven to work hard and expand quickly to bring this vision to fruition. NERv plans to further grow its team to onboard the necessary talent to bring its product to market.


Revenue Model

NERv’s business model revolves around selling the device as a single-use/disposable device. Currently, these providers receive a bundled payment for every procedure, while deciding how to utilize the reimbursed payments to manage patients post-operatively. Complications chew up a portion of a provider’s profits and early detection can guarantee significant cost savings.



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