Edward Allegra, a Southern Methodist University (SMU) student, became the proud winner of the Dallas qualifying competition for the Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards (GSEA), a program of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). To qualify for this award, Allegra had to be an undergraduate student and the owner of a revenue-generating business that has operated for at least six consecutive months.
Allegra, who is 22 years old, is co-founder of BioLum, a smartphone-based medical device launched this April that is able to monitor and help manage asthma. BioLum uses chemiluminescence to detect and quantify specific disease biomarkers found in exhaled breath condensate. The BioLum device will enable users to monitor their condition with a mobile health platform which can indicate lung condition and function.
The judges selected Allegra based on his vision for BioLum as well as his desire to make a mark with a product that can improve the way asthma is diagnosed and managed—ultimately improving the quality of life for those who suffer from this disease.
The device will aid in treatment programs as patients manage their symptoms. Moreover, BioLum’s smartphone integrated technology offers a valuable opportunity to gather global data about this illness that plagues nearly 25 million people in the U.S. alone according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. The device will help doctors identify the time of year and regional areas where asthma is at its worst, identify the triggers that cause asthma, how to best prevent asthma from occurring, and what medications best treat the illness.
The company has raised $118,000 in capital and prize money to develop the product and begin a research study at SMU. BioLum will begin a clinical study for the product in January, which will also start the company’s FDA regulatory process.
“Our goal is to get the BioLum device in the hands of asthma patients all over the world as a low-cost personal health management system. BioLum will gather data about asthma and help the world deal with growing health problems,” Allegra said.
“In our first year of the EO Dallas student competition we discovered an impressive group of undergraduate entrepreneurs,” said Jessica Nunez, chair, EO Dallas GSEA. “Students like Edward Allegra of BioLum are pioneering the next generation of great business ventures. I am honored that we can bring them global visibility through this EO program.”
Allegra will go on to compete at the U.S. national competition in Miami on Feb. 11, 2016.