Success Stories

Story of

Wadah Malaeb

Ductal Organoid-on-a-Chip
1st Place Winner

Time is Wadah’s most valuable resource, so he’s more than comfortable taking risks if it means he’s moving forward. In fact, the young inventor jumped across six majors during his time at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, all before finding his true calling in Biomedical Engineering during his senior year as a Mechanical Engineering student.

Even after an enlightening internship in the oil and gas industry, Wadah’s thirst for knowledge was still left unsatisfied. Eventually, on a whim, he decided to take a course on tissue engineering, as its premise enticed his curiosity.

Wadah had a revelation - his mind would not let him sleep for four straight days after the first lecture, a brief glimpse into the enormous potential of the biomedical field enough to keep his mind racing. He insisted to his professors that this would finally be the field that stuck. It tapped into a childhood dream, where he sought ways to understand the human body better and extend lives - all so he could have more time to satisfy his curiosity of the world around him.

About the Project 

Developing a new medical drug is a monumental undertaking, consuming vast amounts of time and money through countless experiments and trials. According to Wadah, a lot of the cost comes from attempting to replicate real human conditions in which to test the drugs. 

The budding researcher experienced this first-hand while working on a breast cancer project, where he spent six months studying the parameters of human tissue growth. His findings relied heavily on observing the natural behaviour of cells, something which is only possible through a perfect replica of the environment inside the human body. Scarred by the experience, he explored academic literature to see if he could find a new solution.

Enter the Ductal Organoid-on-a-Chip! Based on growing organ chip technology, the Chip provides an environment in which cells can grow and reorganise into tissues as if they were in the human body, providing the perfect atmosphere to conduct drug testing massively, efficiently, and affordably.  

The Aftermath of SOS12

Wadah expanded his team to 10 people, operating in Lebanon and the UK. He also funded and established a Biological R&D collaboration with the faculty of medicine at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. His ambitions also pushed him to established manufacturing facility in Lebanon that is now in operation. He filed an international patent for the organ-on-chip device and invented a new device and filed a new US provisional patent for it. Wadah also started working on a third invention to integrate artificial intelligence into the new device. He is also in conversation with leading biopharmaceutical companies for establishing new collaborations.

In 2022, the team expanded to 12 people working full-time in the lab and manufacturing facilities, with five others at the collaborator's labs in AUB and Bradford.

In recognition of his success, at age 28, Waddah got chosen for this year's list of 2022 "Forbes 30 under 30".