September 2 2022

Meet the team: Rania El Bishbishi.

On June 1st Rania El Bishbishi joined Brighter as our new Medical Engagement Lead for the Middle East. She spoke to us about her long experience within the medical community, diabetes prevalence in the region, and Brighter’s upcoming pilot study in the UAE.

Welcome to Brighter! Please tell us about the new role you’ve taken with the company.

Thank you. I’m working as Brighter’s Medical Engagement Lead, based out of our Dubai office. My main responsibility is to engage with the healthcare-professional (HCP) community across the Middle East, educating them on Brighter’s Actiste® offering and how it can help to address unmet needs in diabetes. I’ll also work on building awareness about diabetes in general among this community.

You’ve got good connections with the HCP community from your previous role, right?

Yes, I’ve been building relationships with HCPs and other Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) across the Middle East for more than 20 years.

I’m originally from Egypt, where I attended the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University to train as a medical doctor specializing in clinical pathology and hematology. After graduation I practiced medicine for about four years before moving to Dubai in 1997. Here I started working for different pharma companies, including the insulin manufacturer Sanofi where I spent more than 14 years before joining Brighter.

I started in Sanofi’s sales function and then moved to the company’s medical department, eventually leading it for Gulf countries, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The job was about influencing the external environment by educating HCPs and engaging KOLs to build advocacy for Sanofi brands in the medical community, as well as providing scientific evidence to close the gaps and position the company’s products.

“This shows that we need to focus more on diabetes and help HCPs to control the condition by keeping people’s blood glucose under control.”

What can you tell us about UAE diabetes prevalence?

It’s among the highest in the world. According to the International Diabetes Federation, prevalence among adults aged 20-79 years in the UAE is 16.4% – that’s approximately one million people. Unfortunately more than 40% are undiagnosed and living with type 2 diabetes without being aware of it.

This shows that we need to focus more on diabetes and help HCPs to control the condition by keeping people’s blood glucose under control. As diabetes can be such a debilitating disease, blood glucose monitoring is very important to avoid complications. This is where Actiste® can really help.

Brighter is about to kick off its Actiste® pilot study in the UAE – how will you be involved with that?

The final ethical approval for the study came on July 18th and now we’re moving quickly to get it started. Brighter has been waiting to get this study underway for a long time, so this is an exciting time for the company. Everyone in the UAE team has been working very hard to make it happen.

The study will involve seven clinics distributed around the UAE’s different emirates. In each clinic we’ve trained one doctor and one nurse in using Actiste® and over the next two months they’ll be helping us to recruit the 100 patients we want for the study. Potential participants will be screened, then we’ll select those whose profiles are most suitable for Actiste® and they’ll use the solution for three months. We’re hoping to get the first patient started during the second half of September.

Dr. Rania El Bishbishi to the far right.

It’s quite a change to move from a large multinational to a smaller company like Brighter – what made you do it?

I’ve been working for a very long time with big companies, and I liked the idea of working with a developing one where I could implement all my experience from over the years – and witness first-hand a magnificent breakthrough in medical devices. Being a medical doctor I always think of the well-being of patients – this is my main concern. I wanted to carry on helping patients, but now I will do so with Brighter. I want to grow together with the company.

I really like the concept behind Actiste® and how it provides all-in-one diabetes management, including blood sampling, glucose readings and insulin injections. I have never seen something like this before – it’s a new era of supporting and managing patients remotely. Users can also get reminders to perform different treatment actions, plus all the data can be shared digitally with their HCPs through our Companion app. It’s a very innovative solution that I believe can really help to ease the burden on both patients and hospitals everywhere.

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