Dr. Abdullah Kirumira

Scientist, Inventor and Entrepreneur – Windsor

Building a world-class medical diagnostics company


Dr. Abdullah Kirumira – scientist, inventor and entrepreneur-has been described as “the pioneer of Nova Scotia’s biotechnology sector.” Dr. Kirumira was born in Uganda, and as a child, dreamed of becoming a doctor.

At university in Uganda, Dr. Kirumira was a dental student, but during the period of Idi Amin’s dictatorship, Dr. Kirumira fled the country and went to Iraq where he studied chemistry and pursued his passion to become a doctor. “Getting into biotechnology was how I got back to that dream. I chose to apply the discipline to medicine.” Later, while studying in Australia, Dr. Kirumira would become one of the first doctoral students to specialize in biochemistry.

During the early ’90s, Dr. Kirumira moved with his family to Nova Scotia where he had accepted a position as a biochemistry professor at Acadia University. At this time, biotechnology was infused with the thrill of cutting-edge science. Hermes Chan, a Master’s student who was motivated by Dr. Kirumira’s passion, became his research assistant. In 1993, with the assistance of Chan and three other students, Dr. Kirumira was responsible for the invention of the world’s first rapid-acting HIV diagnostic test.

By 1993, Dr. Kirumira had already established his first business, Octopus Diagnostics, which focused its efforts completely on the research and development of diagnostics tests and equipment. With the invention of the three-minute test for HIV, Dr. Kirumira was ready to transform this groundbreaking technology into an extensively used diagnostic tool. This became the role of spin-off company, MedMira.

In 1999, Dr. Kirumira founded BioMedica Diagnostics- a medical biotechnology company and a leader in medical diagnostics. Located in Windsor, Nova Scotia, BioMedica focuses on the research, development, and marketing of affordable diagnostics solutions for resource-challenged clinics. With the provision of portable and affordable instruments, BioMedica is dedicated to bringing laboratory medicine closer to the patient. Working in concert with government and international aid agencies, the company has placed an emphasis on locating diagnostic equipment in smaller clinical settings; military fields, remote and rural healthcare facilities and corporate and industrial clinics. BioMedica has secured a major contract with the World Health Organization, and in 2005 the company became one of the inaugural international ambassadors of the Hants Advantage program.

Dr. Kirumira recently developed an affordable method for financially challenged hospitals in Africa to access vital diagnostic equipment.

My vision is to establish affordable laboratory medicine in Third World countries that do not have access to diagnostic equipment because it is too expensive, or they don’t have the appropriate technology at their disposal.

As a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur, Dr. Kirumira continues to be motivated by the social and economic results of his work.

For more information, visit BioMedicaDiagnostics.com