Carcinotech Ltd. is an innovative MedTech company. They specialise in manufacturing 3D printed tumours to provide a platform for rapid, ethical, sustainable, and accurate drug discovery and testing. We spoke to founder Ishani Malhotra about the startup’s vision and how the DDE programme, University of Edinburgh and Seed Fund will help Carcinotech scale up.
I’m a scientist by background, specialising in cancer diagnostics and stem cell research. I also have experience as a clinical project manager as well as in the lab. When I started a Masters degree in regenerative medicine at the University of Edinburgh I was able to pull all those elements together, and it was there that the idea for Carcinotech was born.
We manufacture 3D printed ‘mini tumours’ which we develop from patient-derived cancer stem cells, primary cells, and established cell lines. This is important as it allows for rapid, ethical, accurate, and sustainable drug testing, discovery, and preclinical trials. With our platform, pharma companies and Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) can move more quickly, cost effectively and can reduce animal testing.
Although I hadn’t planned to start my own company, seeing an idea turn into something with real-life results for patients is a huge motivator. I never wanted to work in academia, I always wanted to work in industry because whatever work I did, I wanted to see its impact in the real world. DDE initiatives like the Seed Fund will help us kick off the next stage of moving into a commercial space.
Data is key for us - it's the biggest part of the company. We collect data on a daily basis from the models we print, as well as any data on the characterisation of the models themselves, or from testing drugs on them. We also are now generating and sequencing data with patients’ specific cell lines and biopsy samples.
The goal is to help as many people as possible, by not just focusing on one particular cancer, or two cancers, but all cancers. We want to get to a point where we can develop models for all cancers and be able to provide these to as many pharma companies and CROs as possible.
Not only will the Seed Fund give our current research a massive boost, it will also give us leverage as we begin speaking to investors about our next investment round. It’s going to help us to reach more clients and customers, and will provide support as we grow that side of the business.
To be an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate about your ideas. The best way to go forward is to know that you're not going to be successful all the time. You will face challenges, you need to overcome them and be able to move forward.
We are currently scaling, looking to expand our team and our facilities. We're at the point where we're looking for investment, while also commercialising our products. It's a very exciting time for us!
Want to learn more about Carcinotech, click below to head to their website.