3D printed micro-tumour specialist Carcinotech raises £4.2m and expands in US

Left to right are Anne Muir (Eos), Albert Nicholl (Carcinotech), Ishani Malhotra (Carcinotech), Sarah Newbould (British Business Bank), and David Milroy (Maven) (Photo: Stewart Attwood)

CARCINOTECH has raised £4.2 million of funding as the company looks to build on its traction in the UK and Europe, with US expansion planned later this year. Carcinotech’s Carcino3D technology enables the manufacture of 3D printed micro-tumours using cells derived from patient biopsies and blood samples to precisely simulate the tumour microenvironment thereby accelerating ethical drug screening and the delivery of more effective cancer treatments to market. 

Ishani Malhotra, CEO and Founder of Carcinotech, said: “Our vision is to be at the forefront of cancer drug testing and provide personalised medicine testing to every individual suffering from cancer to improve their treatment and chance of survival.  Working with global partners, leading pharma companies, surgeons, pathologists, and clinicians, Carcinotech aims to significantly accelerate oncology drug development.” 

In October, Carcinotech announced a partnership with Gothenburg-headquartered CELLINK, leveraging CELLINK’s bioprinting solutions and Carcinotech’s expertise in producing bioprinted living tumours to develop cutting-edge cancer models. 

Ishani Malhotra added: “As part of ongoing commercialisation, we have built strong industry partnerships in Europe, and are now actively engaged in replicating these in North America.”  

Carcinotech has also strengthened its board, chaired by industry veteran Albert Nicholl, and launched a scientific advisory board last year with world renowned oncology leaders.

Eos Advisory (Eos) led the investment alongside the Investment Fund for Scotland (IFS) managed by Maven Capital Partners, Scottish Enterprise, Old College Capital, Investing Women Angels, and existing investors TRICAPITAL, SIS Ventures, Gabriel Investment Syndicate, and Alba Equity.  It is the first equity deal from the £150 million IFS, through appointed fund managers Maven on behalf of the British Business Bank.  

Anne Muir, Director of Portfolio at St Andrews-based investment firm Eos, said: “Ishani and her team are breaking new ground in oncology, they combine a deep knowledge of the field with technology-driven systems that are set to bring about greater efficiencies in cancer research workflows.  At Eos, we back innovative companies that positively impact the world and we are excited to continue our support as Carcinotech builds on its commercial traction and enters its next phase of growth from a base in Scotland.”

Dr David Milroy, Partner at Maven, said: “Carcinotech’s progress over the last 12 months has been impressive and the company is ideally placed to capitalise on the need for more predictive, non-animal models for testing of anti-cancer drugs and the huge opportunity for personalised medicine in cancer treatment. Carcinotech’s models are reproducible and provided in a familiar format for high-throughput screening, key requirements for adoption by the pharmaceutical industry for the testing of drug candidates. I am very much looking forward to working with Ishani and her team and to drawing on Maven’s vast experience of backing SMEs to help scale this important business.”

Kerry Sharp, Director of Entrepreneurship and Investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Carcinotech has gone from strength to strength since we first supported it as a startup in 2018, and we’re proud to have been a part of its incredible journey to date. It’s great to see the company expand into the lucrative US market and further develop its potentially life-saving technologies. Human health is a key opportunity area for Scotland and we believe that innovative, scaling companies like Carcinotech have an important role to play in transforming our economy.”

Tricapital Angel Investors said: “We were delighted to be able to support Carcinotech through its foundation laying stage and again now as it moves into scale up and full commercialisation. This is an exciting company with a very bright future.”

Globally, an estimated 19.3 million cancer cases occurred in 2020 alone, with a fatality rate of almost 10.0 million cancer deaths, with breast (11.7%), lung (11.4%), colorectal (10%) and prostate (7.3%) being the most fatal. While cancer continues to affect millions, there are still a limited number of effective therapies available, and those that are available, have a high degree of variation from patient to patient. 

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