Edinburgh biotech 'breaking new ground in oncology' raises £4.2 million in fight against cancer

Deal marks first equity funding from the British Business Bank’s £150m Investment Fund for Scotland (IFS).

An Edinburgh-based biotech start-up has secured a £4.2 million funding injection as it looks to bring more effective cancer treatments to market and expand into the US.

Carcinotech’s technology enables the manufacture of 3D printed micro-tumours using cells derived from patient biopsies and blood samples to precisely simulate the tumour microenvironment. Its work is helping to accelerate ethical drug screening and the delivery of more effective cancer treatments.

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Fife-based investment firm Eos Advisory led the latest 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 marks the first equity deal from the £150m IFS, through appointed fund manager Maven on behalf of the British Business Bank.

Anne Muir (Eos), Albert Nicholl (Carcinotech), Ishani Malhotra (Carcinotech), Sarah Newbould (British Business Bank) and David Milroy (Maven). Picture by Stewart AttwoodAnne Muir (Eos), Albert Nicholl (Carcinotech), Ishani Malhotra (Carcinotech), Sarah Newbould (British Business Bank) and David Milroy (Maven). Picture by Stewart Attwood
Anne Muir (Eos), Albert Nicholl (Carcinotech), Ishani Malhotra (Carcinotech), Sarah Newbould (British Business Bank) and David Milroy (Maven). Picture by Stewart Attwood

Ishani Malhotra, chief executive 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, the firm announced a partnership with Gothenburg-headquartered Cellink, leveraging the latter’s bioprinting systems and Carcinotech’s expertise in producing bioprinted living tumours to develop cutting-edge cancer models. 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.

Anne Muir, director of portfolio at St Andrews-based 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.”

The British Business Bank marks its first major deal from the £150m IFS with a £750,000 equity investment into Carcinotech through Maven Capital Partners. IFS provides a mix of debt and equity funding. The fund will offer a range of commercial finance options with smaller loans from £25,000 to £100,000, debt finance from £100,000 to £2m and equity investment up to £5m.

Ken Cooper, managing director, venture solutions, at the British Business Bank, said: “Carcinotech has huge potential to transform the way cancer treatments are tested and developed with its advanced 3D bioprinting technology. The investment marks a significant milestone for the Bank’s Investment Fund for Scotland and so we are especially pleased to see it is supporting a female-founder leading the effort to deliver this cutting-edge medical technology as well as the company’s international expansion.”

Globally, an estimated 19.3 million cancer cases occurred in 2020 alone.

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