A Scottish medtech company which recreates ‘micro-tumours’ in the lab for testing new cancer treatments has secured £4.2 million to expand its technology.

Edinburgh-founded Carcinotech will use the investment to target US markets later this year after gaining traction in the UK and Europe.

The company, led by cancer specialist Ishani Malhotra, uses 3D printers to manufacture tumours out of cells derived from patient biopsy and blood samples – for testing purposes.

The novel approach simulates the tumour ‘microenvironment’ and is able to speed up the ethical drug screening and delivery of more effective cancer treatments to market. 

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. 

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.

The investment round was led by St-Andrews-based Eos Advisory alongside the Investment Fund for Scotland 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 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.”

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.”