A start-up company that is aiming to “reinvent cancer research” has secured £1.6 million in funding from a group of Scottish investors as it seeks to accelerate commercialisation of its medical technology.

The money will allow Edinburgh-based Carcinotech to extend its commercial partnerships in Europe and North America, where it already works with organisations such as Cancer Research UK, major pharmaceutical groups, and a US-based clinical research organisation (CRO). The firm is also creating several new scientific and commercial jobs that will take its headcount from four to more than 10 within the next year.

The funding round was led by Borders-based investment syndicate Tricapital, alongside Eos Advisory, SIS Ventures, Gabriel Investments, Alba Equity and Scottish Enterprise. It follows a £130,000 seed funding round in September 2020 from Gabriel.

Based on the research of founder and chief executive Ishani Malhotra, Carcinotech makes 3D printers used to create tumours from cancer stem cells, primary cells and established cell lines. These tumours are used in drug screening and clinical testing to help speed up the development of new cancer treatments.

A graduate of the University of Edinburgh and Harvard Medical School, Ms Malhotra set up Carcinotech in July 2018. The company is based at the Roslin Innovation Centre on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

READ MORE: Scottish laser firm Chromacity seals new partnership to boost sales in France

“Our next phase of growth will involve building international partnerships, growing the team, and appointing a scientific advisory committee to support the work of the main board,” she said.

“Carcinotech’s in-vitro models are very close to clinical biopsy samples because we use patient-specific cells and isolated cells from biopsies, which allow us to develop models representing cancer heterogeneity.”

Originally founded in 2004 as Tweed Renaissance Investors Capital, Tricapital is led by managing partner Moray Martin. Its portfolio includes a number of life sciences companies such as Ten Bio, Aurum Biosciences, Fios Genomics and NovaBiotics.

“Carcinotech is one of the most exciting early-stage companies to come out of the Scottish life sciences sector in recent times,” Mr Martin said. “We can already see traction and momentum, and look forward to actively supporting Ishani and her team as they continue to scale.”

St Andrews-based Eos Advisory is also active in the sector, having teamed up last year with Kineticos Life Sciences of the US to co-invest in Scottish firms working in the field of oncology.

READ MORE: Glasgow firm eyes up ophthalmology market

“Ishani and her team have developed pioneering oncology biotechnology with the potential to make a significant impact in discovery screening and pre-clinical testing,” partner Ana Stewart said. “It is exactly the kind of high-impact company that Eos aims to support.”

Siobhan Moore, investment manager at SIS Ventures, added: “Carcinotech is a truly innovative company whose mission is to provide accessible, personalised medicine testing to individuals suffering from cancer, ultimately improving their chance of survival.

“Based in Scotland but with global ambitions, Carcinotech aligns perfectly with our aim of supporting disruptive businesses with high growth and impact potential.”

The company is chaired by Albert Nicholl, who was a UK director of American medical technology multinational Stryker before then taking over as managing director of US rival Orthofix. He now advises a variety of early-stage companies in the medical technology and life sciences sectors.

“Scotland has a world-renowned track record in oncology R&D, and it’s great to see Carcinotech making an impression in international markets,” Mr Nicholl said. “Ishani and her team are now positioned to step up activity in Europe and North America, and it’s great for the company to be doing that with such a supportive group of investors.”