Investment Fund for Scotland announces first major deal

The British Business Bank has declared its inaugural significant transaction from the £150m Investment Fund for Scotland, allocating a £750,000 equity investment through Maven Capital Partners to the medical technology company, Carcinotech.

Carcinotech, based in Edinburgh, has successfully secured £4.2 million in its latest funding round, and intends to expand into the US later this year. The company utilises its Carcino3D technology to develop 3D bioprinted tumour models from cancer cell lines derived from patients. This technology offers a rapid, ethical, and precise platform for drug screening, pre-clinical, and personalised medicine testing, aiding cancer treatment.

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 revealed a collaboration with CELLINK, based in Gothenburg, to integrate CELLINK's bioprinting solutions with Carcinotech’s proficiency in producing bioprinted living tumours. This partnership focuses on developing advanced cell line 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.” 

Moreover, Carcinotech has enhanced its leadership by appointing industry expert Albert Nicholl as board chair and establishing a scientific advisory board last year with prominent oncology leaders.

The Investment Fund for Scotland, initiated in October 2023 by the British Business Bank, is a UK Government-backed initiative aimed at augmenting early-stage finance availability for small and medium-sized enterprises across Scotland.

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.”

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 smaller businesses to help scale this important business.”

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.”

Eos Advisory led the investment along with Maven Capital Partners, Scottish Enterprise, Old College Capital, Investing Women, and existing investors TRICAPITAL, SIS Ventures, Gabriel Investment, and Alba Equity. The investment by Maven is channelled through the Investment Fund for Scotland, which Maven manages via Maven Equity Finance on behalf of the British Business Bank.