Female-founded Cytochroma to scale up team and facilities to commercialise ethical drug discovery technology
Cytochroma, a life sciences company which provides ethical, sustainable and accurate alternatives to animal testing in drug discovery and development, has secured nearly £1m to further commercialise its business.
This follows a successful investment round led by Angel Academe alongside fellow female-focused group Investing Women Angels (IWA) and Cambridge Capital Group. IWA has also mentored the company’s founder Kate Cameron, who was a 2021 AccelerateHER Awards winner. Scottish Enterprise has provided match co-investment funding for the private equity investment round.
Additional investment has been generated through multiple grants from Scottish Enterprise and Innovate UK. Cytochroma has also had success in numerous business competitions which have provided significant funding to date.
Based at Roslin, near Edinburgh, a site with a long history of scientific innovation which was the home of Dolly the Sheep, Cytochroma is focused on providing its physiologically relevant models for ethical and accurate acceleration of drug discovery.
The company utilises robotics to manufacture and test genetically diverse mini-livers to identify safer, novel medicines faster and more efficiently. Cytochroma has also built an ethically sourced, diverse induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) library which contains backgrounds of ethnic groups that are currently underrepresented in clinical trials. Its rapid microscope-based screening platform is five times faster and 10 times cheaper than standard tests and uses machine learning to become smarter over time.
Founded in 2017, Cytochroma has formed key partnerships with renowned medical research organisations, including Glasgow’s Beatson Institute and the Medicines Discovery Catapult, to further develop its technology. The company has now begun to generate revenues and is involved in discussions with a number of major pharmaceutical groups.
The £1m of investment and grants will enable Cytochroma to expand its existing facilities at Roslin and further grow its sales and technical team The company will also expand its service offering with plans to model a range of tissue and organs, including the development of mini-hearts to predict the safety and effect of new drugs and vaccines.
Dr Kate Cameron, founder and CEO of Cytochroma, said: “This combination of grant-funding and private equity is a huge boost which will enable Cytochroma to launch its products across the global market and significantly expand its service offering.
“The investment from groups including Angel Academe, Cambridge Capital and Investing Women Angels, which has supported and mentored me since the early days of Cytochroma; provides a solid platform to drive forward our growth.”
The investment by Angel Academe was led by Lucy Rhodes who, along with her colleague and fellow investor Tariq Rafique, will join Cytochroma’s board.
Lucy said: “Cytochroma is at the leading edge of market innovation within the global life sciences sector, providing much needed ethical and effective drug development solutions which include under-represented ethnic groups without the need to use animals for testing.
“As an angel syndicate which invests exclusively in female-founded start-ups, including several med tech businesses, Angel Academe is really excited to be working with Kate and supporting her in further commercialising Cytochroma’s ground-breaking innovation.”
Jackie Waring, CEO of Investing Women Angels said: “Kate is an inspiring female-founder with a great vision on the way forward in modern drug development and discovery. We are absolutely thrilled to be part of this investment round which builds on the close working partnership we’ve developed with Kate over the past four years through AccelerateHER. We now look forward to providing ongoing support to Cytochroma as it enters an exciting phase of its growth journey.”