ScreenIn3D Ltd (S3D), a UK-based developer of advanced disease-on-a-chip technologies, has secured £225,000 in seed investment. 

This investment will be used to further advance and commercialise its enabling microfluidic technologies for advanced drug screening and precision oncology.

Founded in 2018 by Dr Michele Zagnoni and Alex Sim, the mission of ScreenIn3D is to impact cancer drug development and improve the lives of cancer patients by significantly amplifying the screening capabilities of dynamic, live, patient-derived 3D tumour models.

This is achieved by using S3D’s proprietary tumour-on-a-chip technology, which enables the miniaturisation of 3D tumour-based tests through precise control of fluids, cells, and molecular transport in very small amounts. 

Precious resource

Dr Zagnoni, Chief Executive Officer of ScreenIn3D, said: “There are challenges with evaluating solid tumours, not just cancerous cells but those surrounding them and their interactions with immuno-cells.

“Tumour tissue is a precious resource, which is underutilised in drug development due to high costs and its limited quantity. Our technology offers a completely new way to test a vast number of combination therapies on patient-derived samples, offering drug developers increased opportunities of finding new treatments, quicker and with less failures.”

Alex Sim said: “Drug development is expensive. We are validating a technology platform, which could accelerate the development of therapies on models that are representative of what happens in the body during disease. This bold approach, will unlock remarkable advancements for precision oncology – for example, how to tailor an anticancer treatment to an individual patient – reduce animal tests and profoundly impact the way drugs can be developed for other diseases in the future.”

Very exciting

The £225,000 seed investment in ScreenIn3D was led by Gabriel Investments Ltd (Gabriel-IS), a Glasgow (UK) based investment syndicate that focuses on early-stage Scottish companies. Co-investors included Scottish Enterprise and the University of Strathclyde Inspire Entrepreneurs Fund.

Founder and Director of Gabriel-IS, Gill MacAulay said: “Our commitment to ScreenIn3D Limited is another investment into a very exciting young life sciences company looking to address the huge problems of trying to get good cancer therapies to market safely, more rapidly and economically.”

“This investment in ScreenIn3D takes Gabriel-IS to over £2.25 million in funds invested in innovative Scottish companies, leveraging a further £38M of follow-on investment, significantly contributing to the Scottish start-up ecosystem.” 

Dr Poonam Malik, Head of Investments at the University of Strathclyde, said: “ScreenIn3D is developing hugely exciting and innovative technology that offers real potential to transform screening for the treatment of cancer. We are delighted to support our University of Strathclyde SpinOut company through this investment from the Strathclyde Inspire Entrepreneurs Fund (SIEF).

“By joining early in company’s growth journey alongside local co- investors from the ecosystem we demonstrate a deeper vote of confidence in the innovative technology developed by university academics and its potential for improving the health benefits for patients by sharing the financial risks. This early injection of equity investment will enable the company to make further strides towards commercialising this technology, industry partnering and market adoption.

Life-saving impact

S3D will use the investment to further refine and demonstrate its technology in preclinical oncology and to establish partnerships with the pharmaceutical sector. ScreenIn3D received several awards at national and international conferences, such as ELRIG Drug Discovery and Basel Life, as well as securing grant funding from Innovate UK.

Dr Zagnoni, added: “Following a landmark legislation by the FDA last year, organ-on-a-chip technologies and the use of live patient tissue will play a major role in both drug development and treatment selection from now on. We look forward to seeing the life-saving impact our platform can generate in preclinical drug testing in the short term and, ultimately, in the clinic.”

As part of the investment from the University of Strathclyde’s Strathclyde Inspire Entrepreneurs Fund (SIEF), ScreenIn3D team has also received Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards for Emerging Entrepreneurs which are supported through a generous £50 million donation to Strathclyde by the charitable foundation of alumnus, entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr Charles Huang PhD. The donation, the largest gift in the University’s history, is supporting the University’s work in transforming lives, supporting the economy and nurturing entrepreneurship.