With Canostix we chose a Newcomer of the Month that wants to revolutionize cancer prevention. We asked them 12 questions:

1. Why did you found your startup, which problem do you address and how do you solve it?

We founded Canostix with the goal to create a blood test for cancer screening that is so convenient and cost efficient, that it can be applied all over the world, at all levels of society. Today, cancer screening exists for only very few types of cancer and the patient compliance regarding these contemporary tests is less than 50%. With this disease being so aggressive and a universal cure still being decades away, early detection is the key factor to survival. Our test will be able to detect and differentiate the most common cancers at an early stage, when it can be cured already today.

2. What gave you the idea to found Canostix?

The dire need of society for a convenient cancer test and the possibility to realize it in a fraction of the time academia would require to do it. During my PhD studies in the field of cancer diagnostics I came across spectroscopy and saw the potential of this technology. This combined with our broad network in India creates perfect synergies for a speedy clinical translation.

3. What is special about your business-model, what are you doing differently?

We are using a highly sensitive technology that is usually applied in quality control and repurpose it by leveraging machine learning to transform it into top-of-the-line cancer screening devices.

4. Which were the biggest challenges you needed to overcome in the beginning?

We are still overcoming the biggest challenge, which is raising a substantial amount of money to finance a very early stage project in the MedTech/diagnostics space, with a technological approach that hardly anybody has ever heard of.

5. What was the most valuable advice somebody gave to you during your foundation phase?

My best friend Jonathan: Just do it!

6. What was your greatest success so far?

Establishing research cooperations that enable us to develop this test at a fraction of the time and cost inherent to medical technology development.

7. What is your biggest need/your next challenge?

Showing that our test procedure works beyond any doubt. So far, we and a multitude of research groups worldwide have shown in proof-of-concept studies, that this approach has immense potential to become the mass screening test of the future. Now it is time to conduct large scale studies in order to show that this technology is ready for clinical translation.

8. Why are you on Starbase/VZ?

Our main goal right now is of course finding investors for our seed round. However we are always interested to meet and talk to like-minded people.

9. What would you recommend other founders?

Venturing into a field that is very uncommon for startups ourselves, we would like to encourage other founders to look beyond what is in front of them and engage with markets that deal with large customer needs. There are great minds with even better ideas in sectors that are traditionally lacking an entrepreneurial approach – being innovative, dynamic and adventurous – which would greatly profit from the creativity and energy of new founders.

10. Where did you meet?

University and personal contacts.

11. What went really wrong since you founded?

Something goes wrong every day, luckily nothing went really wrong so far, everything is just taking much longer than intended.

12. Let´s say, you are the Governing Mayor of Berlin for one day, what would you change?

Establish a hub for international research collaboration dealing with the most urgent problems of society – climate change/renewable energy, physical and mental health, education system, urbanisation, recycling, etc.

Check the company’s profile here.

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INSIDE is the magazine of the German Startups Association. The German Startups Association represents the German startup-ecosystem and campaigns for entrepreneur-friendly conditions. Through the dialogue with political decision makers, the Startups Association offers suggestions with the aims to foster a culture of self-employment and to decrease the barriers for founders. The Startup Association advocates for innovation as well as an entrepreneurial spirit and carries the startup-mentality into society. As a network, the German Startups Association connects entrepreneurs, startups and their friends with each other.
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