Cancer Research Startups in India


In India where approximately 7 lakhs new cases of cancer arise every year and about 3.5 lakhs people succumbs to it, startups can tackle the prevailing urgency by taking the challenge and coming up with really innovative technology to fight with this situation. Let us know about those Indian startups which have taken the responsibility to deliver to the cause of cancer and dedicatedly moving ahead with their innovative research.


1. Mitra Biotech-Translating Biology for Cancer Diagnostics

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka

Started in: 2009

Management: Dr. Mallik Sunderram (Co-founder, President & CEO), Dr. Pradip K. Majumdar (Co-founder & CSO)

FundingAccel ventures, India Innovation Fund (IIF), Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund (KITVEN Fund) and Tata Capital Innovation Funds

Mission: Originally an academic spinoff of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University and later established in India in 2009, Mitra Biotech is a translational biology company primarily working towards making cost-efficient personalized cancer care and drug development utilizing their proprietary technologies

mitra biotech is a cancer research startup in india

Specialties: CANScript™ a superior multi-dimensional platform which allows the assays to be carried out in patient’s own tumor recreated in the microenvironment thereby ensuring high specificity. Thus helps in the optimization of the right drug candidates from pre-clinical to clinical stage. It also helps in identifying the mechanistic pathways/ mutation for rational drug development. CANScript™ was launched in India in 2012 and later in U.S. in 2014. Mitra also has human tumor xenograft (HTX) mouse models for various solid cancers (CANScript™ HTX models). This company have a repository of more than 600 annotated refractory tumors and is involved in anti-cancer drug development.

Achievement: Mitra Biotech has several clinically validated and propelled cancer drugs screening platform. Please visit here for the complete list.

Collaborations: Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Centre (MSCC), Tata Memorial Hospital, Kidwai Memorial Center, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Global hospitals and HCG Cancer Network Centers


2. Invictus Oncology– Supramolecular Oncology Therapeutics Leader 

Location: New Delhi

Started in: 2012

Management: Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar (Co-founder), Dr. Shiladitya Sengupta (Co-founder)

Funding: Navam capital, Aarin capital and Tata Sons Limited

Mission: Invictus Oncology is committed to discovering innovative therapies via multidisciplinary approach towards cancer care.

invictus cancer

Specialties: Invictus is involved in the development of platinum II-based anticancer supra-molecular therapeutics for the global market. Invictus puffed portfolio contains

  1. Novel platinum analogs– These are designed using structure activity relationship to increase the efficacy and reduce the side effects of platinum-based drugs which are still given as a first line treatment for major cancer.
  2. Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADC)– Invictus is building a bulk of ADC which is an upcoming therapeutic strategy for tumor-specific drug delivery based on its proprietary linker chemistry.
  3. The company sets its sight for developing a platform technology for determination of potential targets for the therapeutic purpose by identifying its genetic mechanism.
  4. The company has a pending patent application on cytotoxic ligand-targeted molecules and ligand-drug conjugates (LDC). The company’s LDC may serve as a proprietary delivery system for platinum chemotherapeutics.

Achievement: Government of India’s Department for Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR) has recognized the innovative research and development activities of Invictus in the field of cancer therapeutics and registered it as an in-house and R&D unit which fetch them fiscal incentives for R&D and also make them eligible for receiving grants from the government of India.

Collaborations: Non profit institute-India Innovation Research Center (IIRC)


3. AIndra Systems-Computer Vision for Cancer Diagnostics

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka

Started in: 2012

Management: Mr. Adarsh Natarajan (Founder & CEO)

Funding: Villgro (Social Non-Profit Enterprise Incubator)

Mission: This company has the motivation of devising products based on artificial intelligence particularly in the area of computer visionAIndra sets its sight to develop innovative device at an affordable cost to address cervical cancer with its expertise in artificial intelligence that can assist screening and detection of cervical cancer in women.

aindra bangalore

Specialties: The AIndra device depends on Pap smear test which is observed in a digital microscope having an onboard computing unit which classifies the sample as either normal or abnormal and transferred to a pathologist to confirm the results. The reply given by the pathologist is automatically learned by the device to build a database.

Collaborations: Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology and NGO –Cancer Care India


4. Swagene: The Youngest Molecular Diagnosticians

Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Started in: 2014

ManagementDr. Sooraj Ratnakumar (Founder & Scientist)

Findings: no report

Mission: This company is driven by the motivation to develop personalized medicine for precise identification of three rare cancers viz. Ewing’s sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and synovial sarcomaSwagene proceeds to analyze the genetic constitution of the individual and advising treatment to the patient accordingly.

swagene cancer

Specialties: Swagene is accelerated towards the development of molecular diagnostics and has developed tests for accurately diagnosing sarcomas (Ewing’s sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, synovial sarcoma) and blood cancers to bring change in the existing diagnostics for early cancer detection and to improve survival rates.

Achievements: Swagene has been consistently admired by many awards:

  1. Winner of Empresario 2016 – Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur’s global business model competition
  2. Considered as one of the top 10 startups of 2015
  3. Winner of Masterplan 2015 startup competition at Indian Institute of Management,  Ahemdabad
  4. Winner of Conquest 2015, Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani’s startup conclave
  5. Winner of Cll’s start up of the year 2014 in healthcare
  6. Swagene received gold medal by Government of India for Innovation

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Comments (2)

  1. Hello Tiash Mam,
    Thanks for the article. Mitra Biotech is my dream company. I am student now but want to work in this company. Can you also tell me how I can prepare for the job in this company? I mean what they look for. I have one more year and I can prepare well.

    Thanks in advance
    Pradeep Dighe

  2. Hullo,
    Thankyou for all the informations above. Please give me a reference to the scholar who is experimenting and inventing the drugs to stop cancer and to cure the sickness. I wish to provide some substances which are said to be having the ability to stop the cancer cells from developing in human bodies. I wish to have more discussion about this matter. Let me know.

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