With our first-ever International MedTech Forum right around the corner, we are thrilled to introduce you CyGenica. They are one of the 6 unique Indian life sciences startups pitching their innovations on Thursday, October 8th.
CyGenica is currently developing in-vitro and in-vivo delivery mechanisms for drugs, gene editing, and antibiotics. We met with CEO Dr. Nusrat J M Sanghamitra to learn more about the story behind their solution.
What was the genesis or inspiration for your idea?
“In my case, it was my Dad’s cancer diagnosis back in 2000 when I was a Ph.D. student. Since I was a chemistry student my first idea was to discover a safer and better anticancer drug. I synthesized several new molecules that showed excellent anticancer activity in the laboratory but they were very toxic in the animal trials.
“I decided to switch my research area from chemistry to biophysics to cell biology to understand how cancer drugs work until I discovered a new molecule that enters through the cell membrane by a unique mechanism. That is the basis of our technology that is like FedEx express for intracellular delivery of molecular cargoes like DNA, genes, and gene-editing toolbox.
“With this, we are able to solve the most crucial issue of targeted intracellular delivery, which is the bottleneck for gene therapy especially for making the revolutionary CRISPR cas9 technology an in vivo reality.”
What are the most significant (non-funding-related) barriers you’ve faced and overcome?
“The most significant barrier that I have faced is in ‘team management.’ I have struggled, often people just walk over me. Often I have felt low. But over the period of the last three years, I have remained open-minded to learn and tried learning from my mistakes. The most important thing that I have learned is ‘effective and clear communication is the key.’ I can be assertive and kind and clear.”
Can you share a “Eureka!” moment—a breakthrough in the development of your idea?
“My Eureka moment was when I was trying to understand the mechanism of cell entry of my molecule and captured the moment (very difficult to catch) during a time lapse microscopy and found my molecule interacting with the cell membrane.”
We wish CyGenica luck in the first-ever International MedTech Forum!