Today’s Startup for 10 features Vitamica. Founded in 2018 with a modest team of 3 employees, Vitamica is helping the crucial fight against antibiotic resistance through their pioneering work in the medical diagnostics sector.
Here to answer our 10 questions is Paul Meakin, CEO at Vitamica.
1. In your own words – what do you do?
We aim to help save antibiotics for future generations. Modern medicine relies massively on the fact that antibiotics work and are able to protect us from serious illness and death resulting from bacterial infections. But doctors around the world are finding that more and more antibiotics are failing due to the infectious bacteria becoming resistant. Resistance can occur due to misuse of antibiotics, so one of the most effective ways to slow down the growth of resistance is to only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary, and when you are certain that it will work.
Vitamica’s role in this global challenge is to develop a test that can inform doctors which antibiotic will be an effective treatment for an individual patient and to do it fast! The current method used takes 2-3 days. Our test will provide a result in 2 hours and be useful in helping the doctor make the best choice of initial antibiotic.
2. What’s the most exciting thing about what you’re doing?
Without a doubt, it is the opportunity to develop an idea that will one day help save lives by ensuring correct and rapid antibiotic treatment. There are so many infectious bacterial diseases causing illness and death across the world and it is our ambition play a role in helping improve global healthcare.
3. What are you most proud of so far?
It’s got to be the fact that a small group of enthusiastic people from the University of Bristol and beyond have come together to establish Vitamica as a company. We started the company two years ago and it is uplifting to see the way the whole team has pulled together to make it a success.
4. What have you found most difficult about being a startup?
Probably the frustration of not being able to do everything at once. Being a startup means that resources are limited and we simply can’t do everything we want to do as quickly as we want to!
5. What would you do differently if you started now?
We have got the important things right and the company is well prepared for the future. As a company developing a medical diagnostic, we rely heavily on investment and grants, if I was starting again I would try to accumulate more financial resources from the outset.
6. Where do you think you’ll be in 12 months?
The coming year will be a period of exciting growth for the company. The team will be expanding to push on with technical development of the instrument and software; we will be carrying out trials on clinical samples and we will be looking at the benefits that AI can bring to our technology. There are also many commercial goals that will be addressed, so it is going to be a fantastic year. Did I mention our work with veterinary samples? Perhaps another time.
7. What tools/people/services/organisations from the cluster have helped you most?
The danger in trying to list everyone lies in omitting someone. Needless to say, we have had exceptional support from the University of Bristol, SETsquared, West of England AHSN, Unit DX and Future Space. There are of course many others who contribute positively to our journey, many of whom are from the cluster. I thank them all.
8. What’s the best thing about the Bristol & Bath tech cluster?
There is an optimistic spirit in the area, and definitely an attitude that drives success. Individuals within the cluster are committed fully to helping early stage companies and it is often through these people that we can extend our connections to centres of expertise further afield.
9. Who will you be nominating for a SPARKie next year?
Our development programme for the year ahead will involve more interaction with the tech/digital sector. It would be premature to pick a nomination now!
10. Where can we find out more about you?
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