MicroVita Interveiew – drug development based on live tissue cultures

Dr Sylwia Barker is the founder of MicroVita, a start-up developing a device to help the pharmaceutical industry develop new drugs on living tissues. The University of Southampton spinout has created a lab-on-a-chip device that uses nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure the effects of drugs on live tissue cultures; this approach can reduce the number of animals used in drug development. The start-up participated in the Future Worlds accelerator and is currently looking for a commercial partner.

This is an extract from Sylwia’s interview (https://www.uktech.news/news/founder-interviews/microvita-founder-use-this-productivity-hack-to-regain-focus-20230630).

Do you have a productivity hack?
One of the most effective productivity hacks I’ve recently been introduced to is the “mind purge.” This technique involves dedicating one to three minutes to write down all your thoughts on a piece of paper.

It is a powerful method to declutter my mind from intrusive thoughts and regain focus. By practicing this technique, I find it easier to clear my head and enhance my productivity especially following a negative/upsetting meeting.

What’s a common mistake that you see founders make?
Focusing too much on the execution of their product without listening to what the customer wants.

Which company’s growth story are you most impressed with?

MetalloBio’s growth story is undeniably remarkable. Despite facing a devastating diagnosis of a rare heart cancer, CEO Dr Kirsty Smitten’s unwavering determination is awe-inspiring.
Rather than slowing down, she has doubled down on her efforts. In an astounding week in May, the start-up secured five awards. Moreover, Kirsty has taken to social media to raise awareness about rare cancers and is even planning to establish a foundation. Kirsty Smitten’s resilience and impact is truly inspiring.

Excluding your own, what’s a sector that’s ripe for disruption?

The fashion ecommerce section is ripe for disruption. The way we blindly buy clothes online, without being able to try them on is so archaic.
I expect that by now we should have 3D “avatars” of ourselves that we could use to virtually try on clothes. The current approach of buying several sizes to then return clothes is not sustainable and must change.