Research organisation Pathology Diagnostics has been operational for less than five years with a small core of dedicated full-time staff. But the company has already accumulated an international client-base including pharmaceutical, biotech, contract research organisations, companion diagnostics, tissue suppliers and other healthcare organisations. The company began life as a consultancy, but it soon became clear to founder Dr Madhuri Warren that the business had greater potential.

“I uncovered a huge need for people with my expertise, to help scientific concepts to be transferred all the way through research and development into the hospital environment,” she says. “I had rare insight into all aspects of scientific research, as well as how diagnostic tests are put into practice.” She adds: “We have grown steadily and now have a network of research scientists and pathologists. We also have our own technology and are developing our own computerised techniques that help diagnostic tests become more accurate and less prone to human error.”

Pathology Diagnostics is Madhuri’s first business, having previously worked in the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute at Cambridge University. Despite her company’s strong start, Madhuri admits progress has been far from plain sailing, and that she has experienced a lot of “personal growth” along the way. Madhuri founded the company in 2008 after first hand experience of battling cancer and of undergoing the “lottery” of finding a suitable cancer treatment, in her case for a close relative. Changes in the UK market and a double-dip recession have also impacted on her clients, which has in turn impacted on the progress of her company. But Madhuri has been quick to adapt, implementing a new business plan for the next three years and beyond. This includes providing a new, centralised laboratory and diagnostics site within Cambridge. This development has increased interest across Europe and demand for her company’s services is now booming.

Breakthrough Live: Cambridge

In November, Madhuri attended a Breakthrough Live event in Cambridge. She says she was attracted primarily by Santander’s general approach to business funding. “Santander have an innovative approach to funding growing businesses and we wanted to find out more about that, but at the Live event there was also an opportunity to learn more about what they were doing and to network with other businesses.”

Madhuri found the presentations especially valuable. “I really enjoyed the presentations from the two business leaders who were speaking: the founder of Ella’s Kitchen and the founder of YourVets. It was great to hear their inspirational stories about how they handled very rapidly growing businesses.” She adds: “I also had the opportunity to speak to them directly, which was really useful, and I had a chat with Ana Botin, CEO of Santander UK. I found her absolutely exceptional for her clear vision and goals for her business and the Breakthrough scheme.”

Madhuri describes the Live event as “useful and informative” and says she was inspired by the stories of so many businesses in a position similar to her own. “It was also good to see banks looking at business issues from a different angle,” she says.