Dr Manjiri Bakre
Over a career spanning more than two decades, Dr Manjiri Bakre has done it all. From path breaking research in the field of cancer and stem cells to founding a start-up, Dr Manjiri Bakre is the proverbial ‘do-it-all’ professional. A hands on entrepreneur, a researcher, a leader to her team, Dr Manjiri wears many hats at OncoStem. As the CEO and Founder of OncoStem Diagnostics, Dr Manjiri brings in passion, scientific expertise, vision and strategic thinking to her team. One of the triggers for launching OncoStem was her own personal experience of losing a good friend to breast cancer. When Dr Manjiri was doing her PhD in the late 90s, her friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and she lost her within two years of diagnosis, despite her taking Chemotherapy and bearing its side effects. Her start-up- OncoStem’s flagship product ‘CanAssist Breast’ is an innovative, cost effective test that can help clinicians to plan personalized treatment for each patient based on tumor biology. ‘CanAssist-Breast’ can potentially spare over 60,000 breast cancer patients in India and about 1 million patients worldwide every year from the severe side effects and unnecessary costs of chemotherapy. Dr Manjiri Bakre, who holds a PhD in Cell Biology from Indian Institute of Science, has been a go-getter since her early days. From setting up her laboratory infrastructure from the scratch to raising US $9 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and Artiman Ventures, Dr Manjiri has transformed her idea into a successful product. The risk-ridden road to entrepreneurship is not always smooth sailing. The lack of trust in a medical product developed in India, the lack of clear guidelines in using clinical material for research and onboarding hospitals were some of the obstacles that Dr Manjiri faced. She learnt it all on the job and overcame the challenges with grit, perseverance and patience. Today, Dr Manjiri is positively impacting cancer patients by improving their quality of life through OncoStem Diagnostics.