Dharmica Mistry – BCAL Diagnostics
Dharmica Mistry is the Chief Scientist and co-founder of BCAL Diagnostics. In 2016 she was name the NSW Young Woman of the Year, and was also awarded a Young Executive of the Year title by the Australian Financial Review.
WHAT’S YOUR COMPANY’S POINT OF DIFFERENCE?
BCAL Diagnostics is developing a novel blood test for breast cancer detection, one which is more accurate, accessible and available to women of all ages. The BCAL Diagnostics test identifies novel biomarkers called lipids, which are tested by a specialised instrument called a mass spectrometer in a central laboratory.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst women worldwide, with over 1.3 million women diagnosed annually. Early detection of breast cancer, currently via screening with mammography, has greatly assisted increased survival rates.
Although screening for breast cancer via mammography has greatly improved survival, the procedure has several drawbacks. The BCAL Diagnostics test addresses the limitations of mammography, the test is:
- Available to women of all ages (mammography is only available for women 40-74)
- More accurate than mammography (90% compared with mammography 60-70%)
- More readily accessible; wherever blood collections are undertaken, enabling women in remote locations access to regular breast screening (mammography requires the patient to be present at specialised clinic)
- Patient friendly (BCAL Diagnostics test eliminates pain and discomfort associated with mammography, which causes up to 50% women to self exclude from mammography)
- Able to monitor women who have a high risk for breast cancer (in particular younger women)
- Safe (no radiation exposure)
HOW DID HEAD OVER HEELS PROVIDE PRACTICAL SUPPORT?
Heads Over Heels has been so supportive during our journey. The team have been wonderful advisors and helped us in a number of ways from putting together an investor worthy presentation and pitch, inviting us to workshops and other esteemed events and opening the door to their wider community. Above all, the team regularly check in with us and ask us if we need any further help.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST THING THAT HELPED YOU GROW?
Connections. Heads Over Heels Connectors have opened their black books and given us access to so many valuable and beneficial connections. This has been priceless and is exactly what we need as we commercialise our technology.
WHO OR WHAT WERE YOUR “CONNECTIONS FOR GROWTH”?
We are so grateful to the Heads Over Heels team that helped set up the showcase for our introduction to the Heads Over Heels community. At the event we had over 70 offers of help. The biggest links were those to pathology, healthcare funds and investors. I was even featured on Morgans 40 under 40 podcast, which was a great platform too!
WHAT ONE THING WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
Be more confident in myself, earlier on in my journey. It is definitely something that I continue to work on. As women we always need a little push in the self confidence department and I think it is critical to moving forward.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER THE WOMEN FOLLOWING YOU?
Have confidence and go for any opportunity that is given to you. You deserve it and you should take it and give it your best shot. Don’t be afraid of failure. You will be challenged and things will be tough at times. Take it as a lesson and learn from your failures. The path is never straight and narrow. Things challenge and change you along the way and that is ok, you never know where it may lead. So be brave and take risks and put yourself out there.
Seize any opportunity. If you think you can’t do it just try, have a go and learn to do it or learn from it. And along the way be yourself!