The Entrepreneurship Hatchery  ☰ 
Cytospan Technologies’ founders Chris and Michael


Chris Pettigrew, Michael Pettigrew

Chris and Michael approached the Hatchery with a business plan and intellectual property that they were passionate about. Their brilliant idea was to commercialize a biochemical platform to facilitate research into aging-associated diseases. They had the drive and passion to implement their idea, and the Hatchery was there to support them in this endeavor.

The Idea

While at the University of Toronto, Chris joined a laboratory that researched genome stability, aging, and cancer in yeast. During his position, it became apparent that one of the key experiments performed by the lab – the measurement of replicative lifespan, a powerful experiment that can be used when researching cancer and other aging-associated diseases – was very difficult to perform. The micromanipulator technology was slow, low-throughput, and laborious. With his brother Michael, who was studying biomedical engineering, they began to work to automate this experiment. If successful, this advancement would significantly improve experimental accuracy, increase the rate of data collection, and lower lab operating costs. Towards this end, Cytospan Technologies was founded in early 2012.

Chris Pettigrew | CEO, Co-Founder

Christopher obtained his Honours B.Sc. in Cellular & Molecular Biology and Economics from the University of Toronto. He has extensive research experience using yeast as a model organism. He is particularly familiar with cellular lifespan assays and the utility of various yeast models of human cellular aging.

Michael Pettigrew | CTO, Co-Founder

Michael graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science, specializing in biomedical engineering, and a Certificate in Engineering Business. His primary expertise is in the area of cellular bioengineering. He has worked in a number of leading laboratories on a diverse range of projects in the fields of synthetic biology, computational neuroscience, and biophotonics.

Journey with Hatchery

The Cytospan team approached the Hatchery with an idea, a business plan, and a preliminary design. They were confident that their technology would advance research into aging-associated diseases. The Hatchery provided extensive one-on-one mentorship, as well as guidance on the fundraising process. The Hatchery also facilitated access to university resources including faculty members for the advisory board, and laboratory space and equipment for continued technology development. The Hatchery network was also there to support them during the process.

The Results

A start-up is not just an idea – it is an idea in motion. The supporting insights and start-up expertise provided by the Hatchery, combined with the talent and work ethic of the Cytospan team, provided a roadmap to success. Michael and Chris have both since graduated from the University of Toronto. Currently, the Cytospan team is still working hard to revolutionize research into aging-associated diseases, and we are excited to see the progress that they make in the near future!