A new initiative that aims to establish a “world-leading platform” for collaboration between academia and industry in the development of therapeutics is being launched by the vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge.

The Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences (CATS) aims to support science that forms the basis of new treatments and diagnostics, as well as foster the safe and effective use of existing medicines, working across a variety of disciplines and in partnership with industry.

“With CATS, we will develop a way of fostering and supporting the community in and around Cambridge to develop new concepts, deliver new knowledge, and to produce people who are better educated in all elements of modern therapeutics,” said its director, Professor Chris Lowe. “We believe the opportunities that CATS provides for research, collaboration and education will attract academic and industrial researchers from around the world.”

Cambridge is already home to pharma giants AstraZeneca and Otsuka, while GSK is also a close neighbour. The region has strong clinical trials and clinical science sectors, as well as a network of aligned organisations supporting contract research, and epidemiology and public health networks.

Also, from early next year, the campus will house the Milner Therapeutics Institute, a partner organisation within CATS, which is essentially a 'match-making' service between pharmaceutical companies and researchers at Cambridge University, providing access to novel therapeutic agents across the entire portfolio of drugs being developed by each member firm.

“Healthcare in the future will be provided by a complex interplay of patients, industries and service operators. It will involve sophisticated diagnostic tools, digital scrutiny and interpretation using artificial intelligence, and access to an extensive toolbox of therapeutic approaches, all personalised to the individual patient, and available through a redesigned primary and hospital healthcare environment,” noted vice-chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz.

“There are few places in the world as well placed as the University of Cambridge to take advantage of this highly multidisciplinary scenario. The Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences will ensure that this capacity is fully exploited to speed up the development of new treatments that will benefit patients locally, nationally and internationally.”