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Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences


Advancing breast cancer research by collaboration with industry

Dr Christine Watson is a Professor of Pathology at the University of Cambridge and her group carries out research to develop new therapeutics for breast cancer. In 2016 Dr Jessie Hitchcock, a post-doc in the Watson lab spent six months working at MedImmune on a full-time basis to advance her project on the progression of pregnancy-associated breast cancer. This placement was supported by the University’s Research Exchange Fellowship scheme, funded by the MRC.  

"While Jessie was at MedImmune, she was able to develop a new assay to investigate the effect of these cells on adaptive immune responses. Her work has added further depth to our understanding of tumour myeloid cell biology, and has given us new opportunities to investigate the effect of our novel therapies on these cells"

Nadia Luheshi, MedImmune

£500K translational funding bid success for development of a real-time brain chemistry sensor

With the support of Entrepreneur-in-Residence John Pritchard, Research Fellow Dr Tanya Hutter led a successful application to the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Challenge Awards, which are themed calls for funding in areas of unmet clinical need. The grant awarded was in excess of £500,000 (read more...)

“The meeting with John was extremely useful. He helped us understand the process of medical device development, to define a commercialisation plan, specific project steps and timeline. It’s really important to know this early on in the development to ensure successful translation of research to the clinic.”

Dr Tanya Hutter, Department of Chemistry 


Digi‐Vis: an all‐in‐one digital visual function assessment system

Dr Louise Allen is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and an Associate Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. After meeting with Entrepreneur-in-Residence, John Pritchard, Louise successfully applied for funding from Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP) and from the MRC Confidence-in-Concepts fund to advance development of Digi‐Vis – a portable, user‐friendly computerized system for easy, quick and cheap vision testing of infants, children and adults (read more...)

“As a full time ophthalmologist I knew the clinical need and how to design the solution for it but didn’t  know how to progress the project further. The advice I have received from John and the team from Cambridge Enterprise regarding IP, funding and future commercialization has been integral in shaping the direction of this project.”

Dr Louise Allen, Addenbrooke's Hospital 

Bioinformatics biotech helps drive forward product development

While she was employed as a post-doc at the CRUK Cambridge Centre, under the supervision of Dr George Vassiliou, Dr Yvonne Teng spent 6 months on a Research Exchange Fellowship working at Genestack, a Cambridge based small company specialising in bioinformatics solutions for R&D (read more...)

“This is an excellent scheme that in our case has acted as a catalyst for understanding how to work with industry and has enabled us to forge an excellent working relationship with Genestack, a company whose expertise is closely aligned with our future aims. We hope to introduce the application/software we have developed to the routine diagnosis of patients with haematological cancers.”

Dr George Vassiliou, Sanger Institute

Clinical School collaboration with German SME

In 2015, Professor Fiona Gilbert, Professor of Radiology in the School of Clinical Medicine, successfully applied for a grant from our Biomedical Research Exchange Fellowship scheme to carry out collaborative work with iThera Medical, a Munich-based spin out company from the German Research Centre for Environmental Health. The funding meant that Dr Stefan Morscher from iThera Medical could travel to Cambridge on a fortnightly basis to help Fiona’s PhD student Oshi Abeyakoon develop a prototype optoacoustic breast cancer imaging device for use in the clinic, including a user friendly functioning analysis package (read more...)       

“A lot of knowledge gained from the exchange has been fed back to R&D activities in hardware and software [at iTheraMedical]. I was very happy with how everything went and I believe the aims of the exchange were fully achieved.” 

Dr Stefan Morscher, iThera Medical


Entrepreneur-in-Residence helps researcher to secure £1.5m funding from the MRC

Professor Franklin Aigbirhio works in the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre. His group investigates the development and application of molecular imaging probes, in particular for the in vivo imaging technique Positron Emission Tomography (PET). PET scanning is widely used for imaging tumours and for clinical diagnosis of certain brain diseases such as those causing various types of dementia. In 2016, in collaboration with other researchers at Cambridge and Uppsala University Sweden, he decided to apply for a grant from the MRC’s Biomedical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) to develop and trial a particular molecular probe for PET imaging of the adrenal gland. The aim is to improve diagnosis and inform treatment of PHA, thus addressing a significant unmet need (read more...)

"We submitted a strong scientific proposal to the MRC. However, the funding panel had several questions throughout the application process regarding our IP and commercialisation strategy. Entrepreneur-in-Residence, John Pritchard’s advice was central in responding to these questions and putting in place a strategy that help convince the panel to award funding."

Dr Franklin Aigbirhio, Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre, Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Accessing large datasets key to modelling effects of anti-cancer compound combinations

Dr Krishna Bulusu, a senior postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Chemistry split his time 80/20 between AstraZeneca and the University during a 6-month Research Exchange Fellowship in the first half 2016. As part of Dr Andreas Bender’s group, Krishna particularly focussed on exploiting the wealth of biological and chemical knowledge available to generate biologically meaningful mode-of-action hypotheses for combinations of chemicals (read more...) 

“The main aim for the exchange fellowship was to build an in silico pipeline for the prediction of combination therapy in the treatment of cancer, which was made possible by access to AstraZeneca’s combination therapy dataset.”

Dr Krishna Bulusu, Department of Chemistry & AstraZeneca