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Dr James Nathan (Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease) speaking at the launch of the Milner Seminar Series last month

Milner Update: February 2020


We are thrilled that the new healthcare accelerator Start Codon, led by Jason Mellad, has moved into the institute. Cohorts of five selected healthcare and life science companies will be based in the Milner during a six month programme, which includes significant investment, access to this unique lab environment and an extensive mentorship programme. Find out more about Start Codon by clicking the logo below.

We also celebrated the launch of the new Milner Seminar Series last month. Many thanks to our speakers James Nathan (Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease) and Namshik Han (Milner Therapeutics Institute) for fantastic talks, and to attendees who contributed to a lively discussion. Our next event will be on February 27th and will be followed by a networking reception. These seminars are open to all and we hope to see you there! Read more »


New Affiliated Companies


We are delighted to welcome two new companies to our Affiliated Company scheme this month. Follow the links below to find out more:

Genome Biologics. A drug discovery company who apply AI-driven pre-clinical disease modelling for drug positioning and development, with a focus on cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and cancer.

Alloy Therapeutics. Developing foundational drug discovery platforms including immunocompetent transgenic mice for in vivo human antibody discovery.

If you would like to find out more about becoming affiliated, email our Global Alliance Manager, Alison Schuldt:


Register Now: Milner Symposium 2020


Registration is now open for the Milner Therapeutics Symposium on June 12th. The Symposium is free, and open to academics and Milner affiliated companies only. This year’s plenary speakers will include Richard Gilbertson and Sarah Bohndiek (both Cambridge Cancer Centre), Giovanna Mallucci (UK Dementia Research Institute), Madeline Lancaster (MRC LMB), Jonathan Weissman (UCSF), and Michael White (Pfizer).

More details & register »


Academic Spotlight


We are delighted that Dr Konstantinos Tzelepis has moved into the Milner Centre for Pathway Analysis as a new Academic in Residence. Kostas will bring vital know-how in both the design of CRISPR screens for improved disease understanding, and also the development of in vivo and in vitro assays for genetic and pharmacological validation of promising targets.

“The Milner team is excited about working closely with Kostas to validate the targets from our computational pipeline, and foster further collaborations with industry. Kostas has a strong translational profile and his functional genomics approaches are applicable to many therapeutic areas. We look forward to creating a critical mass in technical expertise in the Milner Therapeutics Institute.” says Deputy Director Kathryn Chapman.

Read more about the Tzelepis Group by clicking here »


Consortium Spotlight


Dr Ann Connolly

Senior Director, New Ventures & Transactions,
Infectious Disease & Vaccines
J&J Innovation

Areas of current interest for J&J Innovation:
J&J Innovation is a healthcare company that spans pharmaceuticals, consumer health and medical devices. The role of J&J Innovation is to seek ground-breaking science from academia and biotechnology companies in all of these sectors to keep people well at every stage of life. In pharma we work in: Oncology, Neuroscience, Infectious diseases & Vaccines, Immunology and Cardiovascular & Metabolic diseases. Details of specific areas of interest within these fields can be found here »

Key industry challenge for the field:
We have seen significant progress in combatting infectious diseases through the constant evolution of great science, but despite this we still have no vaccines for life-threatening diseases such as HIV, or effective cures for chronic HBV. New therapies are needed for respiratory pathogens, which continue to evolve and evade existing drugs via the emergence of resistance. Around 15 million people every year die from infectious diseases, and millions more are hospitalised, generating a huge health burden for society. We are working in prevention through vaccination but there is still huge unmet medical need for treatment options in viral and bacterial infections.

Most exciting basic or clinical breakthrough in the past few years:
Working in Infectious Diseases, I would have to say it’s the progress of our Ebola vaccine programme, particularly as it is a great example of collaborating to achieve success. The West Africa epidemic in 2014 prompted a collaboration between J&J, a European vaccine company, and global funding initiatives to develop a vaccine which has now been administered to more than 30,000 people across Africa. It is inspiring to witness collaboration on such an international scale and to recognise that only by working in global partnership can we try to address major healthcare crises such as this.

Read more about Ann Connolly by clicking here »


Affiliated Company Spotlight


Dr Tom Whitehead
Head of Machine Learning


Company formed in: 2017

Size: Start-up

Type: Specialist machine learning software provider for sparse and noisy data.

Who you need to know: Dr Tom Whitehead, Head of Machine Learning.

Location: Cambridge, UK.

Can provide expertise in: Our technology efficiently deals with the gaps, missing information and inconsistencies that are present in your data. We focus on optimizing new compounds and peptides by combining disparate data sources and novel deep learning methods.

Find out more about Intellegens by by clicking the logo below.


Affiliated Company News


Amgen scientists published a Review article in Mol. Cell on the harnessing the power of targeted protein degradation approaches including PROTACs and molecular glues, and application in cancer clinical trials. Read more »

GSK and CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, announced a new collaboration aimed at helping the global effort to develop a vaccine for the 2019-nCoV virus. Read more »

AstraZeneca have entered into a strategic partnership with leading Singapore healthcare innovators and organisations to leverage AI, big data and precision medicine. Read more »

Ferring Pharmaceuticals’ company Rebiotix Inc. announced the completed enrolment for the first Phase 3 clinical trial in the microbiome industry, testing a new treatment for Clostridioides difficile infection. Read more »

bitbio and Charles River announced a strategic partnership that will increase Charles River’s portfolio of translational drug discovery technologies through bit bio’s unique ability to generate authentic human cells at scale. Read more »

Camena Bioscience announced the achievement of another significant DNA synthesis technology milestone, using gSynth technology to produce a whole synthetic 2.7kb plasmid. Read more »

Intellegens has been shortlisted as a Cofinitive 21towatch company. Read more »

Linguamatics were awarded Questex’s 2019 Fierce Innovation Award for their IQVIA Linguamatics Natural Language Processing (NLP) platform. Read more »

Black Belt TX and Praxis Biotech have entered into a strategic partnership to jointly discover and develop new first-in-class small molecule therapeutics. Read more »

Lifebit were featured in an article highlighting a JLabs & Innovation Forum meeting on Personalizing Healthcare through AI Read more »

Domainex announced the appointment of Tom Mander as Chief Executive Officer, who will take over upon retirement of Trevor Perrior in April 2020. Read more »

PhoreMost announced appointment of a non-exective Director and Senior Director of Technology for their SITESEEKER® screening platform. Read more »

Eurofins Discovery announced commercial cooperation with the CRO PharmaResources, providing expedited access to Eurofins Discovery’s pharmacology and ADMET portfolio to accelerate client’s drug discovery timelines. Read more »

BioAscent were shortlisted as finalists in the Business Leadership and the Rising Stars categories at this year’s Scottish Life Sciences Awards. Read more »

Vernalis Research and Servier announced the achievement of a milestone in their most recent oncology drug discovery collaboration on an undisclosed target. Read more »

Eagle Genomics have established a US hub in New York with appointment of Sam Globus as Vice President of North American Operations. Read more »

LabKey have launched a new sample management software, with data integration and workflow features for easier sample processing. Read more »


Events & Opportunities


Milner Seminar Series
27th February, Cambridge

A new monthly seminar series, which includes talks from academic and industry scientists focused on disease understanding and therapeutic approaches. This month’s speakers are Professor Ludovic Vallier (Wellcome MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute) and Dr Pal Mander (GlaxoSmithKline). Talks are followed by a networking reception. No registration required. Read more »

Joint translational awards from Action Medical Research and LifeArc
Deadline for outline applications: Tuesday 3 March
Deadline for full applications: Tuesday 30 June

Action Medical Research and LifeArc want to improve the lives of children suffering from rare disease and are working together to co-fund translational, rare disease research projects. The joint fund will be used to support medical research projects from across the UK that have moved beyond a basic understanding of disease mechanism into the development of an intervention (therapeutic, diagnostic or device). Applications are invited for projects that: address a significant, unmet need for paediatric rare disease patients; develop novel or existing therapeutic entities, devices or diagnostics in a pre-clinical or clinical (phases1/2) setting; have a credible path to patient delivery; are target-driven with a milestoned plan of work; have a strong scientific rationale. Read more »

Wellcome Trust Developing Concept Fund and Medical Research Council Confidence - Launch event
5th March, Cambridge

CATS and OTR invite you to the Launch Event of Wellcome Trust (WT) Developing Concept Fund and Medical Research Council (MRC) Confidence in Concept fund. Please contact Cathy Boucher or Estelle Bernard-Fichet if you are planning on coming to the event, or to express an interest in the funding.

ELRIG CRISPR in Drug Discovery 2020: From Targets to Therapeutics
4th & 5th March, Cambridge

This meeting will focus on the application of genome engineering to identify novel drug targets through large scale CRISPR based functional genomics studies, developing advanced cellular and in vivo disease models for target validation, and pioneering applications in therapeutic genome editing. Read more »

Medical i-Teams presentations
10th March, Cambridge

Will include presentations on a device to enhance fine motor skills, new ways to monitor blood glucose, and a spinal neurostimulation implant. Medical i-Teams investigate the best applications and routes to market for new university inventions, by interviewing relevant experts, clinicians and patient advocates. Read more »

Cambridge New Therapeutics Forum (CamNTF)
11th March, Cambridge

Hosted by the Cambridge Alliance on Medicines Safety. This meeting will have a special focus on toxicological considerations and safety assessments in the development of therapeutics. Will include talks from the Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit, Professor Anne Willis OBE, Dr Rhiannon David of AstraZeneca and Dr James Thaventhiran of the MRC Toxicology Unit and the CRUK Cambridge Institute. Followed by networking session over food and drinks. Read more »

CUED Bioengineering Seminar
13th March, Cambridge

This half-day conference will showcase current collaborations between engineers, scientists and the wider biological and biomedical community, and aims to build bridges between researchers and practitioners in these areas. The keynote address from Manohar Bance (Professor of Otology and Skull Base Surgery, University of Cambridge) will draw on his experience of collaborating with engineers in the scientific understanding and clinical treatment of disorders of hearing and balance. Read more »

Impulse Programme
Deadline: 15th March

Do you want to learn what it takes to bring a new idea to market and test your innovative concept? Impulse serves as a catalyst for entrepreneurship in individuals and organisations. The core of Impulse’s approach is to engage experienced entrepreneurs to act as role models and to provide guidance at the heart of the Cambridge Phenomenon. Read more »

Cambridge Gravity Lecture & Award 2020
16th March, Cambridge

Jeniffer Doudna will become the third recipient of the Cambridge Gravity Award. Professor Doudna will give an inspirational talk, discussing CRISPR Technology and the Future of Genome Editing. Read more »

Pushing the boundaries of NGS: transforming cancer ED and monitoring
16th March, Cambridge

Dr Leonie de Visser (Global Oncology Lead at Roche Diagnostics) will present Roche’s plans for research and development in this area, including monitoring ctDNA for cancer detection and recurrence. Followed by a networking lunch and 1:1 meetings. Read more »

BIA Networking Lunch
17th March, Cambridge

This event will focus on the theme of how companies can overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities associated with growth. Read more »

East of England Global Health Conference: Research, Practice, Education
19th March, Cambridge

An interdisciplinary conference on the research, practice and education of global health. Keynote address by Dame Sally Davies. Organised by Cambridge Global Health Partnerships in collaboration with the PublicHealth@Cambridge Network at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health. Read more »

Rosetrees Trust 2020 Enterprise Fellowships
Deadline for applications: Tuesday 31 March

Enterprise Fellowships are aimed specifically at recently qualified postdoctoral researchers primarily in the fields of engineering, physical sciences, maths and computer science, who wish to develop a long-term programme of biomedical research. Awards are up to £180,000 over three years. Read more »

ELRIG Research and Innovation 2020
31st March & 1st April, Oxford

The 2020 ELRIG Research & Innovation conference will discuss how the most promising new biology is being identified and explore emerging technologies and innovations to enable this science to be translated into successful therapeutics. Read more »

C2D3 Research Symposium
22nd April, Cambridge

During this one-day symposium, leading Cambridge academics and business leaders will discuss the use of advanced data science methodologies in real-world applied applications. Keynote speakers include Professor Neil Lawrence (DeepMind Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Cambridge) and Dr Orlando Machado (Chief Data Scientist of Aviva Quantum). Read more »

Abcam meeting: Epigenetics and disease
18th May, Cambridge

This meeting is to celebrate the arrival of Abcam headquarters onto the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. It is focused on Epigenetics, a field which was in its infancy when Abcam was founded 21 years ago. Talks will be followed by tours and drinks reception at Abcam headquarters.
Read more »

28th June to 3rd July, Cambridge

Opportunity for biotech and tech entrepreneurs to accelerate their innovations at Ignite 2020. The programme is an intensive, one-week experience suitable for those working or conducting research in the high technology or biotechnology sectors who already have a business idea, project or early stage venture. Application deadline is Monday 25 May. Read more »

Milner Therapeutics Symposium
12th June, Cambridge

The annual Milner Therapeutics Symposium is an opportunity for scientists from academia and industry to discuss their latest research and its potential to be applied in pharma and biotech towards new treatments. Plenary speakers will include Richard Gilbertson and Sarah Bohndiek (Cambridge Cancer Centre), Giovanna Mallucci (UK Dementia Research Institute), Madeline Lancaster (MRC LMB), Jonathan Weissman (UCSF), and Michael White (Pfizer). Read more »

International Brain Tumour Summer School
27th - 30th July, Cambridge

CRUK Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence first International summer school, focusing on Preclinical Studies. The summer school is for students, postdocs and junior group leaders who are interested in designing and performing accurate preclinical studies with the aim to take new treatments for paediatric brain tumours into the clinic. Talks from experts in the field of brain tumours; academic and industry researchers, neuropathologists, radiologists, medicinal chemists and clinicians. Read more »

Contact us

The Milner Institute
Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre
University of Cambridge
Puddicombe Way
Cambridge CB2 0AW, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1223 767111 |

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