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Like many events in 2020, our annual Therapeutics Symposium looked a little bit different this year!

Milner Update: July 2020


A snapshot of our CNS Therapeutics Live Q&A Session, from the 2020 Milner Therapeutics Symposium

Thank you to all who joined us for the Milner Symposium series of online events this past month. This was a very different experience, but we were delighted to have over 850 registrants! It was inspiring to learn about advances in disease understanding and therapeutic approaches from our fantastic speakers and to hear the insightful discussion triggered by participants.

If you attended any of the sessions so far, please do fill in our feedback form to let us know what you thought!

If you missed any sessions, these can still be accessed online throughout the summer. Please also join us on 17th September for the final session on Oncology, which will be run live!

  • You can learn more about the Institute and Alliance members in our new online brochure and booklet by clicking here »

  • If you have not already registered to gain access to the talks, please sign up by clicking here »


New Affiliates


is an outsourced drug discovery and outsourced platform, with current services spanning from chemistry support to lead optimization of small molecules, peptides and proteins such as antibodies, and in vitro and in vivo biology capabilities.

is a provider of specialist precision reagents and services, including novel technologies for imaging live cells and for improving the therapeutic viability of molecules with poor pharmacokinetic and chemical properties.


University Enterprise Zone: Update


The Milner Therapeutics Institute and strategic partners* will launch a digital platform this September as part of the new University Enterprise Zone (UEZ) initiative. This key online tool will support interdisciplinary collaborations and interactions between a wide range of health-tech stakeholders. The platform will also showcase events from across the University and cluster and highlight active funding calls.

For more information on the launch and how to join the platform please email .

*Maxwell Centre, Office for Translational Research, Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences, Cambridge University Health Partners.


Save the Date


Monday 12th October 2020
‘Translating Genomics in Oncology’

Did you know that the Milner is part of the CRUK Cambridge Centre? We deliver the Onco-Innovation Programme, and together with the University Enterprise Zone and Early Detection Programme, we are hosting a virtual event focusing on translating genomics in oncology.

With a focus on increasing multidisciplinary research that supports innovative outcomes, this event will explore different routes for translating research, discuss the associated challenges, and highlight relevant case studies.

The event is aimed at early career researchers, but anyone with an interest in genomics, research translation and entrepreneurship will benefit from attending. The event will also see the launch of a multidisciplinary collaborative challenge with exciting prizes to be won!

Watch this space and our events page for further details and registration information.


Accelerator Spotlight


Start Codon, the new healthcare accelerator based in the Milner Therapeutics Institute, has announced the first cohort of four companies who have been enrolled in the programme. The teams from Spirea, Semarion, Enhanc3D Genomics and Drishti Discoveries made their debut presentations at both the Milner Symposium event and ONHelix, also discussing their experience in the programme and lessons learnt.

Interested companies are encouraged to contact the team at any time; further details can be found by clicking the logo below!


Affiliated Company Spotlight


Mike Piper, CCO


Company formed in: 2013

Size: SME

Type: CRO

Who you need to know: Mike Piper, CCO

Location: Newhouse, Scotland

Key research or technology focus: Integrated drug discovery: de novo assay development, target analysis, bespoke screening strategies, compound screening, medicinal and synthetic chemistry, computational chemistry, all with access to a library of 125k lead-like compounds via Compound Cloud.

Can provide expertise in: Our small molecule drug discovery expertise ranges from assay development through to preclinical candidates across all biological target classes and major therapeutic indications. With our compound management service, BioAscent gives customers the peace of mind that their compounds are stored securely, their inventory is up-to-date and trackable, and compounds can be accessed and delivered quickly and easily – something that is especially critical for innovative biotechs working with a network of CROs. The Compound Cloud service provides on-demand access to 125k lead-like compounds in screen-ready format.

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


Affiliated Company News


AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 has shown robust immune responses in all participants in Phase I/II trial. Read more »

Pfizer and Biontech have announced an agreement with US government for doses ordering of their mRNA-based vaccine candidate against SARS-COV-2. Read more »

Johnson & Johnson announced acceleration of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with phase 1/2a clinical trial to begin in second half of July. Read more »

Shionogi, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Eisai, Johnson & Johnson, and Amgen are among the 23 companies who are supporting the AMR Action Fund, which aims to bring 2-4 new antibiotics to market in the next decade. Read more »

Nemesis Bioscience and Shionogi have announced a new research collaboration to further develop Nemesis Transmid Technology© for the treatment and/or prevention of hard-to-treat respiratory infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Read more »

Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Igenomix have announced a two-year research collaboration aimed at the discovery of novel targets and disease mechanisms in infertility and pregnancy-related conditions, including preeclampsia. Read more »

Astex Pharmaceuticals, Taiho Oncology, and Otsuka Pharmaceutical announce FDA and Health Canada approval of new oral therapy for intermediate and high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. Read more »

Intellegens have been awarded funding by Innovate UK to model COVID-19 data for improving pandemic management of future coronavirus outbreaks and other infectious diseases. Read more »

Qkine have secured £1.5 million series A funding to accelerate global scale-up and expand leadership team. Read more »

Both Healx and AI VIVO received recognition at this year’s CogX awards, including Best AI Product in Health (Healx), Best Innovation in Pharma (AI VIVO), Outstanding Achievement in Social Good Use of AI (Healx) and Outstanding AI Accelerator/Incubator (Healx). Read more »

Bit Bio secured $41.5 million Series A funding from top life sciences investors. Read more »

Abcam have begun a new partnership with Cancer Research UK for the development and commercialization of novel custom antibodies to support the acceleration of cancer research. Read more »

Diagenode announced the winners of their researcher call for DNA methylation analysis solutions. Read more »

Eagle Genomics senior bioinformatician Alex Mitchell shared his thoughts on how to harness the potential impact of the microbiome. Read more »

Genestack announced a multi-year agreement with AstraZeneca for use of its flagship multi-omics data catalogue, curation and integrative search product, Omics Data Manager (ODM). Read more »

Aptamer Group and Cytiva have formed a new collaboration for the development of a COVID-19 rapid test. Read more »

Domainex has licenced use of small molecule inhibitors for acute myeloid leukaemia in a new division for drug development at Invivoscribe. Read more »

DefiniGEN has identified iPSC-derived intestinal organoids that could be used to help structure in vitro studies of the biology of SARS-CoV2 infection across cohorts of multiple patients. Read more »

Microbiotica, Cancer Research UK and Cambridge University Hospitals announced a collaboration to identify and develop microbiome co-therapeutics and biomarkers for cancer patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Read more »

Vernalis Research have expanded their collaboration with Servier for discovery of novel oncology targets. Read more »

BenevolentAI have announced clinical data validating an AI-predicted hypothesis for Baricitinib as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Read more »

Lifebit closed a $7.5 million Series A funding round led by Idinvest Partners. Read more »

Medannex have been awarded Innovate UK funding for novel cancer therapeutic development. Read more »

Biomax Informatics announced the presentation of NICARATM — a novel, unique and cost-effective neuroimaging solution focusing on connectomics. Read more »




CATS Gateway to Translation (GtoT) seminar series
Wednesday 12th August, 4-5pm, Zoom

In this second talk, participants will be introduced to CATS' new Expert in Residence(EiR) Adrian Alexa. Alexa’s area of expertise lies in data science, bioinformatics and software development. More details will follow shortly on the CATS website. Read more »

The Wellcome Sanger Institute Virtual Seminar Series
19th August, 4pm, Online

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is pleased to launch a new series of virtual seminars, showcasing the diversity of genomic research at the Institute aimed at tackling some of the biggest challenges in human health and disease. At the first event Peter Campbell will present research into somatic mutations found in normal tissues. Read more »

ELRIG Drug Discovery Digital
6th - 16th October, Online

Drug Discovery Digital will include cutting edge talks and examples of new directions in drug discovery. The scientific programme will be held over a 2-week period and will feature over 50 world-class speakers with 8 main session tracks and 2 plenary keynote speakers. For 2020 these are: Darrin Disley (Mogrify) and Professor Sarah J Tabrizi (UCL). Read more »

Milner Seminars Online
22nd October, Online

This monthly seminar series will be back in the autumn beginning with an online talk from Dr Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Read more »




Wellcome Trust Access to Expertise
Deadline for applications: 15th August

Applications are invited from University of Cambridge affiliated PIs for up to £15K to support outsourcing of external expertise (consultancy) for ongoing and new translational research projects in order to accelerate the development of therapeutics and diagnostics. Read more »

GSK Functional Genomics Call 2020
Deadline for EOI: 28th August

GSK has issued a call for proposals in functional genomics for collaborative research. The call is also open to the Babraham Institute, CUHP, the EBI, the LMB, and the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Collaborative proposals between the University and any of these institutes are also welcome. PIs whose EoIs are successful will be connected to a GSK counterpart to work up a full proposal. Funding will be available for a post-doctoral researcher for two years in the first instance. Find out more here, and please contact Dr Vibhuti Patel for further details.

Wellcome Trust Developing Concept Fund and Medical Research Council Confidence in Concept
Deadline: 31st August

The following calls for internal pump-priming funding for biomedical translational research are now open:

  • The MRC Confidence in Concept fund is intended to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach.
  • The WT Developing Concept Fund is aiming at an earlier stage of translational research, with a view to having sufficient evidence to support an MRC CiC award in the future.
Read more »

KQ Labs Accelerator
Deadline: 1st September

The KQ Labs accelerator programme at the Francis Crick Institute welcome applications from any early stage data driven health companies. The 16-week programme includes funding (£40k) in the form of a convertible loan, weekly workshops with experts tailored to digital health, training in transferable skills, mentoring by a hand-picked network of experts, and discussions with investors and corporates. Read more »

Pfizer Centre for Therapeutic Innovation call 2020
Deadline: 28th September

Pfizer are keen to hear from researchers with potential collaborative projects who would like to work together with one of their Centres for Therapeutic Innovation.

They are particularly interested in research proposals in the following topics, with application in one of their core research focus areas (oncology, inflammation & immunology, internal medicine and rare diseases): DNA damage response and replicative stress; Repeat Expansion Diseases; Cellular Senescence; Tissue-Immune System Crosstalk.

You can find out more about the Centres for Therapeutic Innovation here, and if you have any questions regarding potential submissions, please contact Milner Global Alliance Manager Alison Schuldt »

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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