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Milner Update: November 2018


The Milner team has expanded in the past few months, with the arrival of our Global Alliance Manager Alison Schuldt and a Computational Biology Research Associate Woodchang Hwang. Meet the team »

The Milner Therapeutics Alliance is also growing. We are delighted to announce that Ferring Pharmaceuticals have joined the Therapeutic Consortium this month, bringing new expertise in reproductive medicine. We also welcome new Affiliated Institutes from South Korea — the Samsung Genome Institute and ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute) — with a particular focus on computational biology that will align with Milner research led by Namshik Han.

We are also delighted that new affiliated companies have joined the Milner Alliance since the summer, bringing the Alliance total to 74 organizations »


The Milner Therapeutics Symposium 2018


Click the images to see more photographs from the Milner Institute's Annual Symposium

The Milner Symposium, which took place on October 1st at West Road, brought together close to 400 attendees across academia and industry. A central theme of the day was the unmet medical needs that require partnerships and innovative approaches, combining academia, charities and industry. Advances across basic and translational research were highlighted in 28 presentations across our keynote and breakout sessions in Oncology, CNS Therapeutics, Anti-Microbial Resistance and the Microbiome, as well as Technology Platforms and Disease Models. Highlights included in vitro models for mechanistically informed disease modelling and drug discovery, use of AI in drug discovery and biomarker development as well as new initiatives such as the London Cancer Hub, The NeuroImmunology Consortium, and the Dementia Discovery Fund.

The symposium was followed by a partnering event in which our Affiliated Institutes were able to meet individually with pharma companies from the Therapeutic Consortium - a speed-dating feat with >130 introductions!


Save the Date!


The next Annual Milner Therapeutics Symposium will be on June 25th 2019, and will be at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. This year we are also partnering the Milner Symposium with an exciting new event - the Next Health World Innovation Forum (June 26-27th) - as part of a new Cambridge biotech week ( The Next Health Forum will aim to give delegates an integrated view of the international healthcare landscape, and will bring together academics, clinicians, industry, funders, start-ups, government and investors.

We hope that you can join us!


Academic Spotlight


Professor Sir Steve O’Rahilly
Co-Director of the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge

Research focus: The causes and metabolic consequences of obesity

Recent advance from the lab: Working with our epidemiological colleagues in the Institute of Metabolic Science, we demonstrated that an impaired ability to store fat safely in subcutaneous adipose tissues of hip and thigh is the most prevalent mechanism underlying susceptibility to insulin resistance in humans (Lotta et al. Nature Genet. 49, 17-26 (2017). Read more »

Key challenge for the field: Understanding why exposure of liver and muscle to excessive nutrients so profoundly and rapidly impairs insulin’s action on glucose metabolism.

Most exciting basic or clinical breakthrough in the field during the past few years: The discovery that cellular stress of various kinds in most tissues results in the production of a hormone, GDF15, that acts solely in the brain where it indices behavioural change designed to ameliorate the stress and avoid the situations leading to its recurrence in the future.


Affiliated Company Spotlight


Andrew Southan
Chief Operating Officer

Metrion BioSciences

Company formed in: 2015, via a management buyout of Xention Limited’s contract research business

Size: SME

Type: Drug discovery, CRO

Who you need to know: Dr Andrew Southan, Chief Operating Officer

Location: GrantaPark, Cambridge

Key research or technology focuses: Ion channel assay development and validation, screening (small molecules and biologics), cardiac safety profiling, translational and phenotypic assay development (including characterisation of induced pluripotent stem cells and primary neurons). We also offer integrated drug discovery services via our strategic partnerships with carefully selected partner companies.

Expertise: Metrion Biosciences employs highly knowledgeable electrophysiologists with considerable experience in the field of ion channel drug discovery and safety pharmacology. Our assay technologies include automated patch clamp, manual patch clamp, microelectrode array and impedance measurement. Our team has in-depth target class knowledge and has successfully facilitated client discovery research programmes from initial concept through to the delivery of clinical candidates.

Find out more about Metrion Biosciences by clicking below:

Jane Reed
Head of Life Science


Company formed in: 2001

Size: SME

Type: Tech platform

Who you need to know: Jane Reed, Head of Life Science

Based in: Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge

Key research or technology focuses: Natural language processing (NLP)-based text mining. Extraction of data attributes, patient data, life science information from unstructured text. Data transformation (unstructured to structured). Document classification. Semantic tagging. Ontologies.

Expertise: Linguamatics is the world-leader in deploying innovative natural language processing (NLP)-based text mining for high-value knowledge discovery and decision support.

Find out more about Linguamatics by clicking below, or emailing

Sarantis Chlamydas
Europe Product Manager

Active Motif

Company formed in: 1999

Size: SME

Who you need to know: Sarantis Chlamydas, Europe product manager

Focus: Epigenetics

Expertise: We provide services and tools for epigenetic studies such as RNA, DNA methylation, histone modifications, chromatin accessibility and transcription regulation.

Find out more about Active Motif by clicking their logo, below, or emailing

Michael J. Comb
President, Chief Executive Officer

Cell Signalling Technology

Company formed in: 1999

Size: Large multi-national

Type: Lab supplier

Who you need to know: Michael J. Comb, President, Chief Executive Officer

Based in: Danvers, MA, USA

Key research or technology focuses:Neuroscience, Cell Biology, Immunology, Epigenetics, Cancer.

Expertise: On the website of Cell Signaling Technology you can find all products in the portfolio and scientific resources (pathways, application guidance and more) to help you further in your individual research.

Find out more about Cell Signalling Technology by clicking their logo, below:

Dr Susanna Lovell
Account Manager


Company formed in: 2005

Size: SME

Type: Biotech

Who you need to know: Dr Susanna Lovell, Account Manager

Based in: UK and Liege, Belgium

Key research or technology focuses: Epigenetics Services: assays and biological sample preparation including: epigenomics profiling services for chromatin assays, genome-wide and targeted DNA methylation analysis, EPIC arrays and RNA analysis; and automated and manual solutions for epigenomics, NGS library preparation, and proteomics assays. Products include: Bioruptor sonication devices for chromatin, DNA, RNA, cells, tissues & protein analysis; and reagent kits for sample prep and validated antibodies

Expertise: Diagenode has a complete solution for epigenomics profiling services including chromatin analysis, whole genome and targeted DNA methylation analysis, and RNA analysis.

Find out more about Diagenode by clicking below:


New Affiliated Companies


Cambridge Cancer Genomics. A precision oncology start-up that enables data-driven solutions for cancer therapy, through use of next generation sequencing and AI to understand a tumour’s evolutionary trajectory and better predict treatment effectiveness. Find out more »

Camena Bioscience Limited. Developing sensor technology that rapidly profiles small molecules, such as metabolites, nutrients or medicines in liquid samples. Find out more »

LabKey. A custom informatics solution provider, centred on an open-source platform, LabKey Server, which offers modular data management tools and resources for research data challenges. Find out more »

Domainex. A drug discovery service company providing innovative approaches and outcomes including: hit finding; multi-parameter lead optimization using a medicinal chemistry approach; and high-throughput gene fragmentation and protein domain expression approach for structural studies. Find out more »

Selvita. An integrated drug discovery partner for pharma and biotech, providing chemistry and biology services at every stage of the early discovery phase up to the preclinical research phase. Find out more »

AI VIVO. An intelligent systems pharmacology platform for accelerating drug discovery, through both disease- or asset-orientated partnerships. Find out more »

BTG. A global healthcare company focused on interventional medicine, with a growing portfolio of products for advancing treatment of cancer, vascular conditions and severe emphysema. Find out more »

Metrion Biosciences. A specialist contract research organization and drug discovery company that aims to be a leading provider of ion channel services and expertise to life sciences industry. Brings substantial experience in providing high quality drug discovery services for ion channel targets. Find out more »

Censo Biotechnologies Ltd. A specialist discovery service company that supports the discovery and development of new targeted treatments for neurodegenerative, neuroinflammatory and rare diseases, by using stem cell technology to predict drug behaviour. Find out more »


Affiliated Company News


Charles River Laboratories has announced its continued commitment to oncology drug discovery with new updates to the Tumour Model Compendium Read more »

Linguamatics and LabKey have announced a collaboration to extract clinical insights from big data in healthcare Read more »

PhoreMost CEO Dr Chris Torrance won the Barclays Start-Up Entrepreneur Award in October. Read more »

Eagle Genomics are partnering with Microsoft Genomics to develop a groundbreaking microbiome data platform, which will be used to focus on microbiome research into immune disorders and antibiotic resistance. Read more »

Charles River and Distributed Bio have entered an exclusive partnership to create an integrated antibody discovery and development platform Read more »

Charles River presented Collaborative Methods in neuroscience drug discovery at Neuroscience 2018 Read more »

Healx have co-published a Bioinformatics Study with Andres Bender’s lab at the University of Cambridge to develop new ways to predict disease relationships. Read more »

Benevolent AI has been awarded technology pioneer status by the World Economic Forum. Read more »

Intellegens , Optibrium and Medicines Discovery Catapult have secured a grant from Innovate UK to fund a £1 million project to apply machine learning in drug discovery. Read more »

MedAnnex has won an award for innovation in Autoimmune disease treatment at Corporate LiveWire’s Healthcare and Life Science Awards 2018. Read more »

Linguamatics held the Text Mining Summit 2018 in New Hampshire, which showcased Natural Language Processing use cases from bench to bedside. Read more »

Ubiquigent have been awarded an Innovate UK grant for the development of novel compounds to seed a neurodegeneration drug discovery programme. Read more »

DefiniGEN has been licenced CRISPR gene editing technology by ERS Genomics to develop human cell models to support the preclinical development of therapeutics. Read more »

Storm Therapeutics has received Innovate UK funding together with the University of Cambridge to develop an analysis platform using the data warehouse software InterMine to advance its cancer research. Read more »

Metrion Biosciences chas made senior appointments to strengthen its drug discovery leadership team. Read more »

Censo Biotechnologies has announced that it is extending its research focus to include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Read more »

Selvita presented new data from SEL120 program at the 30th EORTC-NCI-AACR Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics Symposium in November. Read more »




Open Access to Drug Discovery
23rd November 2018, Cambridge

Hosted by the Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences, this event will provide insight to the vast array of open access opportunities available to researchers who are wishing to start/progress on a drug discovery pathway. Short presentations from AstraZeneca, BioAscent, ChEMBL, EU OPENSCREEN, GSK, J&Ji, Lilly and UCB will describe chemical databases and tools, compound libraries, compound screening services and antibody development opportunities which are available.
Read more »

How to get into Y Combinator
26th November 2018, Cambridge

Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge (EPOC) will be hosting Dr. Tom Simmons, CEO of Cambridge Glycoscience and former president of EPOC, for an interactive discussion on starting a biotech business in Cambridge and moving to Silicon Valley to take part in Y Combinator (the world's largest accelerator programme that has incubated the likes if AirBnb, Dropbox, Reddit).
Read more »

Enterprise Tuesday – making the right connections
27th November 2018, Cambridge

How do you hone your networking skills and manage your contacts effectively? Where can you access people and build new contacts? How do relationships – either social or professional – impact on the business journey? Our panellists talk about their experiences, share advice and answer your questions.
Read more »

How to start a business from scratch in Cambridge
11th December 2018, Cambridge

EPOC are pleased to host George Neville-Jones from Metro Bank, Kelly Stevenson from Deloitte and Chris Keen from Taylor Vinters who will discuss the ins and outs of starting a business in Cambridge. The talk will cover every conceivable thing you might want to know when setting up a business in Cambridge.
Read more »

Advances at the Interface between metabolism and epigenetics
16th & 17th January 2019, Cambridge

Advances at the interface between metabolism and epigenetics.
Read more »

ELRIG Meeting: CRISPR in Drug Discovery 2019
27th & 28th February 2019, Oxford

From targets to therapeutics.
Read more »

Training course: Genetic Engineering of Mammalian Stem Cells
10th -22nd March 2019, Cambridge

Comprehensive practical training in the genetic manipulation of mammalian stem cells, focusing on human iPS cells.
Read more »

ELRIG Conference: Research and Innovation 2019
2-3 April 2019, Cambridge

Innovations to drive future drug discovery
Read more »

Storm Therapeutics Conference
17th - 19th September 2019, Cambridge

RNA epigenetics in human disease.
Read more »




Full-Stack Developer, LabKey. Read more »

Medicinal chemists and in vitro bioscientists, Bioascent. Read more »

Director of Project Management, R&D, Abcam. Read more »

Director of Strategy, Immuno-oncology, Abcam. Read more »

Director Biomarker Discovery, Cambridge Epigenetix. Read more »

Machine Learning Researcher, Cambridge Cancer Genomics. Read more »

Clinician Programmer, Cambridge Cancer Genomics. Read more »

Senior Manager Clinical Data Management, Amgen. Read more »

Manager, Statistical Programming, Amgen. Read more »

Research Scientist – Cellular and Molecular Biology, Charles River. Read more »

Computational Systems Biologist, Healx. Read more »

Machine Learning Engineer/Research Scientist, Healx. Read more »

Graduate Full Stack Developer, JavaScript, Linguamatics. Read more »

Senior Search Developer, Repositive. Read more »

Senior Research Associate, Biology, O2H. Read more »

Research Associate II, Genomics, Active Motif. Read more »

Senior Research Associate, Active Motif. Read more »

Scientific Consultant/Field Application Scientist, Genedata screener, Genedata. Read more »

Head of Translational Sciences, Definiens. Read more »

Field application scientist, Genestack. Read more »

Gene Editing Scientist, DefiniGEN. Read more »

Bioinformatics Scientist, Diagenode. Read more »

Full Stack Developer, Intellegens. Read more »

Project Manager – Biosample coordination, Censo Biotechnologies. Read more »

Biology Lead, Senior Scientist, Selvita. Read more »

Contact us

The Milner Institute
University of Cambridge
Tennis Court Road
Cambridge CB2 1QN, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1223 767111 |

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