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Key academics & members of the Milner Consortium gathered this month for the launch of the Milner Therapeutics Institute in the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre

Milner Update: November 2019


This month, we celebrated the launch of the Milner Therapeutics Institute in the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre. Key academics and consortium members gathered in our brand new auditorium. Our Director, Tony Kouzarides, gave the vision of the Milner Therapeutics Institute and lead scientists presented work from the different units within our new building, namely the Centre for Pathway Analysis, the Cambridge Centre for Proteomics, the AstraZeneca-Cancer Research UK Functional Genomics Centre, and the Start Codon accelerator for therapeutic companies. Read more »

We are also excited to announce the launch of our new Milner Seminar Series in January 2020. These monthly events in the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre will bring together a mixed academic-industry audience and will focus on advances in disease understanding and therapeutic approaches. 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:

JW Pharma. Pharma company with headquarters based in South Korea, with a increasing research focus on oncology, immunology and regenerative medicine.

QKine Ltd. A spin-out from the University of Cambridge that manufactures high quality growth factors and cytokines for stem cell, organoid and regenerative medicine applications.

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


Save the Date: Milner Symposium 2020


The 2020 Milner Therapeutics Symposium will be held on Friday 12th June and we are particularly excited to announce that plenary speakers will include Richard Gilbertson and Sarah Bohndiek (Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre), Giovanna Mallucci (UK Dementia Research Institute), Madeline Lancaster (MRC LMB) and Jonathan Weissman (UCSF).

Registration will open later in the year. Can't wait? Find out more by visiting our symposium web page. Click here »


Academic Spotlight


Dr Kourosh Saeb-Parsy

Reader in Transplantation
Department of Surgery, University of Cambridge

Research focus: In vivo function, safety, and immunogenicity of organs, regenerative cellular therapies and tumours.

Recent advance from the lab: We are developing complex in vivo ‘avatar’ models that can be used to integrate disease models, organoid technology and mice with a human immune compartment to examine the immune response to tumours and regenerative cellular therapies. These models can be used to examine the immunogenicity of autologous and allogeneic cellular therapies, as well as the safety and efficacy of cancer immunotherapies.

Nature Medicine 23, 954-963 (2017) »
Nature Medicine 23, 1424-1435 (2017) »

Key challenge for the field: A critical challenge is further development and optimisation of ‘humanised mouse’ models to recapitulate a functional human immune system in vivo. A thorough understanding of these models will permit their application to definitely address important outstanding scientific questions in immunology, regenerative medicine and cancer biology.

Most exciting basic or clinical breakthrough in the field during the past few years: Development of organoid technology, together with humanised mouse models, offer an exciting opportunity to model the in vivo response to normal and diseased cells and tissues, and accelerate development of immunotherapies.

Visit the Saeb-Parsy webpage by clicking here »


Consortium Spotlight


Dr Susan Galbraith
Senior Vice President, Oncology R&D,
Research & Early Development

Areas of current interest for AstraZeneca: Our core therapeutic areas include Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism (CVRM), Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity (RIA) and Oncology. Within Oncology we are exploring a range of therapies targeting epigenetic factors, the DNA damage response and tumour drivers and resistance in addition to immuno-oncology agents, antibody drug conjugates and cell therapy.

Key industry challenge for the field: The emergence of resistance to currently available drugs remains a key challenge in oncology. Understanding mechanisms of resistance will be critical for informing new therapeutic strategies to tackle this including the development of combination therapies. Another approach to improve long term outcomes is to target early stage disease, which requires the development of novel endpoints and trial designs.

Most exciting basic or clinical breakthrough in the past few years: Circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) as a minimally invasive method for monitoring disease progression and resistance in the clinic. Through back-translational approaches we can utilise preclinical approaches such as CRISPR technology to identify new avenues for drug discovery to overcome resistance. In addition the latest most sensitive ctDNA approaches enable us to target early stage patient populations with detectable minimal residual disease for novel trial designs.

Read more about Susan Galbraith by clicking here »


Affiliated Company Spotlight


Alicja Malysiak
Vice President of Business Development


Company formed in: 2007

Size: Large national

Type: CRO

Who you need to know: Dr Alicja Malysiak, Vice President of Business Development (UK contact).

Location: Selvita is headquartered in Krakow (Poland) with a second research site in Poznan (Poland) and foreign offices located in Cambridge (Massachusetts, US) and the San Francisco Bay Area (California, US) as well as in Cambridge, UK.

Key research or technology focuses: Drug discovery support: protein production and structural biology, assay development and screening, in vitro pharmacology, CADD/artificial intelligence, medicinal and synthetic chemistry. Regulatory studies: development, optimisation and validation of analytical methods, stability studies, quality control. Process research: laboratory scale custom synthesis, process parametrisation and optimisation, industrial chemistry.

Can provide expertise in: CNS and oncology-focused medicinal chemistry-driven integrated drug discovery projects.

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


Affiliated Company News


Healx Healx have closed a $56M Series B round and committed $20 million to launch a Rare Treatment Accelerator programme, which is now open for applications. Read more »

Microbiotica were announced as a finalist in the ‘Best Partnership Alliance’ category at the Scrip Awards 2019 - for its partnership with Genentech to discover develop and commercialise biomarkers, targets and medicines for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Read more »

Vernalis Research's Research Director James Murray highlighted their approach to drug discovery using development and application of fragment- and structure-based drug discovery methods in Drug Target Review. Read more »

Black Belt TX have entered into a strategic partnership with Praxis Biotech to jointly discover and develop new first-in-class small molecule therapeutics, aimed at modulating key control mechanisms in the stress response pathways in cancer. Read more »

MedAnnex have begun cell line development for generation of novel antibodies for therapeutic approaches including autoimmune disease. Read more »

Elpis Biomed have changed name to bit bio, reflecting their transition to a cell coding company and focus on reprogramming of human stem cells. Read more »

Azeria Therapeutics have announced a £32.0 million Series B funding led by Syncona, through which the company will build on their lead programme to address significant unmet need in oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer and build a world class pioneer factor oncology company. Read more »

Twist Bioscience has adopted Genedata Biologics to support R&D innovation for biologics drug discovery services, including development of highly sensitive diagnostics and antibody discovery. Read more »

Genestack announced launch of Expression Data Miner, a new module to help biologists interrogate multi-omics data. Read more »

Abcam announced a strategic partnership with BrickBio, experts in site-specific protein modification and a Tiger Gene portfolio company, covering the use of BrickBio's proprietary platform for introducing conjugation-ready sites into antibodies and other proteins in both mammalian and bacterial expression systems. Read more »

Repositive unveiled new functionality for molecular searches on its Cancer Models Platform at ELRIG Drug Discovery. Read more »

Biomax AG announced that its new semantic search platform, AILANI (Artificial Intelligence LANguage Interface) for the life science industry will be launched at the Biodata World Congress in Basel from 4-5 December 2019.Read more »

Cambridge Cancer Genomics celebrated the inclusion of their Chief Product and People Officer, Dr Hannah Thompson, in BioBeat’s annual 50 Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness report – recognised for bringing together cancer patients and oncologists for the development of an artificial intelligence platform for treatment monitoring, and helping to secure the first industry access to data from Genomics England’s 100,000 Genomes Project. Read more »

DefiniGEN and InSphero have received a Eurostars grant to develop a human stem cell-derived screening platform for diabetes drug discovery. Read more »




Genesis 2019: New Horizons in Life Science and Healthcare
11th December, London

Decision-makers from across the Life Science, Healthcare and Technology field will present, discuss and demonstrate their collective insight and thought leadership for the sector, themselves and their stakeholders. Read more »

NEW: Milner Seminar Series
30th January, Cambridge

A new monthly seminar series launching in January 2020. These events will bring together a mixed academic-industry audience and will focus on advances in disease understanding and therapeutic approaches. Read more »

Cambridge New Therapeutics Forum
22nd January, Cambridge

This CamNTF meeting will have a focus on Artificial Intelligence, including speakers from Google DeepMind, Healx and Astex. Read more »

Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre: Early Detection Symposium
27th January, Cambridge

The 5th annual symposium will include keynote presentations from Ludmil Alexandrov, (University of California, San Diego) and Ruth Etzioni, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre. Read more »

Meet with Johnson & Johnson Innovation
25th February, Cambridge

Are you working on a novel technology/solution that can positively impact human health? The Johnson & Johnson Innovation team will be in Cambridge on February 25th to present their model of innovation through collaboration and meet 1-on-1 with early-stage companies and researchers interested in presenting their solutions and discussing collaboration opportunities.

Companies/researchers interested in participating in the meeting need to apply before 26 January by submitting a non-confidential form:
Click here »

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 »

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 »

Abcam meeting: Epigenetics and disease
18th May, Cambridge

A meeting to celebrate the arrival of Abcam headquarters onto the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Speakers will focus on the biology, the disease connections and the drug discovery efforts behind the field of epigenetics. 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) and Jonathan Weissman (UCSF). 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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