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The MTI has now opened in the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Milner Update: September 2019


We are thrilled that the Milner Therapeutics Institute has now opened in the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and that we have been joined by the new AstraZeneca-Cancer Research UK Functional Genomics Centre and the group of Manav Pathania (Dept of Oncology). We look forward to welcoming Kathryn Lilley and her team at the Cambridge Centre for Proteomics in the coming weeks. Our neighbours in the building include the Wellcome MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute (led by Professor Tony Green) and the new Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease (Professor Ken Smith), which we hope will enable new collaborations in areas of therapeutic priority.

The Milner team has grown this month, as we welcome Chloe Caley, our new Finance, HR & Administration Coordinator. To find out who's who, visit our website at »

Alongside the Milner team, The Milner Institute is supported by a network of Innovation Representatives, consisting of early-career scientists across the University, who provide a conduit between the Milner and academics in different Departments. We are delighted to welcome the new cohort of Reps who have been recruited this summer, spanning new Departments across the Schools of Clinical Medicine and Biological Sciences, as well as the Babraham Institute and Wellcome Sanger Institute. Please get in touch with your Rep to learn more about how to engage with the Milner. Read more »

And finally, in the coming year the Milner Institute will also form part of a new Government-funded University Enterprise Zone that pioneers new ways of collaborating across physics, technology, engineering, biology and medicine to drive innovation and new models of business incubation. A key component will be to strengthen the interdisciplinary bridge between two research hubs in South and West Cambridge. Find out more »


New Affiliated Companies


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

Repure Life Science. A global drug discovery company with a focus on cancer, and headquarters in Yonsei University, Seoul.

Immundnz. An immunology CRO specialised in immune modelling, immune response and tissue damage analysis, in vivo and in vitro cell culture systems for preclinical drug research and development.

Biospectre. A biotech company developing next-generation cancer therapeutics utilising its proprietary target, the ion channel variant nfP2X7.

Lifebit. An AI platform company tackling challenges in drug discovery, precision medicine and omics research.

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 next Milner Therapeutics Symposium will be held on Friday June 12th 2020 and we are particularly excited to announce that 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).

Registration will open later in the year and we hope to see you there!


Academic Spotlight


Dr Róisín Owens
Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge

Research focus: Integration of biological systems (organs/tissues/cell components) with soft electronics to monitor functionality.

Recent advance from the lab: Our team developed a 3D conducting polymer scaffold to host and continuously monitor a model of the human gut. Science Advances 4, 10, eaat4253 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat4253 (2018) Read more »

In parallel, we have been working on integration of native cell membranes with our electronic devices – for example to screen antibiotics or monitor ion channel function. Advanced Materials 39, 1803130 (2018) Read more »

Key challenge for the field: Enabling continuous monitoring of complex biological systems in a non-invasive manner. This could allow biomimetic (human) in vitro models to be used to great effect in pre-clinical testing.

Most exciting basic or clinical breakthrough in the field during the past few years: The essential role of the microbiome in moderating human biology. Consideration of microbiota in in vitro models is now a pre-requisite for drug discovery and testing.


Consortium Spotlight


Dr David Shields
Vice President, Emerging Science & Innovation.
Head, Centers for Therapeutic Innovation East.
Pfizer Inc

Areas of current interest for Pfizer: Our core therapeutic focus areas are Oncology, Inflammation & Immunology, Rare Disease, Internal Medicine and Vaccines. Emerging science of interest includes tissue resident immunity, as well as replicative stress/DNA damage response in malignant and non-malignant diseases.

Key industry challenge for the field: R&D advances are occurring at breakneck speed, but our global health challenges are too complex for any one player in the ecosystem to solve alone. Collaboration is critical to success, with academic partnership and industry consortia key to accelerating concepts into viable therapies for patients.

Most exciting basic or clinical breakthrough in the past few years: Technological advances in gene therapy, degrader/molecular glues and other approaches that broaden the druggable space.


Affiliated Company Spotlight


Tim Guilliams
CEO and Co-Founder


Company formed in: 2014

Size: Start-up

Type: Biotech / AI and data science

Who you need to know: Dr Tim Guilliams, CEO and Co-Founder

Location: Cambridge, UK

Key research or technology focuses: Artificial intelligence, drug discovery, rare diseases Can provide expertise in: AI-powered drug discovery

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

Jason Leadley


Company formed in: 2005

Size: SME (Small and medium-sized enterprise) of 48 employees and privately-owned

Type: Software. Custom data management solutions based on its enterprise, open source platform, LabKey Server

Who you need to know: Dr Jason Leadley, Director

Based in: Yateley (North Hampshire) and London

Key research or technology focuses: Data integration, management, workflow, analysis and collaboration solutions (typically for: clinical studies, experimental assays, sample management, research data centralisation, mass spec, NLP, population/precision health, biologics, mobile app health data management)

Find out more about LabKey by emailing , or by clicking the logo below.


Affiliated Company News


Abcam has acquired the live cell line and lysates portfolio of EdiGene Inc, including over 2,800 single clonal knockout (KO) cell lines targeting over 2,600 genes in commonly used human cancer cell lines. Read more »

Healx have appointed Neil Thompson as CSO to lead expansion of the drug discovery and development team. Read more »

GE Healthcare, Fujitsu Australia, Macquarie University and Macquarie Medical Imaging have launched a new research collaboration to diagnose and monitor brain aneurysms on scans faster and more efficiently using artificial intelligence (AI). Read more »

Benevolent AI have entered a collaboration with Neuropore Therapies, Inc to evaluate molecular targets identified through artificial intelligence as being implicated in progressive degenerative diseases. Read more »

Phoremost have entered into a structural biology focused collaboration with the Centre for Chemical Biology and Therapeutics (CCBT) (Bangalore, India) aiming to visualise novel druggable sites across multiple targets, to rapidly advance new therapies. Read more »

Vernalis and Phoremost have announced a new collaboration in oncology, combining their platforms for phenotypic screening and the design of small molecule inhibitors to help rapidly progress compounds through hit-to-lead and lead optimization stages. Read more »

Polyprox Therapeutics announced that it has raised £3.4m of seed capital to validate a new class of drugs against cancer. Read more »

BTG was acquired by Boston Scientific Corporation in August 2019.Read more »

Cambridge Cancer Genomics were named winners of a Gold Stevie® Award in the “Tech Startup of the Year - Software” category at The 16th Annual International Business Awards®. Read more »

Fluid Analytics has received a new product award at the recent SLAS Europe Conference for its Fluidity One-W instrument - launching later this year. Read more »

Eagle Genomics have expanded with new offices in JLABS in the New York Genome Center and also in the London Knowledge Quarter, alongside research and companies with a focus on life sciences and data-driven innovation. Read more »

MedAnnex have closed an £11 million Series B funding round with a £1 million investment from The Scottish Investment Bank. Read more »

Abcam, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge Cancer Genomics, Cambridge Epigenetix, Healx, Microbiotica, PhoreMost and Storm Therapeutics were among the finalists in the 2019 Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards Read more »

STORM Therapeutics presented breakthrough data showing in vivo efficacy and therapeutic proof of concept for targeting RNA modifying enzymes at the RNA Epigenetics in Human Disease Conference in Cambridge, UK. Read more »




LabKey User Conference & Workshop
3-4th October, Seattle, WA, USA

A full program of user presentations, technical workshops, and networking opportunities. Attendees of the LabKey User Conference also have the unique opportunity to work side-by-side with LabKey developers during open work sessions and provide feedback on new LabKey development. Read more »

Sensors Day 2019: A showcase of multidisciplinary sensor research
10th October, Cambridge

Join the University Sensors network for this showcase of multidisciplinary sensors research and inspiring talks by leading experts on the latest sensor technology development. Sensors Day 2019 will showcase highlights of sensor research and applications from all areas of science and technology. including sustainability, healthcare, and citizen science. Register now to gain a perspective on cutting edge sensor research from top researchers, industry partners, and PhD students. Read more »

ELRIG Drug Discovery 2019: Looking back to the Future
5th & 6th November, Liverpool, UK

This year will include plenary introductions assessing progress so far, and setting the challenges for discovering the drugs of the future. These will be followed by cutting edge talks and examples of new directions in drug discovery. Read more »

Korean Pharma Association visit
15th November, Cambridge

A Korean delegation of pharma, SMEs, and investment companies (including Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceuticals, SK Chemicals, Yuhan Corporation, Daewoong Pharmaceuticals Co Ltd, ShinPoong Pharm Co Ltd, Korea Investment Partners and SBI Investment) are visiting Cambridge in the hope of meeting UK biotech and pharma companies. Their aim is to identify opportunities for collaboration, investment or licencing. For further details, please contact us at

ELRIG CRISPR in Drug Discovery 2019: From Targets to Therapeutics
27th & 28th February 2020, Oxford, UK

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