Milner Institute celebrates success of 2024 Pitch Day and therapeutics symposium

The Milner Therapeutics Institute were delighted to host two sell-out events in Cambridge that brought academics, investors, pharma and biotech companies together.

On 1st July, we hosted our Milner Pitch Day at St Catharine’s College, which aimed to accelerate innovative ideas toward impact by bringing start-up companies together with life science investors. Twelve up-and-coming life science and health tech companies from our bio-incubator Frame Shift, local venture builder Start Codon, and other selected national companies were invited to pitch.

The event – sponsored by Bailey Fisher and JA Kemp – concluded with a networking session that was jointly organised with Founders Growth Community members to stimulate connections between founders and investors. Visit the Pitch Day webpage to view a list of companies involved in the day.

The following day, Tuesday 2nd July, we were delighted to host our annual Therapeutics Symposium at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge, where we welcomed 500 attendees in person and a further ∼200 online.

Following the Meet the Consortium session and lunch, our Directors Professor Sir Tony Kouzarides and Dr Cathy Tralau-Stewart opened the first plenary session. Tony welcomed delegates to the Symposium and described our mission to transform science into therapies, before handing over to Cathy to present the progress we have made toward this mission over the past 12 months.

Professor Todd Golub of the Broad Institute kicked off the first session with “Perspectives on genomic approaches to cancer precision medicine”, where he highlighted how single cell mapping of tumour microenvironment for Hodgkin lymphoma reveals insights into cell interactions in a structured cell niche. Professor Sir Steve Jackson then delivered a personal perspective on translating blue-skies research towards new medicines, where our audience enjoyed hearing about his Eureka moments in drug discovery. To conclude the first session, Simone Fishburn, Editor in Chief of BioCentury, described the explosion of new modality drugs coming to market, and the value of academic-biotech partnerships in diagnostics and infectious disease research.

After a short break, Dave Hallett from Exscientia opened the second session with a talk on “Human-led AI drug discovery”, discussing how AI, better primary cell-based disease models and adaptive trial design can reduce drug failure and the associated costs. Kerstin Meyer of the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute presented on behalf of Sarah Teichmann on new approaches used to interrogate cell type locations and interactions, generating data and novel insights that have been fed into a spatially resolved atlas of the human lung. The final talk of the day was from Jill Richardson, who discussed MSD’s neurodegeneration research strategy, including current unmet needs in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The Symposium concluded with a busy networking reception, where delegates viewed posters from our in-house research teams and affiliated companies.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to making the 2024 Symposium a success, and look forward to welcoming you back next year!

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