We are thrilled to announce that the Milner collaboration with the medical research charity LifeArc has been expanded into a 5-year strategic partnership until 2026.

The Milner Computational Research team, led by Namshik Han, have been collaborating closely with the medical research charity LifeArc over the last four years to develop and apply bioinformatics tools to identify novel therapeutic targets, biomarkers and drug repositioning opportunities. By applying cutting-edge computational methods including AI and machine learning for analysis of multi-modal biomedical datasets, the team have identified new or better drug targets across a range of therapeutic areas.

LifeArc brings a rich oncology drug discovery programme to this collaboration. By developing methods to integrate LifeArc proprietary datasets with public cancer databases, the team have created a bespoke AI platform and computational pipeline to reveal novel disease signatures and then conducted agnostic pathway analysis to uncover new targets. This work has identified new disease signatures for six cancer types in the LifeArc programme, and repositioning of an existing LifeArc target as a potential therapeutic strategy for an unanticipated cancer type.

With the support of LifeArc, the Milner group have also applied their bespoke AI methods and network analysis to uncover hidden pathways and reposition 200 already approved drugs against COVID-19. These SARS-CoV-2 induced pathways define a resource for repurposing of drugs against COVID-19, either as monotherapies or in combination therapy.

The teams are now poised to develop together a bespoke Artificial Intelligence platform and infrastructure for revolutionising target identification and biomarker discovery. This platform will be used to : (1) identify new therapeutic targets in a variety of diseases; (2) discover biomarkers for stratifying or diagnosing of patients to improve personalised medicine; and (3) predict efficacy and safety of new and existing drugs, thus allowing the identification of drug positioning/repositioning opportunities.


Dr Namshik Han, Head of Computational Research and AI, Milner Therapeutics Institute:

“This collaboration has benefited enormously from the expertise of the LifeArc team in drug discovery. We see great potential to now build on the database resources and pipelines we have created together and apply them to reveal new disease signatures in areas with high unmet medical need.”


Dr Dave Powell, Chief Scientific Officer at LifeArc said:

“Our collaboration with the Milner Therapeutics Institute allows us to combine LifeArc’s translational expertise with the Milner’s cutting-edge bioinformatics. By continuing to work together, we can further our understanding of the fundamental biology of disease pathways that informs our patient-focused programmes.”


Key co-authored publications from the LifeArc and Milner collaboration:
Han N et al. Science Advances. (2021)
Hwang et al. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. (2021)