Last week, we 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. A small selection of photographs can already be found on our website, with more to follow soon.

To maximise opportunities for our delegates, we began the day with a Meet the Consortium session, where pharma companies in the Milner Therapeutics Consortium met with academic researchers and our affiliated companies and institutions. The session facilitated over 30 new connections, which we hope will lead to collaborative opportunities in the coming year.

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. An overview of these achievements can be found on our 2024 Updates webpage.

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 networking 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, and visited exhibition booths from Connect: Health Tech and our event sponsors – Biorelate, Selvita,, MaxCyte and Pelago Bioscience. This year we also welcomed some of our strategic partners to host table top displays. Cambridge Enterprise, Cancer Research Horizons, the Office for Translational Research, Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences and the Strategic Partnerships Office were all in attendance.

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