A dinner at Jesus College on 14th March was the setting for the official launch of the Milner Therapeutics Institute and Consortium, which will bring together pharmaceutical companies and researchers in Cambridge to study and develop better therapies for some of today’s most globally devastating diseases.
The Milner Institute and Therapeutics Consortium are led by Professor Tony Kouzarides, deputy director of the Wellcome Trust/ Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute.
The Milner Therapeutics Institute, currently being constructed, will open in early 2018 and is situated within the new Capella Building on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. The Institute will have space for senior and junior scientists to set up independent research groups and also communally accessible facilities, such as robotics and bioinformatics. The building of the Institute was made possible by a £5 million donation from entrepreneur Jonathan Milner, a former member of Professor Kouzarides' research group. In 1998 Jonathan Milner, Tony Kouzarides and David Cleevely founded biotechnology company Abcam, which has gone on to employ more than 800 people and supply products to 64 per cent of researchers globally.
The Milner Therapeutics Consortium is the outreach program of the Milner Institute, which is hosted at the Gurdon Institute until the new building is complete. It connects academic scientists and institutions in Cambridge with the pharmaceutical industry, to develop the therapeutic potential of their research. The Consortium, which has been operational since June 2015, is based on a partnership between three academic centres, the University of Cambridge, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Babraham Institute, with four pharmaceutical companies: Astex, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Shionogi.
Professor Kouzarides said: “We hope many more pharmaceutical companies will join the Consortium and believe this form of partnership is a model for how academic institutions and industry can work together to deliver better medicines."