By Julie Little, Business Development Executive of Commercial Partnerships at Cancer Research UK and Maria Groves, Head of the CRUK MedImmune Alliance Laboratory (CMAL)

Published: 5 March 2018

Are you looking for help translating your biological research into cancer treatments? The CRUK MedImmune Alliance Lab (CMAL) may be the answer.

CMAL is an innovative alliance of CRUK’s cancer biology expertise with MedImmune’s world-class antibody engineering technology.  The Lab, which is located in Cambridge, was set up to help support academic researchers apply their ideas for novel biologics and ultimately champion the development of tool, diagnostic and therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer. 

Exploring synergies of ideas and research

Now that the Lab is established the team is reaching out to the global academic network to identify new biological mechanisms and targets from wider biological research in oncology, immunology and autoimmunity; so AMRC’s Research Managers Working Group meeting was an excellent opportunity to meet with other charities and explore potential synergies of ideas and research.

Funding managers from a wide range of charities were present at the meeting and it was great to meet and share the CMAL vision with such a lively and interested group of people. In the follow up discussions it became clear that some of the key concerns fundamental to the CRUK MedImmune Alliance Laboratory’s approach are shared by many others working in the charity world:

  • working with non-government funding organisations
  • working with other charities and partnering with Industry
  • improving the impact of funded research
  • identifying innovative opportunities and intellectual property.

How can you maximise the impact of your research?

The Lab is staffed by a very enthusiastic team of scientists with both academic and industrial backgrounds, and with a range of expertise from phage display, cell biology, high throughput screening, and protein expression. This gives us the breadth of capabilities needed for early stage drug discovery.  The team is dedicated to antibody development and to working in collaboration; we have established multiple interactions with scientists from Institutes across the UK and have a pipeline of projects the most advanced of which is in in vivo testing. To date we have reviewed over 40 applications and are working on 13 of them. 

Our approach provides a mechanism for charities to maximise impact of their research funding by helping to fast track an academic’s scientific ideas, translating biological research into therapeutic and diagnostic antibodies.  Importantly scientists have the opportunity to be a key member of a multidisciplinary drug discovery team, to be authors on research articles and patents, and to be able to secure funding to support work relating to a CRUK MedImmune Alliance Laboratory project in their own laboratories.

We passionately believe we can help you translate your research into ultimately delivering patient benefit.  If you would like to find out more and work with us please visit