Forum focuses on building the digital health ecosystem in Cambridge



MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and Cambridge Network recently hosted the first Cambridge Digital Health Forum. The event brought together over 130 delegates from industry and academia to explore how digital technologies could potentially make a significant positive impact on patients with respiratory diseases.

Held at the Hauser Forum, attendees debated topics ranging from the use of mobile and digital technology in realising the benefits of patient connectivity at scale; to “Breath Biopsy” technology in early detection and precision medicine applications; to translating digital health data into simple diagnostic conclusions and interventions.

Donna Finch, Principal Scientist for MedImmune, described particular challenges facing respiratory diseases, and was followed by inspiring presentations from the leaders of some of the region’s digital health community, including: Peter Ferguson, Director of Healthcare at Arm; Paul Davis, Co-founder of Mologic; and Billy Boyle, Co-founder of Owlstone Medical.

The final, key element of the event was the ‘Digital Health Technology Challenge.’ MedImmune challenged technology entrepreneurs to demonstrate their novel solutions to problems in drug development, shortlisting six companies to pitch their innovations to a panel of expert judges.

The winning company, Swavesey-based Cambridge Respiratory Innovations Limited (CRiL), secured a £20,000 grant and business mentorship for its technology, which measures lung performance and provides personalised alerts to patients, with the intent of minimising avoidable hospitalisations, improving outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.

Jane Osbourn, VP R&D and Site Leader for MedImmune in Cambridge, commented: “Digital health technologies will play a big part in healthcare delivery in the future and, to maximise the potential they offer, it’s important to establish a strong digital health ecosystem to promote collaboration and innovation. Working with Cambridge Network meant that we at MedImmune could make connections across this vital community. We were delighted with the response to our Digital Health Technology Challenge, and are excited by the extent and potential of innovative research taking place in our area.”

Jeremy Walsh, CEO of CRiL, commented: "We are thrilled to have been selected by the Digital Health Technology Challenge judges and to receive this award. CRiL is working to develop personal respiratory devices that monitor lung function by measuring the level of CO2 in respiration. We hope that our unique digital technology could ultimately be used to shorten the drug development cycle. As most of our funding to date has come from Innovate UK grants and SBRI Healthcare development contracts, this award stands to make a real difference in our development."

Claire Ruskin, CEO of Cambridge Network commented: "It's been a pleasure to work with our founder member MedImmune on this event and on the Digital Health Challenge, which attracted entries from Europe and the US, and from a diverse range of disciplines."

The Cambridge Digital Health Forum builds on the success of MedImmune’s annual Translational Science Forum held in San Francisco.


About MedImmune
MedImmune is the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of small molecule and biologic prescription medicines. MedImmune is pioneering innovative research and exploring novel pathways across Oncology, Respiratory, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolic Diseases, and Infection and Vaccines. The MedImmune headquarters is located in Gaithersburg, Md., one of AstraZeneca’s three global R&D centres, with additional sites in Cambridge, UK and Mountain View, CA. For more information, please visit

About CRiL

CRiL is a digital health company focused on becoming the #1 supplier of cardio-respiratory health and outcomes data to the patient, clinician, healthcare provider and data utiliser. Powered by its unique CO2 sensor, CRiL will supply patients, healthcare professionals, healthcare providers and healthcare companies with data to improve patient self-care, refine medication, improve outcomes, increase clinical efficiency, reduce healthcare resources, optimise clinical trials, shorten development cycles and provide a unique insight into cardio-respiratory performance.


Image: MedImmune Digital Health Technology Challenge judges with the winner. Left to right:

  • Donna Finch, MedImmune (judge)
  • Andrew Chapman, Digital Catapult (judge)
  • Jane Osbourn, MedImmune (judge)
  • Jeremy Walsh, Cambridge Respiratory Innovations Limited  (CRiL) (winner)
  • Debu Purkayastha, 3rd Eye Capital (judge)
  • Andy Williams, AstraZeneca (judge)




MedImmune is the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca and is pioneering innovative research and exploring novel pathways across key therapeutic areas, including oncology; respiratory; and cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

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