Ms Brigitte Smith
Co-founder and Managing Director, GBS Venture Partners
Ms Brigitte Smith is co-founder and Managing Director of GBS
Venture Partners, a leading Australian life science venture capital investor.
GBS has completed more than 45 medical device and life science investments in
Australia and the US, and more than 100 clinical trials over a broad range of
therapeutic areas, resulting in multiple FDA-approved drugs and medical
Ms Smith has 20 years’ experience in venture capital,
business strategy and start-up company operations. She has been investing and
managing investments for GBS’s $450m of life science specialised venture
capital funds since 1998. Brigitte is on the board of GBS portfolio companies
AirXpanders Inc, Endoluminal Sciences Pty Ltd, Neuromonics Pty Ltd, Proacta
Inc, and Vivive Inc. She was the founding investor and chair of Pharmaxis Pty
Prior to founding GBS, Ms Smith worked in the US and
Australia in operating roles with early stage technology companies and at Bain
& Company as a strategic management consultant.
Ms Smith has a B. Chem Eng (Honours) from the University of
Melbourne and, as a Fulbright Scholar, completed a MBA (Honours) from the
Harvard Business School and a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, both in Boston, USA.
|Professor Kathryn North AM
Director, Murcoch Children's Research Institute
Professor Kathryn North AM is Director of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the David Danks Professor of Child Health Research at the University of Melbourne.
Professor North is trained as a physician, neurologist and clinical geneticist and in 1994, was awarded a doctorate for research in neurogenetics. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Harvard Genetics Program.
Professor North is a national and international leader in Genomic medicine. In 2014, Professor North was appointed as Co-Chair of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health – a collaborative network of over 400 organisations across over 45 countries funded by the NIH and the Wellcome Trust (genomicsandhealth.org). Commencing in 2016, she leads an NHMRC-funded national network of over 40 institutions - the Australian Genomics Health Alliance (AGHA). The goal of AGHA is to provide evidence and practical strategies for the implementation of genomic medicine in the Australian health system.
Professor North has received a number of awards including the GSK Australia Award for Research Excellence (2011), the Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research (2012) and Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to medicine in the field of neuromuscular and neurogenetics research (2012). In 2012, Professor North was appointed Chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council Research Committee and in 2014 was appointed as a Foundation fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science. She chairs the International Advisory Board of the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (UK) and is a member of the Board of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
Dr Amanda Caples
Lead Scientist to the Victorian Government
Dr Amanda Caples was appointed to the position of Lead Scientist in mid-2016. She brings to the role broad experience in technology commercialisation, public policy development and governance of public and private entities. As Deputy Secretary Sector Development and Programs, Dr Caples was responsible for the development of Future Industries strategic sector growth plans and for support of the Victorian science, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
After graduating from the University of Melbourne with a PhD in pharmacology, Dr Caples began her pharmaceutical industry career with Servier Laboratories Australia where she was responsible for local product development and the registration of new medicines for the treatment of diabetes and high blood pressure. She progressed to business development roles first with AMRAD where she secured licensing deals and strategic alliances for the R&D portfolio before joining the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute to establish the Technology Transfer Office.
Dr Caples joined the Victorian public service in 2002 as the inaugural Director of Biotechnology and subsequently was appointed as the Executive Director Science and Technology to drive the state's science agenda. In these roles, she has led the development of industry sector strategy plans, delivered research-led health initiatives, regulatory and legislative scientific reforms and established international alliances.
In addition, Dr Caples has worked with Commonwealth agencies on national science and innovation policies and programs, notably the Australian Synchrotron and the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.
Professor Brendan Crabb AC
Director and CEO,
Professor Brendan Crabb AC is the Director and CEO of Burnet Institute and the current Chair of the Victorian chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes. He was President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes from 2012 to 2014.
In 2015, Professor Crabb was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his contributions to medical research and global health. He is a medical researcher and health administrator and advocate committed to improving the lives of poor, vulnerable and marginalised communities. Professor Crabb is a molecular biologist with a particular interest in infectious diseases and in health issues of the developing world. His personal research focuses on the development of a malaria vaccine and the identification of new treatments for this disease. He is a member (and former Chair) of the US-based Malaria Vaccine Science Portfolio Advisory Committee.
Professor Crabb holds Professorial appointments at the University of Melbourne and Monash University. Before his appointment as Director of Burnet Institute, he was a Senior Principal Research Fellow of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and an International Research Fellow of the US-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the UK-based Sanger Institute’s Malaria Program and the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Science. Professor Crabb was the Editor-in-Chief of the world’s leading parasitology research journal, the International Journal for Parasitology, from 2006 to 2009.
In addition to his own research, education and research leadership roles, Professor Crabb is passionately committed to science and medical research advocacy, in particular drawing attention to the critical role of health innovations in the development of mankind.
Dr Peter De Cruz
Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Service, Austin Hospital
Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne
Dr Peter De Cruz’s doctoral research through the University of Melbourne identified the optimal strategy for preventing Crohn’s disease recurrence after resectional surgery. The findings of the research were published in the Lancet in 2015 and have changed practice internationally. His laboratory work, using a range of molecular techniques, has produced preliminary evidence for an association between particular patterns of resident gut bacteria and Crohn’s disease recurrence. His postdoctoral fellowship in complex IBD and clinical nutrition was undertaken between Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge and St Mark’s Hospital, London.
Dr De Cruz has been awarded the Gastroenterological Society of Australia’s Douglas Piper Award for Clinical Research, the nation’s top award for clinical research in gastroenterology. He was awarded the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation's award for the best IBD research internationally. His PhD thesis was awarded the Victorian Premier’s award for Health and Medical research in 2015 and the University of Melbourne’s Dean’s award for excellence in the PhD thesis (awarded to the top five PhD theses). He has been a previous recipient of an NHMRC medical postgraduate scholarship. His postdoctoral fellowship in Cambridge was sponsored by a Victoria Fellowship, Churchill Fellowship and British Transplantation Society Fellowship.
Dr De Cruz is currently establishing the Austin Hospital’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Service and National Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation service. He is currently the University of Melbourne’s David Bickart Senior Research Fellow and Gastroenterology Society of Australia’s Bushell Postdoctoral fellow. His ongoing clinical research interests include identifying predictive biomarkers of response to IBD therapeutics, quality assurance and eHealth in IBD. He also maintains a translational research interest in molecular microbiology and immunology. He is passionate about patient advocacy and bringing about reform to the current models of care for some of the sickest members of our community.
Dr Jackie Fairley
CEO, Starpharma Holdings Ltd
Dr Jackie Fairley has been the CEO of Starpharma Holdings Ltd since July 2006. She has more than 25 years of operational experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries working in business development and senior management roles with companies including CSL and Faulding. Dr Fairley holds first class honours degrees in Science (pharmacology and pathology) and Veterinary Science from the University of Melbourne and was a practising veterinary surgeon prior to joining CSL in 1989.
Dr Fairley obtained an MBA from the Melbourne Business School where, as Dux of her final year, she was the recipient of the prestigious Clemenger Medal and a number of other academic prizes. Dr Fairley is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and currently sits on the board of the Melbourne Business School, is a member of the Commonwealth Science Council, and is a past member of the Federal Government’s Pharmaceutical Industry Working Group and the Federal Ministerial Biotechnology Advisory Council. She is also an advisor to the Carnegie Innovation Fund.
Dr Rob Grenfell
Director, CSIRO Health and Biosecurity Business Unit
Dr Rob Grenfell is responsible for CSIRO’s broader health strategy targeting the critical health challenges facing Australia and drawing on the organisation’s deep portfolio of expertise across e-health, biomedical manufacturing, nutrition and one-health. Prior to this he was the National Medical Director at Bupa Australia New Zealand.
Dr Grenfell has a background in clinical medicine, as a general practitioner and a public health physician. His previous roles include National Director for Cardiovascular Health at the National Heart Foundation, Strategic Health Advisor to Parks Victoria and Senior Medical Advisor in Preventive Health, Department of Health Victoria. He has held positions in travel medicine, general practice and other elements of clinical medicine. Until recently, Dr Grenfell ran a general practice in the small, isolated rural community of Natimuk, Victoria.
As well as clinical expertise, Dr Grenfell has skills in policy development and evidence translation. As National Director of Cardiovascular Health at the National Heart Foundation, he spearheaded the increased focus on health equity, ensuring effective collaboration between the research team and the foundation, and aligning project aims with the organisation’s strategic goals.
Dr Kerry Hegarty
Business Development Director of Life Science, University of Melbourne
Senior Advisor, National Health and Medical Research Committee
In September 2015 after 30 years of building high-technology companies, Dr Kerry Hegarty joined the University of Melbourne as part of strengthening efforts to diversify the sources of research income and exploit commercialisation opportunities for the University globally. Dr Hegarty, having worked in diverse sectors ranging from energy to biotechnology, was well-placed to help with the enormity of opportunities.
After receiving her Ph.D. at Columbia University (New York) in the Earth Sciences in 1985, Dr Hegarty joined a small research team at the University of Melbourne. The team ultimately launched an upstream service company based in Melbourne, which was one of the first companies spun out of the University. Later, as Managing Director/CEO of Sienna Cancer Diagnostics, Dr Hegarty built the team and partnering relationships responsible for successfully delivering to market the first clinical tool exploiting the powerful biomarker telomerase for the detection of cancer. Both companies started from novel benchtop concepts around which teams were created and products launched globally.
Dr Hegarty now in her role as Business Development Director, Life Sciences, Dr Hegarty assists research teams with external engagement, industry partnership opportunities and the commercial translation of outstanding research outcomes.
Dr Hegarty is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Member of an NHMRC Principal Committee and has served as Company Secretary for a number of public, private and not-for-profit organisations.
Professor Bronwyn Kingwell
Head, Metabolic and Vascular Physiology,
Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute
Professor Bronwyn Kingwell is an integrative physiologist and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Principal Research Fellow. At Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes, Institute Professor Kingwell is Head of the Metabolic and Vascular Physiology Laboratory and Co-Leader of the Physical Activity Program. She has Professorial appointments in the Department of Medicine and Department of Physiology at both the University of Melbourne and Monash University, at James Cook University, the University of NSW and the University of Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris. She is a fellow of both the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. She received her PhD in physiology from the University of Melbourne in 1991.
Professor Kingwell’s fundamental and clinical research in arterial biomechanics has elucidated endogenous (genetic, hormonal) and environmental (exercise, diet) mechanisms contributing to large artery stiffening as well as opportunities for therapeutic modulation. She pioneered the transition of detailed cellular and molecular studies of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in laboratory models, in particular with regard to glucose metabolism, to a human context. This work has opened major new avenues in HDL therapeutics for treatment of diabetes. Her contributions have extended to the mechanisms by which exercise provides health benefits and influenced national and international physical activity guidelines.
Professor Kingwell has been a leader in Australian science policy and is an active mentor. Through leadership roles on the NHMRC and Australian Academy of Science, Professor Kingwell has contributed to national research policy and practice and continues to do so as a current member of the NHMRC and Research Committee and as a Council member of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
Professor Sharon Lewin
Director, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
Professor Sharon Lewin is an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist. She is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture of the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital; Professor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne; consultant infectious diseases physician, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; and a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia Practitioner Fellow.
Professor Lewin's laboratory focuses on basic, translational and clinical research aimed at finding a cure for HIV and understanding the interaction between HIV and hepatitis B virus. She has published over 230 publications and given over 100 major international invited talks on HIV cure. She co-chairs the International AIDS Society’s Towards an HIV Cure Initiative and is regarded as a global leader in HIV cure research. Her laboratory is currently funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia, the National Institutes for Health, The Wellcome Trust, the American Foundation for AIDS Research and multiple commercial partnerships.
Professor Lewin is chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee for Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmitted Infections, the peak advisory committee to the Minister of Health of Australia; a member of the NHMRC Council and chairs the NHMRC Health Translation Advisory Committee; an elected member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society representing the Asia Pacific region; and was a foundation council member of the Australian Academy for Health and Medical Research. She currently heads Victoria’s Fast Track Cities Initiative, part of a global initiative for local communities and cities to accelerate progress to end HIV.
Professor Lewin was named Melburnian of the Year in 2014 and in 2015, was awarded the Peter Wills Medal by Research Australia.
Mr Frank McGuire MP
Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research
Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Innovation
Mr Frank McGuire has enjoyed significant careers as a Member of Parliament, internationally acclaimed innovator, businessman, and dual winner of Australian journalism's most prestigious honour, the Walkley Award.
He is Victoria’s first Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research and is also Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Innovation. Mr McGuire has driven Victoria’s medical research strategy since December 2014 to lead Australia in a bigger and bolder fashion globally. He called for a partnership with America in President Barack Obama’s ‘Moonshot’ quest to cure cancer, leading to US Vice President, Joe Biden's visit to Melbourne for the opening of the billion dollar jewel in Australia's medical research crown, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
Mr McGuire has paved the way for other international collaborations and assisted Health Minister, Hon Jill Hennessy MP in developing Victoria's International Health Strategy, Partnering for a Healthy and Prosperous Future 2016-2020, and Victoria’s Health and Medical Research Strategy, Healthier Lives, Stronger Economy 2016–20. These strategies are designed to create economic benefit through global leadership in healthcare, health education, aged care and medical research while creating jobs and economic growth by boosting investment, industry development and exports. Mr McGuire launched the SMaRT panel in 2016, an initiative to leverage investment and partnerships to transfer discoveries from benchtop to business and secure value for intellectual property.
Mr McGuire was deputy chairman of the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry that produced the landmark report, Betrayal of Trust, into the handling of child abuse by religious and other non-government organisations in 2013. He also co-chaired Parliament’s Economic Development, Infrastructure and Outer Suburban/Interface Services Committee.
Mr McGuire was nominated for the international Metropolis Award for innovation for his model for smarter, healthier, better connected and sustainable communities, the Global Learning Village, supported by Silicon Valley leaders Microsoft, Intel and Cisco Systems.
Mr McGuire's Walkley Awards were for investigative journalism for the ABC's Four Corners and Nine Network's Sunday. In 2016, he published Creating Opportunity: Postcodes of Hope, a blueprint for cultural, generational and systemic change delivering lifelong learning and economic development.
Mr Simon McKeon AO
Chancellor, Monash University
In January 2016, Mr Simon McKeon succeeded Dr Alan Finkel as Chancellor of Monash University. He has been a part-time lecturer with the University of Melbourne's Masters of Applied Finance and Masters of Laws courses and a member of the Advisory Board of the University's Centre for Energy and Resources Law. He served on the Campaign Board of the University of Melbourne from 2013 until 2015. In October 2015, Mr McKeon was conferred an honorary Doctorate of Public Health by La Trobe University.
Mr McKeon is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia. He was Chair of the McKeon Review - Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research – Better Health through Research, released on 5 April 2013. He was also Chairman of the Board of CSIRO (2010–15) and Chairman of Business for Millennium Development (2006–14). Other board appointments include Chairman of the Board of Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia and Director of Bio 21 Australia. Mr McKeon was awarded the 2011 Australian of the Year in recognition of his involvement in a variety of charitable organisations.
Mr McKeon studied at the University of Melbourne where he earned bachelor’s degrees in commerce (1976) and law (1978). After working in Sydney as a solicitor for Blake Dawson Waldron, he joined the Macquarie Group in 1984 specialising in mergers and acquisitions, he became executive chairman of the Melbourne office. In 1994, he reduced his hours at Macquarie to focus on philanthropy. As a director of World Vision Australia, he oversaw the country’s largest humanitarian organisation from 1994–2005.
Dr George Morstyn
Chair, Biomedical Research Victoria
Dr George Morstyn applies his experience in translational medicine to the academic–commercial interface. Dr Morstyn is a Director and Chairman of the scientific advisory board of Symbio (Japan-based biotech developing drugs for cancer and orphan drug indications). He is a Director of the Co-operative Research Centre for Cancer Therapeutics and a Director of the Australian and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group. He also advises The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute on commercialisation and chairs the investment advisory committee at GBS and advises Medicines Development. Dr Morstyn recently stepped down as Deputy Chairman of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) and the Board of Therapeutic Innovation Australia.
Dr Morstyn was a medical oncologist and obtained a PhD in experimental Haematology with Professor Don Metcalf in 1981. He trained at the National Cancer Institute in the US. Dr Morstyn became head of the Clinical Program of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Melbourne and was principal investigator of the earliest clinical studies of G-CSF, GM-CSF and IL-4. Dr Morstyn joined Amgen in 1991 and was promoted to Senior Vice President of Development and Chief Medical Officer. He was responsible for many new drug approvals and label extensions in all therapeutic areas.
Dr Jenny Petering
Of Counsel, FB Rice Patent and Trademark Attorneys
Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School
Dr Jenny Petering is a leading practitioner in the Australian biotechnology space. She has extensive experience managing international patent portfolios, including strategic planning, due diligence, infringement and patentability advice, and coordinating opposition proceedings. Dr Petering is regularly singled out by industry reviews of the world’s leading patent prosecutors for her exceptional technical ability and her commitment to clients.
With vast experience managing extensive portfolios, Dr Petering acts for a broad range of clients including universities, hospitals, co-operative research centres and research institutes as well as corporates, ranging from start-up companies through to those appearing on the global stage. Her clients have one thing in common; they work on cutting-edge biological advancements. They also depend on Dr Petering to produce flawless prosecution.
Dr Petering is frequently sought after to present seminars and speak on panels around the world on patent and intellectual property strategy topics, recently visiting Chicago for this purpose. She also mentors and supports junior patent attorneys, providing regular talks and lectures to assist them in their studies, and teaching through the University of Melbourne.
A partner with FB Rice for 15 years, Dr Petering is now Of Counsel with the firm while also pursuing external activities supporting the advancement of the biotechnology industry. She is also a Senior Fellow in the Melbourne Law Masters at the University of Melbourne and is a registered Australian and New Zealand Patent Attorney.
Dr Stephanie Simonds
Research Fellow, Monash University
Dr Stephanie Simonds is an early career fellow in the Department of Physiology at Monash University and member of the neurophysiology lab. She received her PhD degree from Monash University in 2014 where she has continued to conduct research, supported by a NHMRC Peter Doherty Biomedical Early Career/National Heart Foundation of Australia Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Dr Simonds studies the physiology associated with obesity leading to disease states including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Dr Simonds' research findings have shown that a hormone produced from fat cells causes increased blood pressure. Her work has shown that leptin acts on neurons in the Dorso Medial hypothalamic region of the brain contributed to the development of hypertension in obesity.
Dr Simonds' research has been internationally recognized with 9 invited international conference presentations and been an invited speaker at world-class research institutes. Dr Simonds' research includes publications in leading science journals in her research field including Cell, Nature and Cell Metabolism.
Dr Simonds' research has received numerous awards including both The Royal Society of Victoria young scientist of the year award and the Victorian Premiers Award for Health and Medical research. Additionally her research program was awarded the National Heart Foundation of Australia Paul Korner Innovation Award.
Dr Simonds is in the early stages of developing her independent research program. She holds independent funding. She has also begun to work with international pharmaceutical companies, examining the role of anti-diabetic and obesity drugs on the cardiovascular system.
||Professor Alan Trounson
Distinguished Scientist, Hudson Institute
Emeritus Professor, Monash University Fellow Academy of Technology
Fellow, Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Fellow, Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
Professor Alan Trounson is an Emeritus Professor and Doctor of Laws at Monash University and Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and the Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. He serves on several Australian and Californian company boards and his present research interests are in immune-cell therapies for cancer and infection.
Professor Trounson made headlines in 1980 with the first IVF births in Australia, introducing a number of world-first procedures credited with establishing the procedures now used in helping more than seven million IVF births worldwide by 2010. In 2000, he made international headlines again when he led the research team that independently confirmed the development of human embryonic stem cells and showed they could be directed into that nerve stem cells, unleashing the potential of stem cells to cure a range of currently incurable diseases, including blinding eye disease, type 1 diabetes, some cancers, heart disease, HIV/AIDS and Parkinson’s Disease. As the head of California’s Institute of Regenerative Medicine between 2007 and 2014, he was responsible for a $3 billion budget to fund research into cancer, osteoporosis, Huntington's disease, spinal cord injury and motor neurone disease. The research projects made promising inroads into diseases such as type 1 diabetes, brain tumours, spinal-cord damage, leukaemia, macular degeneration and heart disease, with some of that research now in clinical trials.
In his new role as Distinguished Scientist of the Hudson Institute, Professor Trounson mentors the development of an active research program in translational cell therapy research linking industry with public basic and clinical research. He participates in the development of cell therapy and regenerative medicine, as this translational platform becomes established in the new, federally-funded, $84 million Monash Health Translational Precinct Research Facility that has been constructed on the site of the Monash Medical Centre. He has founded a new start-up company, Cartherics Pty Ltd, that is developing new immune stem cell therapies for ovarian and other intractable cancers.