Management Team

Dr Russell Tait

Chief Executive Officer

BPharm PhD MBA

Russell has been CEO since February 2010, and joined the board of PolyActiva in August 2011.  He is a co-inventor of PolyActiva’s technology.  He is currently an adjunct Associate Lecturer at Monash University in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Australia. Russell has more than 20 years’ experience in drug delivery and pharmaceutical product development with leading pharmaceutical companies, including Glaxo Australia, Faulding (now Hospira) and CSIRO.  Whilst at CSIRO, he was the recipient of the CSIRO medal for Business Excellence for having lead the team responsible for publishing the CSIRO Total Well Being Diet book.  He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of PolyActiva Pty Ltd in February 2010.  Russell holds degrees in Pharmacy from the Victorian College of Pharmacy, University of Melbourne and is a registered pharmacist. He also took a post-doc position at Kansas University.

Vanessa Waddell

Head Commercial Operations and Business Development

BSc(Hons) MBA

Vanessa joined PolyActiva as Head of Commercial Operations and Business Development in 2017 and is responsible for operational business management, financial management, and business development.  Vanessa brings to PolyActiva over 15 years experience in the biotechnology industry, predominately in early clinical stage pharmaceutical development and commercialization.  Vanessa has experience with pharmaceuticals, biological products, and medical devices.  She has executed several in-licensing, out-licensing and collaborative development programs, and managed intellectual property portfolios.  Vanessa has held senior management roles in private and publicly listed biotechnology companies across core business competencies including general management, business development, IP management, project management (preclinical and clinical), and finance.  Prior engagements include Starpharma Pty Ltd, Prima Biomed Ltd, Velacor Therapeutics, and Pathway Therapeutics.

Dr Janet Preuss

Quality Assurance Manager

BSc PhD MBA(Advanced) GAICD

Janet joined PolyActiva as Quality Assurance Manager in 2016 and is responsible for the establishment and running of the Quality Management System in addition to regulatory and clinical activities.  She brings to PolyActiva extensive experience in all aspects of the commercialisation of therapeutic products, with over 15 years’ experience in commercialising pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biologics and a range of other biotechnology.  During this time, Janet has also successfully founded a number of companies devoted to providing services to the broader biotechnology industry, both in Australia and internationally.  In addition to her management roles, Janet has also held a number of Board roles on not-for-profit, government and private organisations.  Janet has an undergraduate science degree, PhD in Pharmacology, and an Advanced MBA from the University of Western Australia.  She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Andrew Donohue

Head of Chemistry

BSc(Hons) PhD

Andrew joined PolyActiva as the Head of Chemistry in 2010 and leads the production and development of the drug-monomers and polymers.  Andrew has 15 years’ experience in organic / medicinal chemistry and extensive experience as a team leader within the drug discovery and biotechnology field. After gaining a BSc(Hons) and Ph.D. from Monash University, he took post-doctoral positions at CSIRO Molecular Science and the Dyson-Perrins Laboratory at the University of Oxford. Andrew has held positions at the Biomolecular Research Institute (BRI), The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), and Cytopia Pty. Ltd. working on inhibition of inflammation and cancer. Dr Donohue is a co-inventor on a patent with a compound in Phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of myelofibrosis.

Dr David Valade

Head of Polymer Materials


David joined PolyActiva as a research scientist in 2014 and was appointed team leader in 2015 and head of polymer materials in 2017. He leads the production and performance evaluation of drug-polymers conjugates. David has more than 10 years’ experience in polymer chemistry, covering diverse areas such as energy, nanomedicine or electronics. After earning a PhD from the University of Montpellier II (France), he took post-doctoral positions at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the University of Queensland (UQ) and worked as a research scientist at Total S.A and CNRS (France).