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Head Commercial Operations and Business DevelopmentBSc(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 Peter Kelly
Head of Product Development & Technical AffairsDPhil PMP
Peter joined PolyActiva as Head of Product Development and Technical Affairs in 2017. He has responsibility for management of all CMC activities associated with the development of PolyActiva products. His experience includes process development, analytical chemistry, and GMP Production of small and large molecule drugs for clinical development. Peter has lead the transition of numerous molecules from research in to clinical development. He is a PMP certified project manager and holds a DPhil in Organic Chemistry gained at the University of Oxford. Peter previously help positions at Patheon, GlycoSyn, Industrial Research Ltd and Vastox (now Summit Therapeutics).
Dr David Valade
Head of Polymer MaterialsPhD
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).
Dr Janet Preuss
Quality Assurance ManagerBSc 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.
Yuuwa Capital LPVisit
Yuuwa Capital is a $40M early-stage venture capital firm based in Perth, Western Australia.
Yuuwa invests in outstanding opportunities where Yuuwa can provide both capital and expertise to help founders, management and early investors build great companies. Yuuwa invests in early stage companies principally in the areas of Life Sciences and Information and Communications Technology. Yuuwa Capital’s formation in 2009 was supported by private investors who work with Candor Financial Management and also by the Australian Federal Government’s Innovation Investment Fund program.
Brandon Capital / MRCFVisit
Brandon Capital Partners is a venture capital firm that manages the Medical Research Collaboration Fund (MRCF), which provides seed and venture capital investment to support the development and growth of Australian life science companies. Established in late 2007, the MRCF is a unique collaboration between major Australian superannuation funds, over 50 leading medical research institutes and research hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. The MRCF supports the development and commercialisation of biomedical discoveries originating from these member research organisations, providing both capital and expertise to guide the successful development of new therapies.
The first MRCF fund, MRCF1, of $11 million was raised in 2007, and then in 2008 the $50 million Brandon Biosciences Fund 1 was established. The MRCF2, a $40 million fund supported by the Innovation Investment Fund Scheme, was raised in 2011. In 2015, MRCF3 was established, with $200 million raised to continue to support promising Australian and New Zealand biomedical discoveries. MRCF3 was established with support from the Australian and New Zealand governments, as well as the state governments of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Australian Capital Territory. The MRCF is Australia’s largest life science investment fund. In 2016, $230 million was raised for MRCF BTF to invest in maturing technologies that have progressed to clinical studies.
Professor Barrie Finnin
Non-Executive DirectorBPharm PhD PhC
Barrie has been a director since 1999 and is a co-inventor of Acrux’s technology. He is currently an adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, Australia. Barrie has more than 15 years’ experience in the management of commercially funded research in an academic setting. He has conducted projects at various phases of drug development and manufacture for major pharmaceutical companies, and has experience in the design and commissioning of GMP manufacturing. He also has experience as an external evaluator of new drug applications for the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Dr Francis S. Mah
Francis S. Mah, MD, has practiced ophthalmology since 2000 with an emphasis in laser and cataract surgery.
After undergraduate studies at Cornell University and Dartmouth College, he attended the Medical College of Ohio, graduating at the top of his class. As a resident at the University of Pittsburgh, he earned a fellowship in cornea, external disease and refractive surgery and went on to participate in the clinical research training program. Throughout his academic career, Dr. Mah received numerous awards, such as the Pharmacia and Upjohn Outstanding Resident Award and the American Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Achievement Award.
Upon completion of his training at Pittsburgh, he joined the school’s faculty, serving as director of the Clinical Vision Research Center and the Charles T. Campbell Ophthalmic Microbiology Laboratory, co-director of the Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery Service, and director of the Cornea and Refractive Surgery Fellowship. Dr. Mah also served as medical director of the CORE Eye Bank and as team ophthalmologist for the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dr. Mah is the author of numerous peer reviewed articles ranging from LASIK surgery to viral diseases of the external eye. He has published numerous abstracts and delivered a wide range of presentations on 6 continents. Dr. Mah serves in several leadership positions, including Chair of the Cornea Clinical Committee, and as a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Committee for American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and as Co-Chair of the Cornea Preferred Practice Patterns for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Currently, Dr. Mah is the Director of the Cornea and External Disease Service, and Co-Director of the Refractive Surgery Service at Scripps Clinic Medical Group in La Jolla, California.
Prof Jonathan G CrowstonBSc MBBS PhD FRCOphth FRANZCO
Jonathan is the Ringland Anderson Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Melbourne and Managing Director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA). He is a practising glaucoma specialist clinician at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
He gained his ophthalmology training at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London and was awarded a PhD for work on ocular fibrosis at the Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London (2000). He subsequently completed Glaucoma Fellowships at the University of Sydney and UC San Diego where he then joined the glaucoma faculty, prior to moving to Australia in 2006.
Jonathan serves as a director on a number of boards including the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), ORIA (2008+), World Glaucoma Association , CERA Technologies Pty Ltd (2015+), Et al Research Pty Ltd (2015+), Oculo and Sight for All (2016).
Jonathan’s research is focussed on understanding why ageing predisposes to optic nerve disease and in particular focussing on neuroplasticity and the potential for retinal ganglion cell recovery.
He has published over 160 peer-reviewed manuscripts and co-authored three books. Jonathan has received a number of awards for his research and training. He is the recipient of the 2016 Peter Watson Medal from Cambridge Ophthalmology Society and the inaugural recipient of 2016 ARVO David L Epstein Award recognising outstanding research in Glaucoma and for mentoring young clinical investigators.
Dr Andrew Donohue
Head of ChemistryBSc(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 Russell Tait
Chief Executive OfficerBPharm 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.
Dr James Williams
DirectorBSc(Hons) PhD MBA
James has been a Director of PolyActiva since January 2013. He is a Founder and Investment Director of Yuuwa Capital LP, a venture capital firm based in Western Australia. Prior to establishing Yuuwa Capital, James was Managing Director of two medical device companies, ASX-listed Resonance Health Ltd and Argus Biomedical Pty Ltd, both of which took their products to market under his guidance, and CEO of drug discovery company Dimerix Bioscience Pty Ltd. He also co-founded and is a former CSO and Director of iCeutica, Inc., a clinical stage nano drug reformulation company that was acquired in 2011. James is a Director of Yuuwa investee companies Adalta Pty Ltd and Gordiantec Pty Ltd. He is also a Director of Linear Clinical Research Ltd, a specialist early phase clinical trial unit, a member of the “Panel of Experts” for the University of Western Australia’s Pathfinder Fund and remains a Director of Dimerix Bioscience. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Aberdeen, PhD at Melbourne University and MBA at the University of Western Australia.
Dr Chris Nave
Chairman and Non-Executive DirectorPhD GAICD
Chris Nave has been a director since January 2011. He is a founding partner of Brandon Capital Partners and Principal Executive of the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund. Chris has been directly in the management, fundraising, and successful spinouts of various companies in the life sciences industry. He previously was Director of Commercialisation at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia, and prior to this, was Manager of the Biotechnology Team at Melbourne Ventures. Chris has international experience with Leiras Pharmaceuticals in Finland, a wholly owned subsidiary of Schering AG, working for their Business Development group. He successfully moved companies to the US, securing investment from US investors for these companies. Chris is currently a Director of Osprey Medical Inc., Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, Fibrotech Therapeutics, Fluorotrop Pty Ltd and BACE Therapeutics. Chris has a first-class Honours degree in Science and a Ph.D. in Endocrinology and Physiology from the University of Melbourne.
The Hydrolysis of Diclofenac Esters: Synthetic Prodrug Building blocks for Biodegradable Drug-Polymer Conjugates
J Pharm Sci (2016) 105, 773-785 (Research Article – Pharmaceutical, Drug Delivery and Pharmaceutrical Technology). DOI:10.1002/jps.24665, Published:8 September 2015.
PolyActiva raises AUD$9.2M in Series B venture funding
PolyActiva announced today that it has raised AUD $9.2 Million in a Series B financing round from a consortium of investors including the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) and Brandon Biosciences Fund 1 (BBF1) (both managed by Brandon Capital), Yuuwa Capital and additional participation from angel investors.
New funding to commercialise medical research in Victoria
Victorian Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips today announced new funding of $1.6 million from the Victorian Government to support the operation of the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) over the next four years. An example of an innovative business benefiting from the MRCF is PolyActiva…