Prof Katherine Andrews
Director, Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD), Griffith University

Professor Katherine Andrews is the Director of Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD) at Griffith University and the head of Compounds Australia, Australia’s national compound storage and curation facility.

Katherine has more than 20 years’ experience in malaria drug discovery research. She has received significant research funding over her career and several awards including an ARC Future Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, Queensland Premiers Award for Medical Research, Queensland Women in Technology Life Sciences Research Leader Award and Life Sciences Queensland Women of Influence Award. Katherine is a past Director of the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) and past Executive Council member of the Australian Society for Parasitology (ASP).

Katherine is passionate about STEM engagement and promoting women in STEM. She is the founder and Director of the That’s RAD! Science project which aims to inspire young children though engaging STEM stories authored by leading women in STEM. To date, four books have been produced and >5,000 copies distributed to children, schools and libraries around Australia.

A/Prof Greg Arndt Head, Drug Discovery Centre and THerapeutic INnovations for Kids (THINK), CCI

Associate Professor Greg Arndt is the Head of the ACRF Drug Discovery Centre, based within Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), and Head of Drug Discovery for the THerapeutic INnovations for Kids (THINK) initiative, which is an end-to-end, target-to-patient, drug discovery and development capability focused on finding novel drug candidates for childhood diseases. Greg has also had recent roles as Group Leader within the Cancer Therapeutics Cooperative Research Centre and the Preclinical Drug Testing Core for the Zero Childhood Cancer Personalised Medicine Program. He is presently an Associate Professor (Conjoint) in the School of Women’s and Children’s Health as part of the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW.

Prior to joining CCI in 2009, Greg was Research Director of the Target Discovery Program at Johnson & Johnson Research, where he spent 16 years in increasingly senior roles, and established an integrative gene discovery platform for identifying new targets for drug discovery in asthma, cancer, and infectious diseases.

Greg’s research interests and expertise span target discovery and validation, development of novel technology platforms and high throughput small molecule screening, early-stage drug discovery (gene- and small molecule-based therapeutics), development of unique cell-based platforms for personalized medicine, and translation of novel biological discoveries into the clinic.

Dr Mark Ashton
Executive Director of IP Commercialisation, QEDDI, Uniquest

Mark has over 23 years’ experience in numerous roles in the technology transfer, biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Mark joined UniQuest in 2010 and is currently the Executive Director of IP Commercialisation leading a team responsible for the commercialisation of intellectual property via licensing, start-up investment of research collaborations.

Prior to joining UniQuest Mark was the Executive Vice President, Business Development and a member of the Executive Management Committee of Evotec AG, a publicly listed, European based biotechnology company. He led a team responsible for the global commercial activities of Evotec with the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. During 15 years at Evotec he worked in various senior management roles. He has raised investment for start-ups and licensed technologies to international and domestic companies.

He is currently a director of a number of unlisted companies in Australia. Mark is the author and co-author on a number of peer reviewed scientific publications and named inventor on a number of patent applications.

Dr Leigh Coultas
Business Development Manager, WEHI

Leigh Coultas works as a Business Development Manager supporting WEHI’s drug discovery activities and commercialisation of promising research projects.  Leigh is an experienced biomedical researcher, having previously held a leadership position in academia, applying 20 years of expertise in apoptosis and vascular biology to identify potential new treatments for vascular diseases in the eye.

His grant-funded research led to numerous peer reviewed publications and international patent filings.  Leigh holds a BSc with honours in microbiology and immunology from the University of Adelaide and a PhD in medical biology from the University of Melbourne.

Dr Brian Dymock
Director of Chemistry, QEDDI, Uniquest

Brian Dymock leads the medicinal chemistry group at QEDDI working on small molecule preclinical drug discovery.  Previously, Brian worked in discovery research and development in large pharmaceutical companies, biotech and academia.

He was Associate Professor in Medicinal Chemistry at the National University of Singapore and previously Head of Chemistry for S*BIO Pte Ltd in Singapore, where his team was responsible for the discovery of Pacritinib, Pracinostat, TG02, VS-5584 and two other clinical candidates.

Brian led the chemistry team at Vernalis which discovered Luminespib in collaboration with the Institute of Cancer Research. Brian was a Department Manager at Evotec and a Team Leader at Roche UK. He earned his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Glasgow.

Dr Nagaraj Gopisetty
Strategy and Business Development, Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD), Griffith University

Dr Nagaraj Gopisetty is a business executive and innovation champion and is currently the Strategy and Business Development Manager at Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD) at Griffith University. With over 14 years of experience in life sciences and healthcare sectors working at the interface of industry, academia, and government, Nagaraj has been successfully involved in translation and commercialisation of research outcomes with proven success in innovation and project management, stakeholder engagement with industry and government. Until recently was the Deputy CEO of Life Sciences Queensland responsible for advocating the life sciences sector, developed and delivered the LS catalyst program empowering researchers and entrepreneurs in advancing innovations through the creation of startups, facilitate training and education in creating new ventures, connecting to networks attracting investments across life sciences sector in Queensland creating social and economic impact.

Nagaraj holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from India, a MSc (Hons) biotechnology from Griffith University, a PhD in Pharmacy from the University of Queensland, and an MBA from the University of Newcastle. He is a member on several key working groups and steering committees including being a mentor on the IMNIS program, Board member for Regional Development Australia Brisbane and Knowledge Commercialisation Australia – QLD committee member.

Dr Brendon Monahan
Chief Scientific Officer, Canthera Discovery

Brendon Monahan is the Chief Scientific Officer at Canthera Discovery which is is an oncology-focused small molecule drug discovery and development organisation.  As CSO, he is responsible for leading the science strategy for the organisation and progressing the scientific portfolio.

Brendon's previous appointments include the Director of Discovery Biology at the Cancer Therapeutics CRC and Head of the Drug Discovery Translational Research Centre at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Brendon has over 15 years research experience in molecular genetics in various biological systems, with a particular focus on gene regulation and epigenetics. Brendon has had appointments at Massey University, Harvard Medical School, CSIRO and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Brendon has a PhD from the University of Melbourne.

Dr Anne-Laure Puaux
Head, Biotechnology and Commercialisation, WEHI

Anne-Laure Puaux leads the Commercialisation team at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. Ann-Laure is an experienced business development leader in the life sciences sector. She started her career as an immunologist, having completed her PhD at Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, and a postdoctoral research at Singapore Immunology Network with A*STAR in Singapore. She has also held staff scientist positions within research and development departments of biopharma companies.

Anne-Laure has previously worked in Europe, the US, and Asia, and during her time at GlaxoSmithKline she transitioned from Research and Development to Business Development and Licensing. She has led new opportunity evaluations, business cases, and collaborative research projects, as well as designing, negotiating and closing deals with academic research institutes and biotech companies.

Anne-Laure completed her PhD in Immunology from INAPG (now AgroParisTech) at Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, and gained her Global Executive MBA from IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.

Dr Alexandra Stupple
Director of Research and Operations, Canthera Discovery

Alexandra Stupple first joined Canthera Discovery (previously Cancer Therapeutics) in 2012 as a research and development chemist based at Monash University. She has held a number of leadership roles over the years and is responsible for the smooth running of the organisation as the Director of Research and Operations.

Alexandra previously held a position at CTxONE Pty Ltd (Oncology One Pty Ltd) as the Associate Director Research and Alliances, where she managed the successful research collaboration between Melbourne-based Research Institutes and Pfizer. Prior to joining Cancer Therapeutics, Alexandra worked for Pfizer in Sandwich, Kent as a process chemist working on late-stage drug development candidates.

Alexandra completed postdoctoral research at Harvard University and has a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the University of Nottingham.

A/Prof Ian Street
Director, THerapeutic INnovations for Kids (THINK), CCI

Associate Professor Ian Street has an extensive background in commercial and academic drug discovery. Ian established and ran the very successful Centre for High Throughput Chemical Screening at WEHI and established similar drug discovery facilities at Merck, Amrad, Cerylid and Bionomics.

Ian also co-founded the successful Cancer Therapeutics Cooperative Research Centre (CTx CRC Ltd), where he was the Chief Scientific Officer and responsible for directing the R&D program and for managing the Portfolio Management Group, the main forum for evaluating and selecting new projects and monitoring the performance of projects in the pipeline.

During his career, Ian has participated in drug discovery collaborations with Aventis, Chugai Pharmaceuticals, Chiron, BiochemPharma, Genentech and Abbott. His career-spanning body of work has contributed to five new investigational agents entering clinical trials, two FDA approved drugs, over $130 million in grants and commercial funding supporting research and development, over $365 million in milestone and royalty payments flowing to Australian organisations, granted and licensed patents, and high impact publications.