Professor Dennis Liotta
Professor Dennis Liotta helped transform HIV/AIDS from a death sentence to chronic infection in which patients could live active, near-normal lives. It is estimated more than 90 percent of all HIV-infected people in the US take (or have taken) one of the drugs he invented. In his current role as Executive Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development, Professor Liotta oversaw discovery and development of another novel nucleoside analogue, EIDD-2023, for treating hepatitis C infections. His research group also recently discovered the first potent, dual tropic (CCR5/CXCR4) HIV entry inhibitors. Over the past 25 years, Dr Liotta’s research focused on discovery and development of novel antiviral, anticancer and anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents. He is a leader of the Emory team that discovered the antiviral drug, Emtriva (emtricitabine), approved for treating HIV in 2003. Emtriva is a component of the ground-breaking Atripla - now universally accepted as the drug combination of choice for HIV-infected patients. Professor Liotta is inventor of record for clinically important antivirals, including: Lamivudine, Reverset, Racivir and Elvucitabine and lead inventor of Q-122, a clinical agent for controlling hot flashes in post-menopausal women.
Professor Brian Cox
Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Sussex, Brian Cox is focussed on drug discovery underpinned with automated synthesis. He is co-founder and director of Photodiversity Ltd, which specialises in novel screening libraries generated using innovative photochemical and automation methods. Previously he was Head of Chemistry at Novartis UK (Horsham), a site specialising in respiratory and GI research, and a Novartis expertise hub for automated synthesis. Professor Cox worked for GSK in different disease areas - particularly CNS and respiratory - developing a keen interest in modulation of ion channels as a target class, in which he is now a recognised expert. He is associated with several marketed compounds and late-stage clinical candidates including potential new asthma drug Fevipiprant. He studied at the University of Manchester, followed by an industrial Post Doc at Schering-Plough, New Jersey. He serves on several scientific advisory boards and is an elected member of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemistry Biology interface division Board.
Dr Brian Richardson
During 42 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr Richardson’s senior leadership positions included: Global Head of Musculoskeletal Disease Therapeutic Area at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research; Deputy Head of Drug Safety, Head of Pathology and Experimental Toxicology, Head of Immunology, Inflammation and Respiratory Research as well as Senior Project Manager for the worldwide development of new therapies for metabolic, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases for Sandoz Pharma. He was Head of Preclinical Research in Switzerland and UK and played a key role in the merger of the Sandoz and Ciba Research organisations that resulted in the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. Dr Richardson’s laboratories led the discovery, development and introduction of new therapies including Navoban, Simulect, Ilaris, Certican, Gilenya and Cosentyx. He has published more than 60 original peer-reviewed papers and contributed many book chapters in the fields of pathophysiology, endocrinology and receptor pharmacology.
Dr George Painter
Dr Painter is a world renowned authority on the development of antiviral drugs. As the former worldwide Director of Research Process and International Deputy Therapeutic Head for Antiviral Research at GlaxoWellcome, Dr Painter has spent his life’s work on the discovery and development of therapeutics. He also held the role of EVP and founder at Triangle Pharmaceuticals where he oversaw the development of Emtricitabine through NDA filing. As CEO and founder of Chimerix, Dr Painter brought CMX001, a broad spectrum antiviral, through Phase 2b and CMX157, an antiviral active against HIV and HBV, through Phase 1 clinical trials.
Professor Robyn Ward AM
Professor Robyn Ward is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Vice-President (Research) and Acting Executive Dean of Medicine at The University of Queensland. With more than 20 years’ experience in lab-based, clinical and health services research in cancer, Professor Ward has a significant record of achievement in translational and clinical cancer research, including more than 200 peer-reviewed publications. Professor Ward’s achievements were recognised by a Commonwealth Health Minister's Award (Excellence in Health and Medical Research, 2004) and the NSW Premier’s Award (Outstanding Cancer Research, 2007). In 2013, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medical research.
Dr Jeanette Wood
Dr Jeanette Wood is an international drug-discovery leader with extensive experience in all aspects of drug discovery and development in disease areas including: cancer, cardiovascular, and inflammatory diseases. Most recently Dr Wood was Chief Scientific Officer of Genkyotex, a Swiss-based biotech company developing new treatments for fibrotic diseases. Her previous positions include: Vice President and Head of iScience Oncology at AstraZeneca with responsibility for early discovery oncology, and Head of Biology at S*BIO, Singapore’s first biotech drug discovery company.
Dr Wood has held senior scientific leadership roles in the pharma company Ciba-Geigy/Ciba/Novartis, including her last role at Novartis as a member of the Oncology Research Management Team and the Research Management Committee. She is currently performing board director and advisory roles for: Nuevolution in Denmark, Idorsia, Basilea and Telremo in Switzerland, Cumulus in the UK and Maurice Wilkins Institute in New Zealand. Dr Wood played a key role in the discovery and profiling of several marketed drugs including: Aliskiren (Tekturna), Valsartan (Diovan), Everolimus (Afinitor), Imatinib (Glivec), Fingolimid (Gilenya) and Osimertinib (Tagrisso). Born and educated in New Zealand (University of Otago, Dunedin), Dr Wood is author of more than 180 peer-reviewed journal publications, book chapters and reviews and an inventor on more than 20 patents.
Dr Dean Moss
A UQ alumnus, Dean Moss has 30 years’ experience in science, academia, business, management and commercialisation in Australia, USA and the UK. He has been managing director or senior business development executive of several health and biotech companies worldwide, including Agen Biomedical, Launch Diagnostics, AMRAD ICT, AMRAD Biotech, and United Drug. He established his own start-up business in the UK, York Medical Technologies. Prior to moving into the commercial world, Dean was principal R&D scientist at Agen Biomedical. He also worked as an NHMRC research scientist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, the Royal Brisbane Hospital and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. He is a recipient of the Campion-Ma-Playoust Memorial Award for Medical Research. Dean is a board member of several Australian companies and was a member of the investment committee of the pre-seed venture funds Uniseed, the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund and the New Zealand Government’s KiwiNet. He is a current member of the NHMRC Health Innovation Advisory Committee. He has contributed to raising over $100m in venture capital investment.
Dr Mark Ashton (Chair)
Dr Mark Ashton joined UniQuest in 2010 and is currently the Executive Director of Intellectual Property Commercialisation. Before joining UniQuest Dr Ashton was the Executive Vice President, Business Development at the international biotech, Evotec AG, a company that focuses on drug discovery alliances and development partnerships with the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Prior to leading the business development group at Evotec, Dr Ashton was President, Discovery Services at Evotec, responsible for the company’s Drug Discovery division, a division that carried out projects involving high throughput screening, parallel synthesis and medicinal chemistry to pre-clinical development. Dr Ashton has worked within the biotech and pharmaceutical industry since the early 1990’s and has both operational and commercial experience of a wide range of life science projects. He has worked with most of the major pharmaceutical companies and a number of biotech companies around the world negotiating agreements totalling in excess of $100M. Dr Ashton is the author and co-author of a number of peer reviewed scientific publications and patents including new chemical entities that have progressed to human clinical trials.
Dr Andrew Harvey
Dr Harvey heads the Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative as a Senior Director at UniQuest. Prior to joining UniQuest, Dr Harvey was the Vice President of Drug Discovery at Bionomics Limited (Adelaide, Australia), a publicly-listed discovery and development company working across oncology, neuroscience and inflammation. In this role, he was responsible for leading chemistry and IP in programs ranging from hit identification to phase II clinical development, including two programs partnered with Merck & Co. While at Bionomics, Dr Harvey worked closely with the Cancer Therapeutics Cooperative Research Centre (CTx) as an industry partner and a member of the CTx operations group. Previously, Dr Harvey was an NHMRC Industry Fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (Melbourne, Australia), where his research focused on autoimmune disease. He obtained his PhD in biological chemistry at the University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand).