Investment Committees

Uniseed has two Investment Committees – one for Biotechnology (Bio) and the other for Deep Technology (Tech).  The Uniseed investment team members serve on both committees and are supported by a number of specialist managers.

Peter Devine

Tech & Bio

CEO

Peter Devine became CEO of Uniseed in 2006, transitioning from his initial role as Uniseed Investment Director.  Peter has extensive experience at board and executive management levels in the commercialisation of early stage technologies, having held senior R&D, business development and commercialisation positions in a number of Australian companies and Australian universities.  Before joining Uniseed, Peter was Vice President of Business Development at Progen Industries Ltd.  He was Research, Development and Commercialisation Manager at Brisbane-based PanBio Pty Ltd from 1996 to 2000 and also worked in business development at UniQuest Pty Ltd.

Peter holds a PhD from the University of Queensland and received the Dean’s Prize for his MBA Studies at the Australian Graduate School of Management.  He received a Centenary Medal in 2003 for outstanding contribution to the business of biotechnology.  He is a Graduate and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Markets) and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance from Kaplan Professional. In 2011 & 2012, Peter was named on the Kaplan High Achievers Honour Roll.

Laura Droessler – Dansie

Tech

Investment Manager - Technology, Sydney

Laura is Uniseed’s Tech Investment Manager based in Sydney. Laura is an experienced technology transfer professional, having worked in university commercialisation and entrepreneurship settings at UNSW in Australia and the University of Oxford in the UK, including overseas development programmes via the UK Newton Fund in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering. Most recently she acted as Senior Business Development and Commercialisation Manager at UNSW, where she led the Physical Sciences Team developing collaboration and translational activities across the Faculty of Science.

Laura holds a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Oxford.

John Kurek

Bio

Investment Director, Biotechnology, Melbourne

John joined Uniseed as an Investment Manager in Melbourne. He is responsible for working closely with Melbourne Ventures Limited, the University of Melbourne’s commercialisation group, in identifying new investment opportunities, and also covers Uniseed’s overall biotechnology opportunities.

John brings extensive industry experience as a Biotechnology Manager with a focus on the strategic design and implementation of drug development programs. John’s previous roles have included Pharmaceutical Development Manager at BioDiem Ltd, where he was responsible for managing the preclinical, clinical and regulatory aspects of BioDiem’s drug development programs, and Preclinical Development Manager at Amrad Corporation Ltd where he was responsible for the management of preclinical drug development projects. His experience extends from drug discovery, to the phase I-II clinical phases of drug development. John has a PhD in Neuroscience and a Post Graduate Diploma in Drug Evaluation and Pharmaceutical Science, both from the University of Melbourne and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Liza Yeo

Bio

Investment Manager - Biotechnology, Sydney

Liza has extensive experience in clinical development. She was previously Director of Business Development at Contract Research Organisation (CRO) Parexel for over 6 years. During this time, she worked closely with Biotech clients to support them with their clinical development plans. She was also responsible for managing global clinical trials across a range of therapeutic areas, including trials involving some of the newer technologies such as cell therapies. Prior to this, Liza worked for Roche as well as CROs Quintiles and INC Research. She is a trained Pharmacist. 

Paul Butler

Tech

Investment Director, Technology, Brisbane

Paul Butler is Uniseed’s Investment Manager based at UQ. Paul is an experienced General Manager who has led and developed teams in a technology domain across the communications, medical and mining industries. Prior to Uniseed Paul was CEO at Serene Medical, CEO at SmartCap Technologies, Executive General Manager Products at GroundProbe and CEO of ASX listed USCOM. Paul was previously an Investment Manager at Uniseed in Sydney and also started his own consulting business, CEO Alliance, to support technology companies as they navigate their way to commercialisation having market experience in Australia, Europe and the USA.

Paul is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and with qualifications in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Economics, he has been able to develop and bring new products to market. Through various roles Paul has had liaison with customers via direct and indirect sales, government health systems, contract manufacturers (domestic, Asian and USA), third party logistics providers, distribution channels and financial auditors. 

Kathryn Sunn

Bio

Director of Commercialisation at Macquarie University

Kathryn is the Director of Commercialisation at Macquarie University where she is responsible for building and growing the pipeline of technology transfer and commercialisation opportunities at Macquarie University.  She brings with her a unique and well-rounded background in commercialisation combined with broad technical expertise and an extensive network across the scientific, industry, commercialisation and investor communities.

With over 20 year’s experience in Intellectual Property, strategy, commercialisation and business development comprising roles in two of Australia’s top tier patent firms and Australia’s two largest Universities; Kathryn has established a track record in maximising impact from strategic partnerships and providing pragmatic commercially focused advice to leverage innovations into valuable assets.

Kathryn has a medical science background with a major in genetics, gaining her PhD from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.  She is a registered patent and trade mark attorney in Australia and New Zealand and is an experienced Board Director, serving on Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) and several startup companies.

Jeffrey Bourne

Tech

Investment Manager - Technology, Melbourne

Jeffrey is Uniseed’s Investment Manager, Technology based in Melbourne working closely with the University of Melbourne and Monash University. He has worked for over a decade on and with new and early stage ventures in the financial services, food and agriculture, and defence sectors. During his corporate career, he has led new product and service development and re-design projects, and business re-engineering projects for top Australian and global companies including Vanguard Investments, AXA, ANZ Bank, and Telstra. Jeffrey earned a Bachelor of Engineering from The University of Queensland, an MBA from Melbourne Business School, and a Graduate Certificate of Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship.

Katrina Sorocos

Bio

Senior Technology Transfer and Licensing Officer, RIC, University of Melbourne

Katrina has over 9 years experience in commercialisation of early stage technologies within both the University and Investment sectors. Katrina leads the Life Sciences Portfolio within the IP & Technology Transfer team in RIC at the University of Melbourne and is involved in assessing, protecting and developing University technologies as well as identifying and negotiating with commercial partners or investors to further develop and exploit these technologies.

Previously, Katrina held Business Development roles within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University and was involved in commercialising University technologies as well as identifying and facilitating a range of research funding and development opportunities with government and industry partners. Katrina also held an Investment Analyst role with the Trans-Tasman Commercialisation Fund, working closely with Investment Managers on sourcing and building investment proposals and performing due diligence on investment opportunities in early stage University technologies.

Katrina has completed a Bachelor of Biotechnology with First Class Honours and Master of Business (Science & Technology) at Monash University.

Geoff Waring

Tech

Managing Partner, Stoic Venture Capital Fund (Independent Committee Member)

Dr. Geoff Waring is a Managing Partner of Stoic Venture Capital Fund and Investment Manager of Uniseed’s Co-Investment Fund. Stoic invests in early stage technology companies, both directly and indirectly as a co-investor or Limited Partner in early stage venture capital funds.

Geoff has invested in, co-founded, mentored and sourced external venture capital for high potential early stage companies. Prior to working in venture capital, Geoff gained a PhD in economics and strategy from the University of California-Los Angeles and held a number of academic positions at the University of New South Wales, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Emory University and University of California-Los Angeles. He has also led training courses for clients including Bain Capital, McKinsey & Company, Westpac, National Australia Bank, Essilor and Mallesons, amongst others, and consulted with Boston Consulting Group.

Mary Frey

Bio

Commercialisation Manager Health & Biosecurity at CSIRO

My focus is on supporting teams to identify commercial opportunity through collaboration of strategic initiatives that solve technical issues, scale to manufacture or explore new product development avenues for an unmet need in the market-place.

I have over 25 years of commercial knowhow with a broad range of industrial experience including: biotechnology, medical devices, ICT/IOT and the mining sector. My skills are typified by my ability to identify commercial opportunity, secure IP and leverage organisational capability, technology and capital to exploit the competitive advantage and drive the agenda for sustainable outcomes. As a founder of an export manufacturing business and entrepreneur, I understand the importance of strategic investment either in the form of joint-ventures, material supply agreements and distribution networks.

I have led teams and campaigns with global multinationals such as, Serono, Unilever and Newcrest Mining to facilitate collaborative investments, navigated the regulatory hurdles on transfer pricing, understood the tax implication and traversed the landscape of structuring a deal while thriving in due-diligence.

I am proficient at identifying the risks associated with commercial strategies, motivated by the challenges of complex commercialisation transactions such as spinouts, start-ups and joint ventures, and undaunted in the approach to seeking funding opportunities.

My key industry experience:

  • Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals – Developed immunodiagnostic test kits for the Over the Counter (OTC) market: Founding Shareholder/Director of Australia’s first stem cell storage facility known as Cryosite: Founding shareholder/Director of ISO/TGA biological reagent manufacturing facilities for export to veterinary vaccine market. Facilitated Innovation Connection grant projects in cancer diagnostics, therapeutic agents and novel 3D bioprinting for in vitro cell culture.
  • Mining Equipment, Technology and Services – Developed university business plan for “Gold Strike” a geochemical vectoring tool for deep cover exploration. Facilitated engagement of junior mineral exploration companies with capability at UTAS CODES for geochemical vectoring.
  • Enabling Technologies – Facilitated digital, IOT and big data analytics for remote monitoring and control of SME’s assets; identified University AI experts for applications in 2D-3D visualisation for projects in textile manufacturing and security/safety surveillance.
  • Food & Agribusiness – Investigating waste-water treatment and recycling for large confectionery manufacturer

Colin Davies

Tech

Head of Physical Sciences, UniQuest

Colin joined UniQuest in 2020 and manages the Physical Sciences Commercialisation Team. Since graduating in chemical engineering, Colin has worked across a wide range of sectors on the commercialisation of early-stage technology. He has over 10 years’ experience in project management and business development roles, in particular supporting several nascent university spin-outs. He previously worked as a strategy consultant, where he advised clients on growth strategy and technology & innovation management, and as a product & technology development consultant.

Danielle Neale

Tech

Director, Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise, University of Newcastle

Danielle Neale is an experienced Senior Leader and entrepreneur, with over 20 years’ experience leading transformative teams in the public sector and higher education industry, having worked at the University of Melbourne in venture formation, UNSW in research commercialisation and as a startup founder and senior consultant in government innovation.

As Director, Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Danielle’s role is to lead a high-performing team to establish key research partnerships for the University of Newcastle and implement the institutional strategies for knowledge exchange, commercialisation, industry engagement and entrepreneurship that will drive the University’s impact agenda and subsequently support critical industry transformation and job creation in the Hunter Region. Her focus is on the scale-up of successful programs and maximising the large potential that exists across the University’s Colleges and Institutes in health and medical research, recycling and clean energy technologies and regional economic development.

Danielle’s key achievements include working on the successful bid for the $280M Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (TRaCE) program, leading a commercialisation team to generating over $100M in new contract research revenue for UNSW and directing a successful custom software development company in Brisbane.

Actively involved in mentoring and previously held various board positions, Danielle is a sought-after mentor, coach and advisor to startups, qualified with an MBA (Technology) from UNSW AGSM and as a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Director’s Program.

Dax Kukulj

Tech

Director (Acting), Business Development and Commercialisation UNSW

Dax leads Business Development and Commercialisation in the Knowledge Exchange team at UNSW.  He has over 15 years’ experience developing and commercialising new technologies in start-ups, university and corporate research environments.  His technology experience covers advanced materials and high-tech sector including: robotics, devices, photonics, materials and data analytics. He has an MBA from AGSM and PhD in Polymer Materials and BSc in Industrial Chemistry from UNSW.  He is the author of 25 scientific articles, two book chapters, numerous conference presentations and has filed over 30 patent families.

Aoife Cullen

Bio

Head of Commercialisation – Life Sciences for Monash Innovation

Aoife Cullen, the Head of Commercialisation – Life Sciences for Monash Innovation, has worked in commercialisation, technology transfer and translation and the formation and facilitation of early-stage companies, and has worked in research and tech transfer roles in Europe (Trinity College Dublin), the USA (Uniformed Services University, Henry M. Jackson Foundation and The University of Colorado) and Australia (UniQuest, University of Queensland and Monash University). In addition to scientific credentials in science (a BSc in Biochem and a PhD in Neuroscience), she is also a Registered Technology Transfer Professional (RTTP) and Certified Licensing Professional (CLP), and has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors, AICD Companies Directors course in May 2014, and the Stanford University Institute for Entrepreneurship program in 2011. 

Leong Mar

Tech

Head of Commercialisation, University of Sydney

Leong is the Head of Commercialisation at the University of Sydney. Before that, he was the Commercialisation Manager at CSIRO and managed the commercialisation of technologies developed by a number of the business units and provided mentoring for potential spin-out teams on their entrepreneurial journey. Prior to CSIRO, Leong spent 10 years with DuPont, where he held a number of roles, including managing the ANZ Technical Centre and leading Corporate Business Growth and Innovation. During this time, he led the development of multi-award-winning product and service solutions for the mining industry and helped identify and commercialise a number of new product offerings in different industries.

Leong is an experienced Technologist, Innovator and Entrepreneur with a unique combination of commercial and technical leadership experience gained over 20 years from working in spectrum of organisations including tech start-ups, small business, research organisations and one of the world’s iconic science corporations. With an expansive knowledge and expertise across the physical and chemical sciences Leong has a successful track record in identifying, developing and commercialising products and services in different industries.

Leong has a BSc(Hons) and PhD in Chemistry from UNSW, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Six Sigma Green Belt qualified.

Cherie van Wensveen

Tech

Commercialisation Manager at CSIRO

Over 10 years’ innovation, IP, commercialization strategy, partnering and management experience with technical qualifications in Chemistry and Hydrometallurgy. My current role at CSIRO involves liaising closely with research directors and technical teams, developing commercialisation pathways for research, sourcing investment, partnering and licensing, as well as structuring and managing spin-outs to the industry.

My previous role at BHP was focused on partnerships initially at a technology program level and then later in a more strategic capacity. I was involved in establishing and managing various partnerships whilst at BHP including Southern Innovation, Naturafrac, an ore pre-conditioning consortium (involving 3 external entities, SRI, Imperial College and UQ), and have managed and negotiated the collaboration terms with Toyota to conduct ELV trials, with a view to securing options for partnership on a more broader scale (e.g. hydrogen) if/when desired. I have also had engagements with Monash, UQ and the Sustainable Minerals Institute and was involved in establishing Umbrella Agreements with both UQ and SDSU to enable projects between UQ and BHP to be established seamlessly under one agreement.

I have established connections into VC firms like Hambrecht Ventures and RFC Ambrian, Jolimont Ventures, BHP Ventures, Uniseed and Main Sequence. I am Vice President-Elect on the Board of the Licensing Executives Society of Australia and New Zealand (LESANZ), a professional body focussing on the areas of commercialisation, innovation, technology transfer, intellectual property and licensing. This affords me the unique opportunity to establish direct links with innovation and commercialisation experts, universities, start-ups and technology companies across the globe through the membership of the parent organisation LES International. My other recent commercial roles have involved developing and implementing commercialization and innovation management strategy and plans for organizations of varying sizes including government, start-ups and multinationals, including identifying technical and strategic partners to accelerate the implementation of these technologies. This includes developing a sound IP strategy, R&D project prioritization, pipeline management, internal & external stakeholder engagement and internal resource allocation. I am a registered Patent & Trade Marks Attorney in Australia.

Michael Angliss

Tech

Head of Commercialisation - Physical Sciences, Monash University

Michael is the Head of Commercialisation – Physical Sciences and has over 15 years experience in technology transfer and commercialisation.  Michael started his career as a patent attorney in a number of corporate and private practice roles before joining UniQuest where he held roles as Chief IP Officer and Senior Director – Physical Sciences.  He joined Monash Innovation in 2023.

Taylor Syme

Bio

Commercialisation Manager at the University of Sydney

Taylor is a Commercialisation Manager at the University of Sydney, where he bridges the gap between academia and industry. Taylor firmly believes in the transformative power of academic research, viewing it as a key driving force behind improving our societal, environmental, and economic conditions. He is passionate about working closely with his peers to provide a commercial lens and to help them achieve impact with their research through commercialisation.

As a technology transfer professional, Taylor is responsible for evaluating and protecting research in the medical and biotech space that is suitable for commercialisation, and to identify partners and negotiate deals with them to achieve a route to market. He has relationships with and understands the needs of a diverse range of stakeholders such as pharmaceutical firms, deep tech ventures, government entities, universities, healthcare, incubators, and non-for-profits. He has facilitated the spin-out of startups, collaborating with entrepreneurs to support the growth and success of their companies.

Taylor has a PhD in molecular biology and neuroimmunology, and a Bachelor of Science (Molecular Biology and Genetics) with Honours, both from USYD.

David Woollard 

Tech

Senior Knowledge and Technology Transfer Manager, UoM

David is a technology transfer professional with specific expertise in the translation and commercialisation of university developed intellectual property into innovative new products, services, and technologies. David leads the STEM Portfolio within the IP & Technology Transfer team at the University of Melbourne and is involved in assessing and protecting university developed IP as well as identifying and negotiating with commercial partners and investors to exploit these technologies. Prior to working at the University of Melbourne, he spent eight years at Deakin University where he held several roles in the assessment and protection of university developed IP and the commercialisation of a wide range of early-stage technologies via assignment and licencing arrangements, and establishment of start-up companies.

He has also worked as an Investment Analyst for an investment fund that focused on commercialisation of university developed research and as a consultant for a Biotechnology service company. He also has over 10 years of post-doctoral research experience in the fields of immunology, virology, vaccine development and cancer research with over 20 publications in high impact journals in these fields.

David completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne in the Department of Veterinary Science and completed his Executive MBA at Monash University. He is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

.

Kyle Giumelli

Bio & Tech

UniSuper Observer

Kyle is a Senior Investment Analyst in Private Markets at UniSuper, one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds with over $130 billion in assets under management.

At UniSuper, Kyle is responsible for deal origination & execution, ongoing asset management and portfolio strategy & construction across the fund’s $15 billion unlisted infrastructure and private equity portfolio, which includes direct investments in airports, telecommunications, timberlands, toll roads, PPPs and healthcare assets and investments in infrastructure and private equity funds.

Kyle has over ten years of professional experience, holds a Bachelor of Economics and is a Chartered Accountant.

David Markwell

Bio

Director of Commercialisation – Life Sciences, UniQuest

David is a Director of Commercialisation at UniQuest, where he is responsible for building technology transfer and commercialisation opportunities within the health discipline. He is an Intellectual Property and Commercialisation professional with over 15 years’ experience in commercialising intellectual property assets and/or expertise from publicly funded research organisations, across a broad range of technology fields and industry segments.  David has led and closed technology transfer deals, managed diverse IP portfolios, and developed and executed commercialisation strategies for a broad range of research innovations.

David has previously managed Intellectual Property and Commercialisation across two public hospital organisations, the Western Sydney Local Health District and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network.  Prior to this David held positions at UniQuest, including Commercialisation Associate and Commercialisation Analyst.   David has a Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Biotechnology, with a focus on technology and innovation management.

Harikesh Pushpapathan

Bio 

Stoic VC Observer

Harikesh is an Investment Manager at Stoic VC and sits across the entire lifecycle, from initial conversations to completion. Prior to Stoic, he cofounded a telehealth platform for regional/rural public health and worked at several venture capital firms and sell-side firms. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Harikesh is an active angel investor and mentor for several of Australia’s top accelerators. Harikesh serves on the Investment Committee (Healthcare) of global accelerator and venture capital fund Antler. Harikesh holds a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Neuroscience) /Advanced Studies from the University of Sydney. Focus in Neuropharmacology and Behavioural Neuroscience.

Ross Macdonald

Bio 

Independent Committee Member

Ross Macdonald has an extensive and successful background in the pharmaceutical industry. With over thirty-five years of local and international experience in unit and general management in the industry, he has brought several products from the lab bench to market. Ross also has broad-based experience in profit centre management, technology commercialisation, strategic planning, deal negotiation and transaction (licensing, M&A, asset sale & purchase), market and industry analysis, human resource management, product development and finance. Ross was most recently Chief Executive Officer and MD for the ASX-listed cell therapy company Cynata Therapeutics Ltd. Prior to joining Cynata he was CEO of Living Cell Technologies Ltd, Vice President, Business Development at Sinclair Pharmaceuticals Ltd (a UK based speciality pharmaceuticals company), Vice President, Corporate Development for Stiefel Laboratories, Inc, (Coral Gables, FL, now part of GlaxoSmithKline), Vice President of Business Development for Connetics Corporation (Palo Alto, CA), Vice President of Research & Development with F.H. Faulding & Co Limited (now part of Mayne Group/Hospira Inc) and Managing Director of Soltec Research.
Ross has a PhD in Biochemistry from Monash University and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from Swinburne University.

Eric Wei

Bio 

Senior Business Development Manager, UNSW

Eric is a Senior Business Development Manager at the UNSW Industry & Innovation team where he leads the Life Sciences portfolio for IP management, commercialisation and external engagement activities.

With two decades of experience, Eric has worked in various capacities at universities, university-affiliated medical research institutes, and spin-off commercial subsidiaries. His expertise lies in strategic planning for product discovery and development across a range of areas, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, clinical trials, medical software, novel clinical services, and regulatory pathways. Throughout his career, Eric has held leadership positions, guiding the commercialization pathway and business strategy for innovative healthcare products to successfully enter the market. He has also experience in developing and implementing business strategies to
initiate and secure B2B opportunities with key partners, both domestically and internationally for commercialising cutting-edge healthcare technologies. Eric brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to drive the advancement of novel healthcare solutions and foster impactful collaborations in the life sciences domain.

Eric has a PhD in Biochemistry from UNSW and a Postgraduate Certificate in Commercialisation from UNSW Business school.