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


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.

Natasha Rawlings

Investment Manager, Sydney

Natasha Rawlings has joined Uniseed as an Investment Manager in Sydney.  Natasha is a tech entrepreneur who has led, founded and mentored early and mid-stage tech start-ups, with a particular focus on creating revenue through sales and marketing. Prior to this, Natasha had a successful career as a marketer holding top management positions in Australian and UK companies.

Natasha brings her strong commercial acumen to the Uniseed team, where she has rich experience in new product development and building revenues through new routes to market. Natasha’s previous roles include CEO and Founder of StreetHawk, a mobile relationship management platform, and CEO of Heads Over Heels – an organisation that helps women entrepreneurs with scalable businesses grow.

Natasha’s corporate experience includes Marketing Director of International Masters Publishers (publishing) and Guthy-Renker (cosmetics and fitness), and as a Senior Manager in corporate innovation and new revenue streams at News Corporation in the UK.

Natasha holds a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology, Sydney.

John Kurek

Investment Manager, 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.

Paul Butler

Investment Manager, 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. 

Idalia Dawidowska


Commercialisation Theme Leader, University of Sydney

Idalia is a highly qualified Business Professional with medical background and extensive international experience at AstraZeneca, where she led the Regional Marketing Team in Central Eastern Europe, followed by several years of building ventures from novel science.

As the Commercial Manager at the University of Sydney, Idalia works with researchers to explore the commercial potential for their ideas/inventions and supports them in translating their research to practice through commercialization.

She has a deep and broad understanding of commercialisation pathways and business models for healthcare innovations and hands-on experience in commercialising academic research, including establishing and managing spinouts.

In her previous role as the CEO of Renephra Ltd., a medical device University of Manchester spinout company, Idalia has raised 3.8m equity and grant funding and took an initial academic idea to a proof-of-concept clinical study in collaboration with several UK Research Organizations and SMEs.

Idalia is a medical doctor (MD) with an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School (UK).

Favourite mottos:

Fortune Favours the Prepared Mind, Louis Pasteur

If you do not risk anything, you risk everything, John Spence, No Doubt  

Joy Francisco


Business Development Manager, Life Sciences Knowledge Exchange, Division of Enterprise, UNSW

Joy is responsible for industry collaborations, business development initiatives, technology licensing, and intellectual property protection and commercialisation activities for the University’s opportunities in the health and medical sector.

Joy has been a Registered Technology Transfer Professional (RTTP) since 2014. This designation is a reflection of her international experience and significant contributions to this profession, having previously been recruited in technology transfer positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National
Cancer Institute (NCI), and the University of Melbourne (UoM).

Joy’s holds a PhD in Medicine, Master of Biomedical Engineering, Bachelor
of Materials Engineering with First Class Honours, and a Graduate Certificate in Research Management and Commercialisation, all from UNSW, as well as a Master of Business Administration from Melbourne Business School.

Katrina Sorocos


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.

Mary Frey


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

Ross Macdonald


Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director at Cynata Therapeutics (Independent Committee Member)

Ross Macdonald is Chief Executive Office and Managing Director at ASX-listed Cynata Therapeutics.  Ross has an extensive and successful background in the pharmaceutical industry.  With eighteen years local and international experience in unit and general management in the industry, he has brought several products from 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 Vice President, Business Development at Sinclair Pharmaceuticals Ltd, a UK based speciality pharmaceuticals company.  Prior to joining Sinclair Pharmaceuticals Ltd, he was 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 Soltech Research.

Ross has a PhD in Biochemistry from Monash University and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from Swinburne University.

Ben Phillis


Director, Asset Management, UniQuest

Ben leads medical technology development in devices and drug delivery for UniQuest Pty Ltd, the main commercialisation company of The University of Queensland. His role is concerned with identifying, validating, protecting, developing and executing commercialisation plans for new technologies. Ben has more than 10-years’ experience in innovation management, technology development & commercialisation. Prior to UniQuest, Ben worked in a number of roles for Mayne Pharma in innovation and business development and has experience in pharmaceutics, modified release formulations and pharmaceutical product life-cycle management.

Ben has a basic research background in experimental pharmacology and toxicology and holds a Ph.D. from The University of Adelaide. His dissertation was concerned with cardiotoxicity associated with anabolic steroids. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in neuropharmacology at the Hanson Institute working on an industry funded drug discovery program.

Ben is a member of the local organising committee of the Licensing Executives Society (LES) and an active member of AusBiotech.

Geoff Waring

Bio & 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.

Michael Angliss


Chief Intellectual Property Officer Director, Commercial Engagement - Science, UniQuest

Michael is Chief Intellectual Property Officer and Director, Commercial Engagement at UniQuest.  In addition to the responsibility for leading the strategy and management of intellectual property developed at The University of Queensland, Michael leads commercialisation of projects across numerous application areas within the disciplines of materials, chemistry and physics.  He also sits on the boards of ProGel Pty Ltd, PERKii Pty Ltd and SMART Arm Pty Ltd.

Michael has more than 30 years’ experience in intellectual property and technology commercialisation. He started his career with ICI Australia Operations (now Orica) as a patents and licensing officer, responsible for the protection of in-house innovations, licensing of ICI technology and the in-licensing of third party technology. During the time at ICI, he was responsible for IP across a number of business units, including Advanced Ceramics, Explosives, Water Treatment, Plastics and Polymers and Industrial Chemicals.  Michael then spent a decade in private practice as a patent attorney in Melbourne and Brisbane, ultimately as a partner with Cullens.

Michael has a BSc, majoring in Materials Science and Chemistry from Monash University.  He is a Registered Patents and Trade Marks Attorney and a Fellow of the Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia (former committee member).  He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dax Kukulj


Executive Manager, Business Development & Commercialisation Knowledge Exchange, Division of Enterprise, 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.

Leong Mar


Commercialisation Manager, Business Development and Commercial, CSIRO

At CSIRO, Leong manages the commercialisation of technologies developed by a number of the business units and provides mentoring for potential spin-out teams on their entrepreneurial journey. Prior to CSIRO, Leong spent 10 years with DuPont where he held and number of roles including managing the ANZ Technical Centre, 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.

Hun Gan


Director, Business Development & Innovation, UoM

As an experienced technology developer and innovator, Hun has a career history of successfully developing and translating research and intellectual property into new products and services to benefit society.


Hun has worked in many roles across the innovation sector: 6 years as a researcher, 10 years as a Venture Capital Investment Director, and 10 years in Technology Transfer and Business Development roles. He has been actively involved in establishing thirteen Deep Tech start-up companies, plus supporting over 20+ start-up companies as a Company Director or in operational leadership roles. This has provided Hun with experience and expertise in strategy, operations, start-ups, business development and technology commercialisation/research translation.


Hun’s recent focus has been on helping Universities and Publicly Funded Research Organisations to commercialise research. He currently leads the Business Development & Innovation team at the University of Melbourne.

Stephen Lam


Commercial Theme Manager, Commercial Development & Industry Partnerships, University of Sydney

Stephen is passionate about research translation and creating impact through the commercialisation of innovative intellectual property. Stephen leads the Science portfolio within the commercialisation team at the University of Sydney and is tasked with identifying, protecting and commercialising University technologies. Experience gained working in the IP commercialisation space for the last 7 years, Stephen has successfully developed a diverse portfolio of early stage technologies into commercially viable outcomes and facilitated the building of networks and partnerships with start-ups, companies, government and peak bodies.

Before joining the University of Sydney, Stephen worked in the technology transfer office of a top tier University in Hong Kong and has worked extensively in China and South East Asia.

Stephen obtained a PhD in Medicine from the University of Hong Kong and a Master of Biomedical Engineering as well as Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from UNSW.