Team

THE BOARD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Hirst, PhD

 

CHAIRMAN

 

 

Tim is the Chairman & CEO of GPN Vaccines. He has extensive expertise in the life sciences, executive management and venture capital investment. Tim was previously CEO of ANU Connect Ventures, a $30M pre-seed VC fund, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation at The University of Sydney and Professor & Head of Microbiology at the University of Bristol, UK. He is an active angel investor working with investment groups throughout Australia and US to assist early-stage companies to raise capital and develop their innovative technologies and in 2022 was named Australian Angel Investor of the Year. Tim is also Chairman of Brain Changer Pty Ltd, Flex-G Pty Ltd, Emudent Technologies Pty Ltd and Gamma Vaccines Pty Ltd, and Director of PPB Technology Pty Ltd, Trustee Director of Griffin Accelerator Holdings Pty Ltd and an Honorary Adjunct Professor at the University of Adelaide.

 

 

 

James Paton, PhD FAA

 

 

James is a Professor of Microbiology and the Director of the Research Centre for Infectious Diseases at the University of Adelaide. He is Australia’s preeminent authority on the pathogenesis of S. pneumoniae and was South Australian Scientist of the Year in 2017. James is a former NHMRC Australia Fellow and Senior Principal Research Fellow and he directs an internationally acclaimed team of researchers at the University of Adelaide. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the American Academy of Microbiologists. He has published over 440 research papers and in the last 12 years has raised over $36M in grants to support his research activities. James was the lead Chief Investigator on the ARC Linkage Grant that led to the development of the Gamma-PN vaccine and the NHMRC Development Grant that supported its final preclinical development.

 

 

 

Barry Palte, FIA

 

 

 

Barry is Chairman of EQ Capital Partners, a Social Impact Investment group headquartered in Sydney. He is also Chief Investment Officer of Contour Companies (a Detroit USA headquartered social housing group), a member of Top Tier Impact (a Geneva headquartered Social Impact investment group) and a member of the Global Investment Leaders Club (a Dubai headquartered family office organisation). He was previously Global Chairman of the International Association of Investment Bankers (now renamed Orion International Advisors) and was Head of Mergers, Acquisitions and Strategic Development for the fund’s management business of Australia’s largest Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

 

 

 

Ismail Kola, PhD

 

 

 

Ismail is a Senior Partner at Forepont Capital, a New York-based venture capital firm investing in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medtech companies that improve healthcare outcomes. He has held several senior executive positions at UCB, Merck, Schering-Plough and Pharmacia Corporation. Throughout Ismail’s distinguished career, he has led teams that have successfully brought numerous blockbuster pharmaceutical products to market, with several others currently in pivotal development. Prior to his move to industry, Ismail was Professor of Human Molecular Genetics at Monash University Medical School and Director of the Research Center for Functional Genomics and Human Disease. He is on the Board of Directors of Athersys (Nasdaq:ATHX – Chairman), Invicta Medical, Hemanext, Forepont Capital (Vice-Chair), and BeCareLink. Ismail holds Professorships of Medicine at Oxford University, The Karolinska Institute, Washington University at St Louis, and Monash University and is a Fellow at Pembroke College, Cambridge University.  He has more than 160 publications, many in prestigious journals and has been cited more than 17,190 times. 

 

 

 

Manon Cox, PhD

 

 

 

Manon is the Founder of NextWaveBio, providing scientific and strategic advice to biopharmaceutical companies around preclinical and clinical development, manufacturing and quality systems. Prior to starting NextWaveBio, Manon led the development of Flublok® at Protein Sciences Corporation, the only FDA approved recombinant influenza vaccine. Manon held a number of roles between 1998 and 2018 including President and Chief Executive Officer, before the company was acquired by Sanofi. Manon serves on numerous boards including Vaxxas, the Netherland-America Foundation and the International Society for Vaccines, as well as on various Scientific Advisory Boards including Epivax Therapeutics and Omnicyte.

 

 

 

 

MANAGEMENT

 

 

 

 

Tim Hirst, PhD

 

Chief Executive Officer

 

 

Tim is the Chairman & CEO of GPN Vaccines. He has extensive expertise in the life sciences, executive management and venture capital investment. Tim was previously CEO of ANU Connect Ventures, a $30M pre-seed VC fund, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation at The University of Sydney and Professor & Head of Microbiology at the University of Bristol, UK. He is an active angel investor working with investment groups throughout Australia and US to assist early-stage companies to raise capital and develop their innovative technologies and in 2022 was named Australian Angel Investor of the Year. Tim is also Chairman of Brain Changer Pty Ltd, Flex-G Pty Ltd, Emudent Technologies Pty Ltd and Gamma Vaccines Pty Ltd, and Director of PPB Technology Pty Ltd, Trustee Director of Griffin Accelerator Holdings Pty Ltd and an Honorary Adjunct Professor at the University of Adelaide.

 

 

 

Lauren Giorgio, PhD GAICD

 

Chief Operating Officer

 

 

Lauren is the Chief Operating Officer of GPN Vaccines. She brings valuable experience in intellectual property management, business development, stakeholder engagement, commercialisation and operations in the life sciences sector, having worked broadly across the pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health and diagnostic industries.  Lauren has spent her career working alongside world-leading academics and clinicians to commercialise medical research. Most recently, she led the Business Development Office at the Centre for Eye Research Australia and prior to this, was part of the Business Development team at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Lauren is a Co-Founder of the Women in Leadership Development Program which provides female leaders in STEM with the qualifications, skills, networks and confidence to attain senior leadership roles, particularly company directorships. 

 

 

 

James Paton, PhD FAA

 

Chief Scientific Officer

 

 

James is a Professor of Microbiology and the Director of the Research Centre for Infectious Diseases at the University of Adelaide. He is Australia’s preeminent authority on the pathogenesis of S. pneumoniae and was South Australian Scientist of the Year in 2017. James is a former NHMRC Australia Fellow and Senior Principal Research Fellow and he directs an internationally acclaimed team of researchers at the University of Adelaide. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the American Academy of Microbiologists. He has published over 440 research papers and in the last 12 years has raised over $36M in grants to support his research activities. James was the lead Chief Investigator on the ARC Linkage Grant that led to the development of the Gamma-PN vaccine and the NHMRC Development Grant that supported its final preclinical development.

 

 

Paul Rolan, MBBS MD FRACP

 

Chief Medical Officer

Paul is a clinical pharmacologist, pharmaceutical physician and pain physician. He has extensive expertise in the development of early-phase pharmaceuticals, having been principal investigator for over 700 clinical trials. He has held a number of industry roles including Head of Clinical Pharmacokinetics at Wellcome Research Laboratories, Medical Director at Medeval (acquired by ICON Clinical Research), Chief Medical Officer at Bionomics and Director of Drug Development for Singapore’s first listed pharmaceutical company iXBiopharma. Paul has also held numerous board and scientific advisory board roles in the biotech sector. In addition to his industry experience, Paul has had numerous academic roles including Professor of Clinical Pharmacology, Head of the School of Medical Sciences and Director of Innovation at the University of Adelaide. He holds a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Adelaide and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mohammed Alsharifi, PhD

 

Director, Immunology

 

 

Mohammed is a Senior Lecturer in Virology & Immunology at The University of Adelaide and Chief Scientific Officer of Gamma Vaccines Pty Ltd. Mohammed brings a wealth of experience in the use of gamma-irradiation to inactivate viral and bacterial pathogens and he was a Chief Investigator on the ARC Linkage grant that led to the development of the Gamma-PN vaccine program and the NHMRC Development Grant that is supporting its final preclinical development.

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Ackland

 

Senior Advisor – Regulatory and Quality

 

 

Jim has over 45 years’ experience in the manufacture, quality control, development and international regulatory requirements for vaccine products. He has been involved in more than 20 vaccine development projects as the lead regulatory advisor and preclinical safety expert, and has filed dozens of successful clinical trial applications in the US, Europe and Australia. Jim spent 26 years at CSL Limited in Melbourne where he held various leadership positions in vaccine manufacture, quality assurance and research and development, including Head of Regulatory Affairs for Vaccine Products. Following this, he became Vice President for the Biologics Consulting Group, an internationally recognized pharmaceutical regulatory consulting company, based in California.  Jim is currently CEO of Global BioSolutions, an Australian company which provides regulatory and product development advice and assistance to biotech companies.

 

 

 

Peter Mills

 

Director, International

 

 

Peter specialises in licensing in the life sciences sector, working closely with world-leading scientists to commercialise their technology. He has worked across all areas of the pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health and diagnostic industries and has deep international business experience in strategic licensing, clinical trial development, business development, finance and commercialisation. Most recently, Peter managed the clinical development and finances of both Syntalogic and Syntimmune (acquired by Alexion for $1.2B) in the fields of oncology and autoimmune disease.

 

 

 

Josephine Wu

 

Director, International (Asia)

 

 

Josephine has over 17 years’ experience in global hedge fund, family office and global asset management including 10 years as an investor in listed, pre-IPO and early-stage healthcare companies across Asia. She specialises in strategic partnerships, operations, market positioning and regulatory affairs across the Pan Asia healthcare landscape. Previously, she was Head of Asia Absolute Return and Alternative Strategies at UBP, Managing Partner of Light & Salt Capital Management, Regional Portfolio Manager at Robeco Hong Kong and Yu Ming Investments, and General Partner at LR Global Partners in New York. Josephine is currently the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Aionious Management Limited, a healthcare investment company that provides business development and commercialisation strategies across Asia, specifically in China.

 

 

 

Martin Gotting

 

Director, International (Europe)

 

 

Martin is the General Manager of Capricorn Consilium GmbH (Ltd.) – a Vienna–based consulting and interim management company. Martin has extensive experience in the vaccine pharma-industry with over 20 years at Behringwerke AG/Chiron Vaccines International, including as Global Head of Production and Sales Logistics and as Director Commercial Operations. He was also VP Marketing, Sales & Supply at Intercell AG (today Valneva), a company focused on the development of modern prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines against infectious diseases.

 

 

Eve Martin, LLB (Hons)

 

Company Secretary & General Counsel

 

 

Eve is an experienced commercial and operations professional, business development manager and intellectual property lawyer. She has worked extensively in universities, in private industry and for government. Eve also has significant Company Secretarial experience as the current Company Secretary for the Digital Health CRC Ltd and having been Company Secretary for FEI Company’s two Australian subsidiaries, FEI Australia Pty Ltd and FEI Melbourne Pty Ltd and providing advice in a legal capacity to many company boards and their secretaries. Eve has extensive experience advising companies in relation to intellectual property transactions and commercialisation including on matters relating to IP ownership, licensing, assignments, collaborations, alliances, sponsorships and Corporations Act compliance.

 

Elizabeth Leininger, PhD

 

Head of Regulatory

 

 

Lizzie is the Head of Regulatory Affairs at GPN Vaccines. She has extensive experience working on bacterial and viral vaccines, including at the US FDA, Chiron, GSK and as a Senior Consultant at Biologics Consulting Group, before becoming an independent consultant to various biotechnology companies. With over 30 years of experience, she specializes in transitioning companies from early Phase 1 to later stages of development and in securing investigational new drug applications and marketing authorizations in the US and EU. Lizzie has held various leadership positions in both Regulatory Affairs and Quality, playing key roles in drug development and interacting with Regulatory agencies. In addition to vaccines, Lizzie has worked on the development of monoclonal antibodies, antibody drug conjugates and other biotechnology products.

 

 

 

Leigh Willis

 

Head of Quality

 

 

Leigh is Head of Quality at GPN Vaccines. Leigh’s experience includes several years within the IMVS (now SA Pathology) Microbiology Laboratories followed by approximately 30 years within various Quality roles within the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare industries. These include Quality Management across small molecule Pharmaceutical Manufacture, Medical Device and In Vitro Device (IVD) Manufacturing, Regional Quality Director roles across APAC and EMEA, Biological and API manufacturing and Corporate Quality Compliance for TGA and FDA licensed organisations.

 

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

 

 

 

Research and Development is conducted in close association with Professor James Paton and Dr Mohammed Alsharifi at the Research Centre for Infectious Diseases. The Centre offers a unique mix of microbiologists, immunologists, vaccinologists and support staff who are making contributions to understanding Gamma-PN’s potential as a serotype-independent pneumococcal vaccine.

 

 

 

Eve Kennedy, PhD

 

Director of Research Operations

 

Eve’s interests include vaccinology and immunology, with a particular focus on immune responses to gamma-irradiated vaccines. She has previously worked on the development of gamma-irradiated vaccines to respiratory viruses. Eve completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide in 2020 and received a Dean’s Commendation for Research Thesis Excellence, prior to joining the GPN Vaccines R&D team.

 

 

 

Erin Brazel, PhD

 

Director of Microbiology

 

Erin is Director of Microbiology at GPN Vaccines and a Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide where she leads a team focused on understanding the molecular details of host-bacterial interactions and applying this knowledge to develop new vaccines and antimicrobials. In 2024, Erin was awarded a prestigious Passe & Williams Foundation Fellowship to explore new combination vaccines.  She is a co-inventor on three filed patents related to Streptococcal vaccine design and formulation and has independently attracted >$450k in external research funding over the last three years. Erin completed her PhD in pneumococcal biology at the University of Adelaide in 2020 and was awarded the Derrick Rowley Prize in Microbiology and Immunology in 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carla Gallasch

 

Research Assistant

 

Carla completed her Honours in Molecular and Biomedical Science at the University of Adelaide in 2020, receiving the David Murray Scholarship Prize. Having undertaken several research projects in the areas of immunology and biochemistry, Carla has a keen interest in investigating host-pathogen interactions.

 

 

 

Miriam Dodd

 

Research Assistant & Quality Assurance Associate

 

Miriam completed her Honours degree in 2019 at the University of Adelaide, investigating immune responses to a novel nanoparticle. Since then she has worked on a diverse variety of projects in both the agriculture and biotech sectors, including several clinical trials.

 

 

Shawn Luo

 

Research Assistant

 

Shawn recently graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Master’s in Biotechnology (Biomedical). With a bioengineering background, Shawn has also developed competent knowledge of immunology and virology, having undertaken a project on investigating the immunogenicity of whole inactivated flu vaccines.

 

 

Malachi Obst

 

Research Assistant

 

Malachi completed her Honours degree at the University of Adelaide in 2022, receiving the Paediatric Health Honours Award for her investigation of lentiviral gene therapies. Malachi has prior experience in microbiology and immunology-focussed research groups, with a primary interest in translational research.

 

 

 

 

ADVISORY BOARD

 

 

 

 

 

PROFESSOR HELEN MARSHALL (Adelaide)

 

 

DR JUSTIN DAVIES (Sydney)

 

 

DR BRUCE FORREST (New York)

 

 

DR JACK LOVE (Florida)

 

 

DR MATTHEW FRANK (San Francisco)

 

 

DR MARC GURWITH (San Francisco)

 

 

DR GLADYS MONROY (San Francisco)

 

 

MR RUPERT MONTAGU (San Francisco)

 

 

MR J STEVE COLE (Chicago)

 

 

PROFESSOR ADAM FINN (Bristol)

 

 

DR JEAN PETRE (Brussels)

 

 

PARTNERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protecting children and adults from the world’s foremost bacterial pathogen