Women in Leadership Awards

9 June

The BioMelbourne Network hosted its 9th Annual Connecting Women Lunch this month.

At the lunch the 2017 BioMelbourne Network Women in Leadership Awards were presented, profiling outstanding women in the biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical sectors. The awardees are as follows:

2017 Women in Leadership Award

  • Sue MacLeman – Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Australian Medical Technology, Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Sector (MTPConnect)

Sue has more than 25 years’ experience as a medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical executive with roles in corporate, medical, commercial and business development at Schering-Plough Corporation (now Merck), Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Mesoblast Ltd.

Sue has also served as CEO and Board member of several ASX and NASDAQ listed companies in the sector and is currently a non-executive director at Reproductive Health Sciences Ltd and Oventus Medical Ltd.

Since starting as the CEO of MTPConnect just over a year ago, she has released a well researched 10- year Road Map for the sector to enhance Australia’s successes in: commercialising research, streamlining the regulatory system, increasing our sector skills and capability, and accessing the global value chain. Within this short span of time, she has also forged strategic and collaborative linkages with the key stakeholders in the sector.

Sue is an outstanding leader and genuinely supports the sector stakeholders in achieving the best outcomes possible.

2017 Most Valuable Women in Leadership Award

  • Dr Kerry Hegarty, Business Development Director – Research, Innovation & Commercialisation (RIC) Team, The University of Melbourne (UoM)

In this role, Kerry is charged with identifying, developing and managing commercial opportunities in the life sciences. Kerry joined this rapidly expanding team as part of strengthened efforts and revised strategies to diversify the sources of research income and exploit commercialisation opportunities globally for the University.

In her first 18 months her team closed five licensing and collaboration deals, assisted with the raising of over $5M in venture and sophisticated investment, and identified more than 20 new initiatives by academics that would otherwise lay dormant.

Kerry has worked over the last 30 years creating businesses based on early-stage technologies, successfully translating benchtop science to global sales. Prior to joining UoM, she served as Managing Director/CEO of Sienna Cancer Diagnostics where she built the technical and business development teams whilst creating strategic global partnerships, which laid the foundations of the company. Kerry led Sienna to its first product sales in the US, where its unique in-vitro diagnostic test for bladder cancer is now used routinely. Her first venture in translating science to products or services originated at The University of Melbourne, where in 1985 she co-founded one of the first companies based on University research, Geotrack International.

Like Sienna, Geotrack started from novel benchtop concepts, which were framed into valuable products addressing an unmet need through the invaluable support of internal teams and selected partnerships. Her experience is spread across a diverse range of elements required in making start-ups sustainable, i.e. capital raising, grant writing, partnering, and team building.

Kerry is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and has served as Company Secretary for a number of public, private and not-for-profit organisations. Kerry also serves on a Principal Committee to the NHMRC. The inaugural Health Innovation Advisory Committee (HIAC) to NHMRC consists of experienced industry professionals and academics, advising on current and emerging issues related to commercialisation and uptake of innovative technologies. Kerry is also a member of Victoria’s inaugural SMaRT panel, and sits on a number of other Boards and committees.

Kerry has a high profile in the industry and has served as a role model or mentor for many. She is generous with her time when approached by others for advice or support, willing to share her personal experiences and offering honest and frank advice to those who seek her counsel.

2017 Emerging Women in Leadership Award

  • Dr Elizabeth Williams, Co-Founder of Hemideina & Research Scientist and Team Leader CSIRO Manufacturing

Dr Elizabeth Willaims is passionate about translating science into products for venture and job creation. Her entrepreneurial pathway started during her PhD in synthetic chemistry at Cambridge, UK, when she became President of the Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC). Whilst juggling long hours in the lab, there she learnt about term sheets, fundraising, and the elevator pitch. After her PhD, Liz moved to Australia to pursue research in materials chemistry at CSIRO, hoping this would lead to a start up company.

Liz was seconded to the US in 2015 to commercialise CSIRO’s proprietary RAFT polymer technology. There Liz negotiated licensing and contract R&D agreements on behalf of CSIRO, and established a ‘finders relationship’ with a third party company to build CSIRO’s client base.

Upon her return, Liz partnered with her good friend and colleague, Kate Lomas to co-found Hemideina, an early stage company aiming to re-invent the cochlear implant. Liz is CEO of Hemideina, who are currently raising funds to develop their fully internalised, 2-component cochlear implant to overcome the lifestyle restrictions and high cost of the current technology.  Liz is still based at CSIRO as Team Leader for the Polymer Chemistry team, splitting her time between the lab and business development.

Liz’s goal is to be part of a team leading Australia to the world stage as a country known for bringing its innovations to the global marketplace. Her commitment to innovation is paramount and she sets herself apart from her peers in her ambitious pursuit of professional accomplishment. 

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