Larisa Chisholm BSc (Hons), MBA, GAICD

Chief Operating Officer

Larisa is an experienced life science executive with a passion for the development and commercialisation of Australian technologies.  She has broad cross functional expertise as a result of working in companies spanning ASX listed, not-for profit, academic and start up ecosystems.

Working for more than 14 years with ASX listed Immutep (formerly Prima BioMed), Larisa has significant experience aligning research, clinical, manufacturing and commercial strategies for peptide vaccine development.

Larisa enjoys working with various industry organisations, not for profits and start ups to advance the education and development of aspiring students, scientists and up and coming entrepreneurs, particularly women. She is a mentor for the Life Science Springboard Program in Australia, a member of the RMIT Biomedical Science Industry Advisory Committee and an industry advisory committee member for Central Pharmacy Logistics .

Larisa has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and MBA from La Trobe University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Gerhard Rank PhD

Director Product Development

Gerhard has over 10 years of drug development experience in biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining Denteric, Gerhard was employed at Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) in Germany where he led CMC teams in the company’s CDMO business before becoming R&D Project Leader for biologics being developed by BI in the immunology, cardiovascular, ophthalmology and oncology therapeutic areas.

Prior to BI, Gerhard was Principal Development Manager at Medicines Development for Global Health, working with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute to develop a rotavirus vaccine for neonates. He was also responsible for R&D activities and the manufacturing of Travelan at Immuron Ltd.

Gerhard has a PhD in molecular biology from the Center of Molecular Biology, University of Heidelberg, Germany and completed postdoctoral research at the Rotary Bone Marrow Research Laboratory, Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he collaborated with several groups at WEHI. Gerhard also holds an honorary position (Senior Fellow), with the University of Melbourne in the Melbourne Dental School. 

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Dr Tony Rowe PhD

Director of Research

Tony has over twenty years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry in the US and Australia, including as a research scientist at Biogen Idec and Arana Therapeutics focusing on the discovery and early stage development of biologics in multiple therapeutic areas. He holds a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Cambridge (UK) and completed post-doctoral studies in cell biology at the Scripps Research Institute (US).

Tony is currently an Associate Director in the Project Management group at CSL where his primary role is to lead teams engaged in the progression of monoclonal antibody and recombinant protein therapeutic candidates from Research into the Development stage. He has worked on the P. gingivalis vaccine program in collaboration with Prof Reynolds and colleagues since joining CSL in early 2010 and is seconded on a part-time basis to Denteric.

 

Dr Balaji Somasundaram PhD

Senior CMC Project Manager

Balaji has 12 years research experience in the areas of protein expression, recovery and characterisation. He has delivered on industry-relevant projects including human enterovirus-like particle vaccine development, robust downstream bioprocess development for biosimilars, design & production of SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid proteins to accelerate diagnostics development and bioprocess intensification through the development of continuous chromatography and membrane-based protein separation.

Based in Brisbane, Balaji has a joint appointment as the Strategy and Operations Manager at the Protein Expression Facility, housed at the University of Queensland (UQ), where he leads the operations of the facility to ensure the highest level of efficiency in the provision of research services in recombinant protein production to advance academic and industry research. In this role, he has established several national and international collaborations and provided strategic research leadership in a multi-stakeholder environment that includes academia, industry, and government. 

 

Balaji has a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical and Process Engineering from The University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

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Dr Michal Pasternak PhD

Research Project Manager

Michal is passionate about translating scientific discoveries into products that improve people’s lives. He has 12 years of research experience in molecular biology, developmental biology and infectious diseases.  He manages Denteric’s mRNA vaccine and Alzheimer’s disease research programs.

Prior to joining Denteric, Michal was a postdoctoral scientist at WEHI. In addition to this role, he completed an internship at the WEHI’s Business Development Office, the Bridge Program and the Innovation Fellowship with an Israeli VC fund aMoon. Michal is a recipient of fellowships from Boehringer-Ingelheim Fonds, EMBO and Wellcome Trust, and several leadership awards for his work in the diversity and inclusion space.

Michal holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and is currently pursuing an MBA at the Melbourne Business School.