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Mario Pennisi Chief Executive Officer / Secretary

Mario has extensive experience managing laboratory medicine services. In the mid 1990s, in affiliation with US and German-based organisations, he established the first Queensland-based ‘central laboratory’ in order to service international trials in the Asia-Pacific region. He was also a founding member of Queensland’s first contract research organisation (CRO).

Later, as National Business Development Manager for an Australian multinational pharmaceutical/diagnostics company, he collaborated with numerous international sponsors and service providers to achieve significant clinical trials growth in Australia.

Mario believes that the comprehensive range of high quality services available, together with the relatively untapped potential of numerous investigators and patient populations, provide exciting opportunities for the development of clinical trials in Queensland.

Management Committee

Professor Tony WebberPresident

Formally both the Dean of Health and Dean of Science at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Professor Webber has significant experience in haemostasis and thrombosis research. He was instrumental in establishing and managing the early biotechnology spin-off companies MabCo (now Agenix Ltd) and GeneCo. whose core single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) technology is still an essential tool in accelerating drug discovery and development.

Professor Webber is an active member of the Australian clinical research industry via his role as Chief Executive Officer of Clinical Network Services, a Queensland-based clinical research organisation.

Professor Wayne HooperVice-President

Wayne Hooper trained as a chemist (B.Sc., 1965; M.Sc., 1972) and moved into clinical pharmacology early in his career (Ph.D., 1975). He held various research appointments in the Department of Medicine of The University of Queensland from 1966 until 2002. During his academic career he published more than 120 papers. He was promoted to Professorial Research Fellow in 2000, and was from 1998 until 2002 Joint Director (with Professor Ronald Dickinson) of the Centre for Studies in Drug Disposition.

In 2002 he resigned from his university appointment to take up the position as Managing Director of the new Phase I/II clinical trials company, Q-Pharm Pty Ltd. Q-Pharm is a full service Phase I and II clinical trials provider which conducts trials on therapeutic, diagnostic and prophylactic agents for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. In 2008, Wayne resigned as Managing Director and now holds a part-time Consultant role with the company assisting with special projects and Business and Corporate Development.

Winna Brown - Treasurer

Winna is an assurance partner in Ernst & Young’s Brisbane office and has over 15 years of experience in a variety of industries including life science, software technology, manufacturing and distribution, retail and venture capital.

She has significant experience in servicing entrepreneurial and fast growing companies, particularly in the life science and high technology sectors—from start-up through to successful public company status in Australia and the United States. This has included the preparation for and completion of initial public offerings on the Australian Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq.

Winna is Ernst & Young's Australian life science Industry Leader and she is the author of the Australian overview included in Beyond borders, Ernst & Young’s annual global biotechnology report.

Winna has been the Northern Region Director of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Program from 2005 to 2009 and she was the leader of the Brisbane office Women’s Leadership Group from 2003 to 2005.  

Dr. Peter Riddles Queensland Government Representative 

Dr Riddles seeks to contribute to sustainable economic development through realizing and applying the benefits of innovation from science. He has broad experience in innovation including at the economic, company and technology level. Through ViciBio Pty Ltd, Peter continues to contribute in two broad activities: working with governments and economic regions on innovation and strategies for industry growth; and working with new ventures and universities in innovation and commercialisation.

Currently, Peter is the Chairman of Griffith Enterprise, a Director of the Australian Stem Cell Centre Ltd, and strategic advisor to a number of private biotechnology firms. He also acts as a member of the Alberta Research and Innovation Authority (Canada), the Innovation Australia Board (including Chair of its Innovation Grants Committee) for the Federal Government of Australia, and the Queensland Government Industry Advisory Group. He was previously a Founder and inaugural President of AusBiotech (Australia’s biotechnology organization), the last Chairman, and Member (since its inception), of the Queensland Biotechnology Advisory Council.

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