About Hexima

Hexima is a biotechnology company actively engaged in the research and development of plant-derived proteins and peptides for applications as human therapeutics. Its lead drug candidate, HXP124, is in phase I/IIa clinical trials for the treatment of fungal toenail infections (onychomycosis).

Hexima was formed in 1998, following the discovery by its founding scientists, Professor Adrienne Clarke AC, Professor Marilyn Anderson and Dr Robyn Heath at The University of Melbourne, of certain molecules involved in the protection of the female stigma of plants, from insect predation. In 2006, Hexima also acquired intellectual property rights from La Trobe University relating to a discovery by Professor Marilyn Anderson of a molecule from ornamental tobacco with potent antifungal activity.

Hexima continued to develop these technologies funded via a combination of equity funding from a small group of private investors and grant monies from both the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments. In 2007, the company raised $40M through an Initial Public Offering and listed on the ASX. The Company delisted from the ASX on 17 June 2011 following approval by a General Meeting of shareholders.

Hexima continues to conduct the majority of its research under contract with La Trobe University. Through this contract scientists have access to specialist analytical equipment as well as general laboratory, tissue culture and glasshouse facilities. Intellectual property generated by the scientific team arising from research conducted under these contracts becomes the property of Hexima.

Management Team

Dr Nicole van der Weerden

Dr Nicole van der Weerden

Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer

Doctor Nicole van der Weerden completed her PhD in Biochemistry at La Trobe University in 2007. Her PhD research on the antifungal properties and mechanism of action of plant defensins led to the award of a prestigious Victoria Fellowship in 2006. Since completing her PhD, Nicole has worked for Hexima Limited and has led the gene discovery program for the Pioneer partnership on control of fungal diseases in corn. Nicole has completed an MBA at Melbourne Business School.

Professor Marilyn A Anderson

Professor Marilyn A Anderson

Executive Director, Chief Science Officer

Professor Marilyn A Anderson is a founding scientist of Hexima. She has over 30 years experience in scientific research in the area of plant biochemistry and genetics. After completing a BSc Honours at The University of Melbourne and a PhD in Biochemistry at La Trobe University, Professor Anderson spent seven years in the United States working on diabetes at the University of Miami and oncogenes at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

She is a Professor of Biochemistry at La Trobe University and a Member of the Australian Academy of Science Council. She was appointed Hexima’s Chief Science Officer in July 2009. Professor Anderson was a director at South East Water Limited for over 10 years prior to her appointment to the board of City West Water in 2008. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

She was appointed a Director of the company on 23 November 2010.

Elisha Larkin

Elisha Larkin

Company Secretary

Elisha Larkin joined Hexima in 2006, focusing initially on the Company’s Initial Public Offering. Elisha has held a range of positions at Hexima including Chief Operating Officer and VP Commercial. She has been Company Secretary since 2012. Elisha has a Masters of Commercial Law at the University of Melbourne majoring in intellectual property law and corporate governance, and honours degrees in Agricultural Science and Commerce from the University of Melbourne. Prior to joining Hexima, Elisha worked as a market analyst with Landmark, Australia’s largest agricultural inputs company.

Dr Susanna Herd

Dr Susanna Herd

Intellectual Property Manager

Dr Susanna Herd holds a PhD, a Dip Ed and a Master of Intellectual Property Law from the University of Melbourne. Her research interests have included inherited disorders of copper metabolism and the role of molecular chaperones in the folding of proteins in mitochondria. She held the position of Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry at La Trobe University until 2005 when she joined Hexima as Intellectual Property Manager. She has extensive experience in the management of Hexima’s patent portfolio, including the preparation and prosecution of patents and the development of IP strategy. Dr Herd is a member of both the La Trobe University and Hexima Limited Institutional Biosafety Committees.

Dr Yolanda Gaspar

Dr Yolanda Gaspar

Regulatory and Compliance Officer

Dr Gaspar has a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Melbourne and has worked as Hexima’s Regulatory and Compliance Manager since 2003. Dr Gaspar is experienced in many aspects of regulatory and compliance, including management of permits, licences and guidelines of regulatory organisations such as the TGA, FDA, ICH, Department of Agriculture, OGTR, APVMA, IATA and OECD (GLP), particularly issues relating to regulation of pharmaceutical products, genetically modified organisms, GM field trials, laboratory safety and gene technology. Dr Gaspar manages Hexima's phase I/IIa first in human clinical trial for the treatment of fungal nail disease (onychomycosis), which involves management of Contract Research Organisations (CROs), consultants, analytical laboratories and clinical trial sites, with oversight over nonclinical studies, CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls), formulation work and stability, clinical trial protocol, investigator’s brochure, ethics application, container closure, patient recruitment, quality control and assurance and data collection and management. She also has extensive experience managing genetically modified field trials, including liaising with farmers, agronomists and contractors and preparing permits and all required regulatory documentation. Dr Gaspar was awarded the Croplife Australia "President’s award for Contribution to the Australian Plant Science Industry", National Press Club, Canberra, November 2013. She is the Biological Safety Officer for the La Trobe University Institutional Biosafety Committee and Secretary for the Hexima Limited Institutional Biosafety Committee.

Board of Directors

 

Professor Jonathan West

Professor Jonathan West

Non-Executive Director

Professor Jonathan West is the Director of the Australian Innovation Research Centre. Prior to assuming his current appointment, he taught for 18 years at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, where he was Associate Professor, founding Director of the Harvard University Life Sciences Initiative, and from 1998-1999 the Novartis Faculty Research Fellow. He has been Visiting Professor at Hitotsubashi University and the Nomura School of Advanced Management in Tokyo, Japan and Visiting Professor at the University de Paris IX-Dauphine, Sorbonne. Professor West was Chairman of the Asia Advisory Council of Bunge Ltd, one of the world’s largest agribusiness processing and trading companies, and has served as an advisor to other major corporations and several Governments around the world, including in the life sciences field, DuPont, Roche, Novartis, Syngenta and the J.R. Simplot Company, along with the Governments of Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and France. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Novartis Agricultural Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California. In Australia, he has served on the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering, Innovation Council’s Working Group on Science and Technology in China and India and in 2006 was ‘Eminent Thinker in Residence’ with the Premier of NSW. Professor West has been a Director of the Company since 7 November 2005. He is Chairman of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Dr Nicole van der Weerden

Dr Nicole van der Weerden

Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer

Doctor Nicole van der Weerden completed her PhD in Biochemistry at La Trobe University in 2007. Her PhD research on the antifungal properties and mechanism of action of plant defensins led to the award of a prestigious Victoria Fellowship in 2006. Since completing her PhD, Nicole has worked for Hexima Limited and has led the gene discovery program for the Pioneer partnership on control of fungal diseases in corn. Nicole has completed an MBA at Melbourne Business School.

Professor Marilyn A Anderson

Professor Marilyn A Anderson

Executive Director, Chief Science Officer

Professor Marilyn A Anderson is a founding scientist of Hexima. She has over 30 years experience in scientific research in the area of plant biochemistry and genetics. After completing a BSc Honours at The University of Melbourne and a PhD in Biochemistry at La Trobe University, Professor Anderson spent seven years in the United States working on diabetes at the University of Miami and oncogenes at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

She is a Professor of Biochemistry at La Trobe University and a Member of the Australian Academy of Science Council. She was appointed Hexima’s Chief Science Officer in July 2009. Professor Anderson was a director at South East Water Limited for over 10 years prior to her appointment to the board of City West Water in 2008. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

She was appointed a Director of the company on 23 November 2010.

Dan O’Brien

Dan O’Brien

Non-Executive Director

Mr O'Brien is the founder and Chairman of The Hydration Pharmaceuticals Trust (HPT) which established the Hydralyte range of OTC pharmaceutical products. HPT sold the Hydralyte business in Australia and New Zealand to NYSE listed Prestige Brands Inc during 2014. HPT retains ownership of Hydralyte outside Australia and New Zealand.

Mr O'Brien has extensive experience including executive and non-executive roles with King Island Dairy Limited, Tasman Agriculture Limited, Colly Farms Cotton Limited, SPC Ardmona Limited, Coates Hire Limited, Mattel Asia Pacific and BIL Limited.

Dan O'Brien was a Director of Hexima between 17 May 2002 and 2 October 2009 and was reappointed to the Board on 18 November 2015. He is Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Dr John Bedbrook

Dr John Bedbrook

Non-Executive Director

Dr John Bedbrook received his PhD in Molecular biology at Auckland University in 1974, was a Fulbright Fellow to Harvard Medical School, a Cabot Fellow to Harvard University and an EMBO fellow to The Plant Breeding Institute Cambridge England. Between 1979 and 2000, Dr Bedbrook founded and/or ran several agricultural biotechnology companies, including Advanced Genetic Sciences, DNA Plant Technologies, Verdia Inc. and was President of Maxygen Agriculture. He was the CEO of Plant Science Ventures, a venture firm investing in biotechnology startups. After the acquisition of Verdia Inc. by DuPont in 2004 Dr Bedbrook became Vice President of Research and Development for DuPont Agriculture and Nutrition, and subsequently Vice President of DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology. He retired from full time employment in 2013 and retained a part time role as Director - Strategic Growth. Dr Bedbrook has authored over 100 scientific papers and multiple patents. He is a Director of Plant Biosciences Ltd., Executive Chairman of Dice Molecules Inc. and a Member of the Advisory Board of the College of Natural Resources at University of California Berkeley.

Dr Bedbrook has been a Director of the Company since 3 June 2014. He is Chairman of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Justin Yap

Justin Yap

Non-Executive Director

Justin Yap is an Executive Director of CathRx Limited, an Australian medical device company commercialising novel cardiac electrophysiology catheters for the treatment of heart rhythm disorders.

Justin is a cofounder and Non-Executive Director of Wilhelm Integrated Solutions Pty Ltd, a leading supplier of integrated operating room solutions to hospitals around Australia. He has also worked with Mosaic Risk Management Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wilson HTM Limited specialising in derivatives risk management.

Mr Yap has been a Director of Hexima since 17 July 2018. He is also a member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Scott Robertson

Scott Robertson

Non-Executive Director

Mr. Robertson is currently Chief Financial Officer at DiCE Molecules. Prior to DiCE Molecules, Mr. Robertson served at DuPont where he was Business Development Director for DuPont Pioneer with responsibility for the business unit’s crop genetics and precision agriculture M&A activity. He also held the position of portfolio manager with DuPont Ventures where he focused on strategic investment opportunities in production agriculture and the intersection of agriculture and downstream renewable technologies. Prior to joining DuPont, Mr. Robertson was an investment professional at MPM Capital, a life sciences-dedicated venture capital fund, and previous to that a member of the Healthcare Investment Banking groups at Merrill Lynch & Co. and Thomas Weisel Partners. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.