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WEHI Ventures and 66ten

Investing in early bright ideas and promising discoveries

WEHI’s first strategic investment fund is investing $66 million over 10 years to advance outstanding science towards commercial reality.

WEHI Ventures logo

66ten

66ten is a groundbreaking initiative that supports WEHI’s vision of translating its scientific discoveries to achieve globally significant impact in healthcare.

The fund aims to bridge the gap between discovery and investable commercial ventures. Significant funding in the pre-seed and seed stages will advance innovations more quickly and help to gain global commercial competitiveness.

The largest internal pre-seed and seed fund in an Australian medical research institute, 66ten is managed by WEHI Ventures, which commenced operations in July 2023.

66ten is dedicated to ideas and intellectual property developed at WEHI or in collaboration with WEHI.

Investment Review Committee

Experienced biotech entrepreneurs, Venture Capital investment managers and industry R&D leaders have joined the 66ten Investment Review Committee (66ten IRC):

Dr Roslyn Hendriks

66ten IRC Chair

Dr Roslyn Hendriks is passionate about innovation and delivering cutting-edge technologies to the global market. She has over 30 years’ experience in founding new companies, accelerating profitable growth of emerging businesses, coaching executives, and serving on Boards.

She co-founded three start-ups – Genetrax (Brisbane), Immunexpress Inc. (Brisbane, Seattle) and Tend Health Inc. (Seattle); as Founding CEO, she led the raising of ~$100 million in dilutive and non-dilutive capital, developed and cleared products through the FDA, delivered products and services into revenue, built high performance teams and fostered international technology and business partnerships.

She is qualified in veterinary medicine and has a PhD in medical pharmacology (UQ; University California Davis) and a summa cum laude MBA from QUT. She also serves as an independent Director for UniSA Ventures P/L, an Advisor to the Westmead Institute for Medical Research (Sydney), the Burnet Medical Institute (Melbourne) and other Australian non-profit organisations, and is also an advisor to various start-ups including Microbio P/L (Brisbane), OncoRevive Holdings P/L (Melbourne), GMJ Technologies Inc. (Seattle), Tend Health Inc. (Seattle) and Provectus Algae P/L (Noosaville).

Professor Alan Cowman AC FAA FRS

66ten IRC member

Professor Alan Cowman AC is Acting Director at WEHI.

He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011 and the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2001. In 2019 he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia for his service to Biological Sciences.

He has worked on malaria for over 30 years and published over 300 papers on the topic of infection and pathogenesis of this disease. His work is aimed at understanding the function of proteins in Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of the most severe form of malaria in humans and to use this information for the development of vaccines and drug targets against this parasitic disease. His work has identified new targets in the malaria parasite for development of antimalarials which are currently in development with Merck USA.

Dr Chris Francis

Dr Chris Francis

66ten IRC member

Dr Chris Francis is currently the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Head of Emerging Areas at Wave Life Sciences, an emerging leader in RNA therapeutics. In this role he has led multiple major collaborations with pharmaceutical companies and contributed to the discovery and development of potential first-in-class medicines. Prior to Wave, Dr Francis was the head of Academic Licensing and Strategic Alliances, and head of Business Development for GSK Cancer Research.

He began his career in pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement consulting with IMS Health (now IQVIA) and building biotechnology companies at Two River Group.

He received a BSc (Hons) and PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Melbourne.

Photo of Isabelle Lucet with colourful LED lights in the background

Professor Isabelle Lucet

66ten IRC member

Professor Isabelle Lucet is an expert structural biologist and currently heads the Chemical Biology division at WEHI.

With a strong expertise in structure-based discovery programs, she has made significant contributions to advancing the discovery of therapeutic drugs targeting oncogenic kinases.

After completing her graduate studies in France and postdoctoral studies in Oxford (UK), she joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University in 2003 where she established with CYTOPIA a groundbreaking structure-based drug discovery project targeting the JAK kinases. This research program led to the discovery of Momelotinib (Ojjaara), a drug recently approved by the FDA to treat myelofibrosis patients with anaemia.

Since joining WEHI in 2014, she has continued to make seminal contributions in the field of protein kinase research, successfully driving both academic and translational programs. Her multidisciplinary approach, integrating structural biology, chemical biology, imaging and proteomics has contributed to many advancements in these areas. Alongside her research, she actively supports translational activities by serving as an expert advisor on several key committees.

Dr Andrew McLean

Dr Andrew McLean

66ten IRC member

Dr Andrew McLean is the managing partner of Tin Alley Ventures. In partnership with the University of Melbourne and its companion institutes, TAV seeks to identify and build the next generation of Victorian businesses solving generational challenges. TAV works across all areas of the technological frontier.

Andrew was part of the founding team and lead life sciences investor at Oxford Sciences Enterprises. He led investments in Vaccitech (co-inventor of the OxfordAZ Covid vaccine), Pepgen, DJS Antibodies, mirobio and Osler Diagnostics.

He received his medical degree from the University of Western Australia and worked part-time as a doctor in the NHS while reading for a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford. He started his career at McKinsey & Company’s London office.

Dr James Rush

Dr James Rush

66ten IRC member

Dr James Rush is an expert immunologist and drug development scientist with extensive experience leading successful preclinical and clinical research and development for novel therapeutics in autoimmune disease, transplantation and immune-oncology.

James completed his PhD from Sydney University in 2000 before moving to the USA for an HHMI postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University. After three years at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation in San Diego, he moved to the Autoimmunity, Transplantation and Inflammation disease area at Novartis in 2008 to lead a project team working on the development and clinical translation of a novel antiCD40 immunomodulatory antibody (Iscalimab). After completing an Executive Masters in Healthy Economics, Policy and Management at the London School of Economics, he transitioned into a dual research and commercial role as a Global New Products Director in the Immunology, Hepatology and Dermatology business franchise at Novartis. In 2021 he joined Kling Biotherapeutics BV, a biotech developing biologics for immune-oncology and infectious disease, as Chief Scientific Officer, a position he held for 18 months. More recently he has been working as a consultant for various Venture Capital firms and biotech companies including Forbion and General Inception.

Dr Kerstin Schuetz

Dr Kerstin Schuetz

66ten IRC member

Dr Kerstin Schuetz is an experienced Executive and Non-Executive Director with a uniquely developed skill set and proven record in technology translation, stakeholder engagement and management, and partnering with industries and universities at an international level.

Well-practiced in research, global and start-up businesses and government, she specialises in the biotech, medtech and pharma sectors. She is passionate about the commercialisation of new technologies that benefit society and the start-up ecosystem.

With an entrepreneurial spirit, Kerstin has mentored start-ups and founded her own business. As a Commercial Facilitator for the Australian Government’s Accelerating Commercialisation Program, she provided commercialisation support and expertise to Australian start-up and SME companies. Kerstin is also the ANZ Market Access Agent for a global pharma CDMO.

The WEHI Ventures team

Dr Anne-Laure Puaux
Head, Business Development and CEO WEHI Ventures
Dr Leigh Coultas
Dr Leigh Coultas
Operations and Portfolio Manager
Dr Amanda Woon
Dr Amanda Woon
Venture Scientist
Photo of Nicholas Liau with a city background
Dr Nicholas Liau
Venture Scientist

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