ROBERT KLUPACS (BSc (Hons) GRAD DIP IP LAW, AUSTRALIAN, REGISTERED PATENT & TRADEMARK ATTORNEY)
Non-executive Interim Chairman
Robert is a highly experienced professional uniquely experienced in translating and commercialising early stage intellectual property from a variety of technology areas into commercial product or investable corporate vehicles. He is an Australian registered patent attorney who has had a wide and successful career to date within both private and publicly traded companies as well as the academic arena. He has over 30 year’s corporate experience in the international technology development arena.
He has focused primarily on biotechnology and biotechnology corporate development, particularly healthcare related, but has also been involved in the commercialisation of software, scientific instrumentation, food technologies and enabling agricultural technology. Robert has deep expertise and experience in all facets of corporate development and technology transfer including IP licensing, patenting, intellectual property strategy and management, joint venture creation and management, fund-raising (private and public markets), corporate and scientific due diligence, technology and corporate acquisitions, corporate compliance and corporate governance and academic liaison. He is the founder of 26 companies in Australia and Singapore. He is a highly experienced professional Director having been an Executive or Non-Executive Chairman/Director on over 24 different corporate entities. He was previously a member of the Pharmaceutical Industry Group and is currently a member of the Victorian Biotechnology Advisory Committee.
Robert is scientifically trained in pharmacology and biochemistry and has a deep understanding of molecular biology, genetics, bioinformatics, immunology, ophthalmology (device and therapeutic), neurosciences, oncology, reproductive biology and stem cell biology. He was Managing Director and CEO of ASX listed Circadian Technologies Pvt Ltd from 2008-2013 and in 2017 was appointed CEO of the Bionics Institute.
RICHARD JAGGER (B.Sc.(hons), M.Intl.Bus., GAICD)
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director
Richard has over 20 years’ experience in the Agricultural sector, working for Fortune 500 companies around the world. He managed the introduction of Australia’s first agricultural biotech products into the cotton sector. Having worked as a senior executive manager for Monsanto within Australia and New Zealand, he has extensive knowledge of the local business and distribution network, as well as the major crop protection companies globally. He co-created the Australian subsidiary of Sinochem – one of the largest Crop Protection companies in China – in the role of Managing Director. He was previously a board member of Crop Life Australia, the peak national industry organisation representing the agricultural chemical and biotechnology (plant science) sector in Australia. Richard is a founding member of Victoria’s Cleantech Cluster, designed to support, consolidate and promote clean, sustainable technology for use around the world.
Richard has extensive experience in business management, continuous improvement, strategy development, culture evolution, and technology and innovation implementation. With the opportunity to work with different cultures and business styles across the globe, he has a solid understanding of what is required to make a success of cross cultural, or cross geographical businesses.
PETER BEETHAM (B.Sc.(hons), PhD)
Peter has over 30 years of experience in the bio-agriculture community, with a passion for moving technology to commercial application. He is currently the CEO of Cibus Global, LLC. As co-founder of Cibus, he has taken a lead role in developing the core gene editing technologies associated with the proprietary Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS™). Prior to taking on the CEO position at Cibus in 2014, Peter led the research and product development teams since the inception of the company in 2001.
Peter has spent more than three decades in agricultural research, with direct experience in areas including plant biotechnology, precision gene-editing and the applications of novel breeding technologies. Early in his career he was also involved in the introduction of improved root crops to many countries in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
Peter was employed by the Victorian Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DARA) in Australia from 1985 to 1992. He served as a Scientific Officer based at the Plant Research Institute (PRI), working with research groups throughout Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. As part of the plant virology group at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), he worked on the molecular biology of banana bunch top virus (BBTV) and the development of transgenes for pathogen-derived resistance. He continued his research as a postdoctoral scientist at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University, where he was one of the pioneers of the early work that led to the Cibus Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS) technology.
Prior to joining Cibus, he was Research Director of the Plant and Industrial Products Division at ValiGen, formerly Kimeragen, Inc. At Cibus he has led the scientific and regulatory endeavours that have led to the launching of Cibus’ first products in USA. More recently (2014) he assumed the role of President and CEO of Cibus tasked with taking Cibus to the next level of growth as a growth stage commercial company leading the way for licensing of gene edited traits to leading global seed companies.
Peter received his Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Virology from QUT in Brisbane, Australia and is a BSc (Hons) graduate of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Dr Beetham has authored many scientific publications including the pioneering publications for gene-editing starting in1999. He has also been a leading author on over 100 patents and patent applications.
JAMES JOUGHIN (B.Bus, CPA, GAICD)
James is a highly experienced ASX listed and private company Director. He is currently the Non-Executive Chairman at Spirit Technology Solutions Ltd (ASX:ST1) and a Non-Executive Director at Mydeal.com.au Ltd (ASX:MYD), Viridian Financial Group Ltd (an unlisted public company) and Melbourne Institute of Technology Pty Ltd.
Past directorships have included companies in healthcare, engineering, and veterinary products. Many had direct R&D activities, ranging from start-ups, listed and not for profit companies.
Prior to his career as a non-executive director James was a Partner in a Big 4 accounting professional services firm and specialised and led the Melbourne office in its corporate finance section in the areas of mergers & acquisitions, IPO’s, debt and equity raisings and private equity. He advised many smaller cap listed companies and has wide experience across a number of industries.
James holds a Bachelor of Business from RMIT University and is a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA). James is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).
ANDREW GUTHRIE (B. AgSci (Hons), GAICD)
Andrew has dedicated his career to agriculture and worked for 32 years with one of the world’s leading agriculture companies, Syngenta, and predecessor companies around the world. After building his early career in sales, marketing and supply chain roles in Australian agriculture, Andrew spent 20 years working internationally with assignments in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and China. He gained significant experience in diverse cultural environments that require broad leadership skills. Andrew spent most of his senior leadership years with Syngenta in Asia, as Regional Director for Asia Pacific, before he was promoted to lead Syngenta’s multi-billion dollar business in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
During his career, Andrew led business growth in developed and emerging markets by creating country operating businesses with the right culture, capability, people and business strategies to access attractive market segments that constituted tens of millions of grower customers in some countries. Andrew has a strong understanding of corporate governance and the risk management required to successfully grow business in emerging markets.
Andrew was part of Syngenta’s Global Crop Protection Leadership team that was responsible for business strategy that leveraged Syngenta’s extensive research and development capability to invent, gain regulatory approval and launch new products, including insecticides, to agricultural markets globally.
In 2019 he retired from executive management roles and now acts as a company director and mentor.
PETER MAY (BAppSc (Rural Technology) (Hons), MBA, GAICD, AFAIM)
Executive Director Research and Development
Peter has over 20 years’ experience in the Australian and international crop protection markets with companies Incitec, Orica and Crop Care Australasia (now part of Nufarm). His various roles included business management of pesticide products, export sales and toll formulation operations. During this period Peter developed extensive experience in international crop protection markets.
In 2001, he founded Xavca Pty Ltd, providing marketing and consultancy services to companies such as Syngenta, Sorex (now part of BASF), Babolna Bioenvironmental (Hungary) and Proplan Plant Protection (Spain). In 2008 Peter joined BioProspect Limited (ASX: BPO) as Chief Executive Officer and subsequently was appointed Non-Executive Director and then Non-Executive Chairman. In 2012 Peter joined Xenex Associates, a UK-based international consultancy company, as a Senior Associate, working on market development projects in Asia/Oceania.
Peter is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), a member of the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association (AEPMA) and the Mosquito Control Association of Australia (MCAA). Peter holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Rural Technology) (First Class Honours) from the University of Queensland and an MBA from the Queensland University of Technology.
ROGER MCPHERSON (B.Bus, CPA, GAICD)
Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary
Roger has more than 20 years’ experience in senior finance roles in a wide variety of industries. His early career included working with a Chartered Accounting practice and two years with the Australian Taxation Office.
Before Bio-Gene, Roger was CFO and Company Secretary for a number of SMEs both listed and unlisted including Patrys Limited, TPI Enterprises Ltd and eChoice Home Loans. In these roles he was responsible for all financial affairs and corporate administration as well as assisting in investor relations activities. He has over 15 years of biotechnology and pharmaceutical experience.
He is a CPA and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
DR. JAMES WADE (BSc, MSc, PhD)
James was educated in the UK, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Biological Science (University of Salford, UK) and a Master’s degree (with distinction) in Molecular Parasitology and Entomology (University of Manchester, UK). This training provided a strong understanding of contemporary studies relating to research into the immunological and molecular aspects of selected parasites and vector/parasite relationships. A specific emphasis was placed on the epidemiology and control of vectors of known economic importance and their impacts on the public, animal and agricultural sectors.
After completing a PhD in cell and developmental biology in 2008, James was employed as a Science and Technology Program Manager for a world leading European-based agribusiness holding company (EW-Group). In this role he was responsible for a global program of collaborative research projects which aimed to improve company process efficiencies.
In 2015 James joined a subsidiary of the EW-Group (Aviagen Ltd) as Research/Technical Development Manager (an EW-Group owned company). Here he assisted in leading a broad range of research initiatives aimed at improving the understanding of Aviagen’s products, processes, and developing best-practice advice for customers. This involved cross cultural and geographical collaborations with private industry, leading academic institutions and government organisations. This role saw James gain further experience in the coordination multiple cross disciplinary research projects in order to develop new technologies and methods that would add value to the Aviagen business. As part of this role he was responsible for the management of company trials infrastructure, the management, analysis and interpretation of product and research and development trials run internally or in external facilities across Europe. This role delivered multiple research outputs and technical support internally to the company, customer and wider audiences.
James was appointed as Program Manager for R&D within Bio-Gene in December 2018.
SARAH DRIESSENS (BSc, MSc)
Global Regulatory Affairs Lead
Sarah was educated in Belgium obtaining a Master’s degree (with distinction) in Agricultural engineering focus biotechnology (Free University Brussels). After completing her Masters, Sarah worked for more then 10 years at the world leading Agri company Monsanto (and subsequently Bayer after the Monsanto acquisition). Her main areas of focus were product registration for agricultural and consumer products across major geographic jurisdictions. She gained invaluable knowledge and experience working with key stakeholders (including regulators and industry associations) and achieved notable success, especially in the European regulatory system. Sarah has worked cross functional and has broad experience in working closely together with R&D, legal, manufacturing, supply and sales teams.
In early 2021 Sarah joined Pelsis a global pest control technology company as Head of Regulatory, with a focus on leading and coaching a team in developing and implementing regulatory strategies for biocide consumer and professional products. In late 2021, Sarah relocated with her family permanently to Brisbane, Australia.
Sarah brings an advanced level of technical and regulatory expertise that will enable Bio-Gene to manage the registration process of Flavocide™ and Qcide™ as efficiently as possible. Her experience with different regulatory bodies around the world is invaluable, and her command of multiple languages ensures good communication between Bio-Gene, our commercial partners, our registration study providers, and the various government regulatory bodies.
Sarah was appointed as Head of Regulatory affairs within Bio-Gene in February 2022.