Scientific Advisory Board

Sir Murray Brennan

Professor Sir Murray Brennan 

Professor Sir Murray Brennan is a New Zealand-born surgeon, oncologist, cancer researcher, and academic, with over fifty years of experience in clinical practice.

He was Chair of the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 1985 to June 2006, and is currently Vice President of International Programs and Director of the Bobst International Center. He currently holds the Benno C Schmidt Chair in Clinical Oncology, and is Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Surgery. Prior to his career at Memorial Sloan Kettering, he was head of the surgical metabolism section at the National Cancer Institute.

Professor Brennan has lectured throughout the world and authored or co-authored more than 1,100 scientific papers and book chapters, and three books on soft tissue sarcoma. He has served as Director of the American Board of Surgery, Vice President of the American College of Surgeons, Chairman of the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, and President of the Society of Surgical Oncology, the James IVth Association, the Society of Clinical Surgery, the International Gastric Cancer Association, and the American Surgical Association.

He has been awarded Honorary Fellowships in the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, of England, and in Ireland, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and Canada. Professor Brennan has also received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Edinburgh, Otago, and Goteborg, and University College, London.

In 1995, Professor Brennan was honoured with membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2000 he received the American College of Surgeons’ highest award, the Distinguished Service Award. In January 2015 he was appointed by Her Majesty The Queen as Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

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Karen Ferrante

Dr Karen Ferrante 

Dr Karen Ferrante is a haematologist-oncologist with over twenty-five years of experience in clinical oncology drug development, spanning both large pharmaceutical companies and fast-growing biotechs.

She received her MD degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine and then completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston (Beth Israel Deaconess), followed by a fellowship in haematology and oncology. While at Beth Israel Deaconess, she served as Instructor, Clinical Instructor, and Clinical Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr Ferrante commenced her industry career with Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1995, and then spent more than eight years working at Pfizer, culminating in a role as Vice President of Oncology Development. She joined Millennium Pharmaceuticals in 2007 and rose to the position of Chief Medical Officer, with shared responsibility over Research and Development (R&D), where she supported the development activities for supplemental indications for Velcade® (bortezomib), the first proteasome inhibitor for multiple myeloma, as well as initial approval in Europe for Adcetris® (brentuximab vedotin), an antibody-drug conjugate directed to CD30, and the oral proteasome inhibitor, Ninlaro® (ixazomib). Following the acquisition and integration of Millennium by the Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Dr Ferrante became the Therapeutic Area Head for Oncology.

She was the Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D for Tokai Pharmaceuticals (2014-2016) a NASDAQ-listed biotechnology company based in Boston, MA that was focused on the development of novel therapies for prostate cancer.

Dr Ferrante is currently a member of the board of directors of MacroGenics, Inc., Cogent Biosciences, Inc. (formerly Unum Therapeutics Inc.) and HUTCHMED (formerly Chi-Med). She was previously a director of Baxalta Incorporated until it was acquired by Shire plc in 2016 and a director of Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. until it was acquired by Lantheus Holdings, Inc. in 2020. She is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Trillium Therapeutics.

Dr Ferrante has also been an author of a number of papers in the oncology field, is an active participant in academic and professional associations and symposia, and holds several patents. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In 2012, she was named by Pharma Voice as one of their 100 Most Inspiring People and recently she was named as one of the 60 over 60 Biopharma Pioneers by Endpoint News.

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Peter Gunning

Professor Peter Gunning 

Professor Peter Gunning is the Head of the School of Medical Sciences at the University of New South Wales, and the co-inventor of Kazia Therapeutics’s anti-tropomyosin technology, which includes Anisina (ATM-3507).

He completed his PhD at Monash University on gene expression in the nervous system, and then spent nine years at Stanford University, working first on neuronal differentiation and then on the regulation of muscle gene expression. Since returning to Australia, his research group has focused on studying the architecture of cells and tissues.

Professor Gunning’s research has been principally concerned with diseases of childhood, primarily cancer and muscle damage. He is best known for his discovery of one of the key principles underlying the architecture of all cells and its application to childhood cancer. Professor Gunning has built a twenty-year partnership with the Not-For-Profit organisation, The Kids Cancer Project, to drive novel research into childhood cancers, and this was reported on the ABC’s Australian Story program in March 2014.

Professor Gunning has published over 200 research papers and recently edited the book Tropomyosin. He is on the Board of the NSW Cancer Institute and served as the Chair of the NSW Cancer Institute Cancer Research Advisory Committee for six years. He was also the inaugural Chair of the Division of Research at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, and the Founding Chair of Bio-Link Pty Ltd.

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Alex Matter

Alex Matter 

Professor Alex Matter is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Experimental Therapeutics Centre, and also Chief Executive Officer of the D3 Platform, both part of A*STAR, the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research, in Singapore. In addition, he is an Emeritus Professor of the Medical Faculty of the University of Basel, and an Honorary Adjunct Professor of the Department of Pharmacology in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore.

Professor Matter received his medical degree from the University of Basel and undertook research in Switzerland, Britain, France, and the United States before entering the pharmaceutical industry. He worked in Hoffman-LaRoche, before joining CIBA-GEIGY, which became part of Novartis in 1996, where he rose to the position of Global Head of Oncology Research. At Novartis, he led a team of close to two hundred scientists to discover and develop Gleevec® (imatinib), one of the first targeted therapies for cancer, which was given a fast-track approval by FDA in 2001. He was also instrumental in the discovery of Tasigna® (nilotinib), and several therapies for infectious disease.

He was the founding director of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases in 2003, where he attracted major grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. He also co-founded the Esperanza Medicines Foundation, a Not-For-Profit organisation that aims to develop affordable drugs for treatment and prevention of AIDS in developing countries.

Professor Matter has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and several book chapters in the area of oncology and haematology. He is the recipient of the 13th Warren-Alpert Prize and the AACR-Bruce F Cain Memorial Award. He has held fellowships at the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Academy for Medical Sciences, and was awarded the Szent-Györgyi Prize by the US National Foundation for Cancer Research in 2013.

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