The Team

Robert Feldman
Dr Feldman has an invaluable combination of business, medical and research experience spanning two decades. A qualified medical practitioner, he obtained his medical degree in London, his PhD in the Netherlands, has worked at Harvard Medical School and held clinical and academic positions at Imperial College, London. Dr Feldman is a successful serial life science entrepreneur, having founded the UK vaccine company Microscience and antimicrobial company Vmax. He later went on to become CEO of hepatitis C therapeutic company, RioTech before establishing the European operations for the New York based company Paramount Biosciences, LLC. As Entrepreneur in Residence for Imperial Innovations, London, Dr Feldman also co-founded the spin-out company, Indigix. In 2010, he moved to New Zealand as Executive Director of Pacific Channel and subsequently founded his own life science consulting company, Line 5.

During his extensive and varied career, Dr Feldman has developed a breadth of medical, research and commercial expertise encompassing therapeutics, devices and diagnostics. He has also gained a deep understanding of business and product development, fundraising, venture and governance. During Dr Feldman’s time in the UK and New Zealand, he has engaged in business development activities globally, including concluding successful licensing deals in Europe, USA, Australia, Russia, South Korea and New Zealand.
Rod Dunbar
Professor Dunbar has a medical degree and a PhD from the University of Otago. He spent 6 years as a post-doctoral research fellow in human immunology at the University of Oxford. In 2008 he was appointed the Director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre, a national Centre of Research Excellence that promotes a multi-disciplinary approach to the discovery of new medicines and vaccines. Rod was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2016. Rod's lab has a primary focus on human cellular immunology but also specialises in regenerative medicine.
Vaughan Feisst
Research Fellow at University of Auckland. Previous commercial experience at Genesis Research and Development Ltd. A specialist in skin biology and tissue engineering for regenerative medicine.


David Flacks
David was for many years a senior corporate partner of Bell Gully and was also general counsel and company secretary of Carter Holt Harvey in the 1990's. He has recently established the boutique corporate law firm of Flacks & Wong and a governance career as chair of NZX listed AFT Pharmaceuticals and P2P platform Harmoney. He is also a director of NZ VIF, Vero Insurance and a number of charitable organisations.

David is also an active angel investor and is passionate about the success of NZ Inc.
Maxine Simmons
Maxine has over 30 years’ commercial experience in start-up and expansion stage private company development. Maxine founded one of New Zealand’s first biotechnology companies and was awarded a Distinguished New Zealand Biotechnologist Award in recognition for growing a significant biotechnology export business.

Maxine holds a Master of Science (Hons) degree in biological science from the University of Auckland and is a chartered member of the NZ Institute of Directors. She was a founding director of Industry New Zealand (now New Zealand Trade and Enterprise), a director of NZ’s Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Crown Research Institute, Industrial Research Ltd, Chair of the NZ biotechnology Industry organization, NZBIO and represented New Zealand on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

Maxine is Chief Executive of early-stage healthcare investment fund Cure Kid Ventures and is a director on a number of private healthcare companies in New Zealand including Upside Biotechnologies.
Will Charles
Will Charles has been General Manager Technology Development at Auckland UniServices since 2005. During this time UniServices has transacted over 165 licensing deals, started 30 companies and raised over $50 million in venture and seed funding for these companies, and has successfully exited a number of these.

He set up the TransTasman Commercialisation Fund, a A$30 million seed fund with four Australian Universities and sat on the Investment Committee of the fund. He is a director of a number of start-up companies. He also set up and is responsible for the direction of Return on Science which is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Economic Development’s Commercialisation Partner Network. He has been a speaker at a number of international Technology Transfer events including the Association of Technology Managers in the US (AUTM) and BioEurope.

Previously, Will has had extensive senior commercial experience in businesses in Europe, Asia and New Zealand where he has held executive positions at a number of companies including Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, Celltech and Wolters Kluwer.
Dan Marshak
Daniel R. Marshak, Ph.D., is an experienced executive in the Life Sciences, Diagnostics, and Biopharmaceutical industries, leading high-technology, global businesses and R&D functions for more than twenty years. Currently, Dr. Marshak is a consultant to several biotechnology and life sciences companies, as well as financial firms, including Ferghana Partners Group and 5AM Ventures. He previously served as Senior Vice President & Chief Scientific Officer for PerkinElmer Inc. (NYSE:PKI) from 2006-2014. Prior to joining PerkinElmer, Dr. Marshak was Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Biotechnology, for Cambrex Corporation (NYSE:CBM.) In that role, he helped build and manage the BioScience business unit through significant organic growth, including the first contract manufacturing of cell therapy products and other biologics. Dr. Marshak previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Osiris Therapeutics, Inc. where he led stem cell research and development of mesenchymal stem cell products from inception to clinical trials. He was previously Senior Staff Investigator at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, directing a basic research lab 1986-1995. Dr. Marshak is the author of more than 100 scientific publications, and is an inventor on eight issued U.S. patents. He held an appointment as adjunct Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and previously taught graduate biochemistry as Assistant Professor at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Dr. Marshak received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University, and holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Cell Biology from The Rockefeller University in New York City. He did postdoctoral work in Pharmacology at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and was a Pharmacology Research Associate Training Fellow at the National Institute of Health.


Geoff MacKay
Geoff is currently the CEO of Avrobio, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA with proven success leading innovative businesses. While CEO of Organogenesis Inc., the company treated 1 million patients with living cell therapies, received the first FDA CBER allogeneic cell-therapy approval and achieved an unparalled position within regenerative medicine. Geoff is board member and interim CEO of eGenesis, applying CRISPR Cas-9 gene editing to xenotransplantation. Geoff spent 11 years at Novartis in senior leadership positions within the Global Transplantation and Immunology franchise. Past activities include Chairman of the Board of MassBio, Chairman of the Board of the Alliance of Regenerative Medicine, and Advisory Council to the Health Policy Commission for Massachusetts. Through his public and private enterprise work, Geoff is dedicated to applying innovation to reshape and improve the quality of healthcare.
Sheila MacNeil
Sheila is Professor of Tissue Engineering at Sheffield University (non-clinical) with expertise in tissue engineering of skin, oral mucosa, urethra, oesophagus and cornea with a strong focus on translating research to the clinic. She has published over 350 peer-reviewed articles with over 7000 citations and has an h-index of 45. Since 1992 she has worked with clinicians in Sheffield, delivering autologous keratinocytes to burns patients and developed and commercialised improved delivery of skin cells to patients with MySkin™ and Cryoskin™ (autologous and allogeneic cell therapy for wound healing), available for NHS patients via Regenerys Ltd. She has also worked extensively with NHS Urologist Professor Chris Chapple in Sheffield to develop tissue engineered oral mucosa for reconstruction of urethral stricture and published a 9 year follow-up on this recently. Another key project is developing cell delivery membranes for corneal defects (Wellcome Trust Affordable Healthcare for India) working with colleagues in India. She has also been developing an alternative material for support of the urethra with Professor Chris Chapple over the last 6 years which will better withstand the dynamic pressures in the pelvic floor. She received the UK Society of Biomaterials President’s medal for her contributions to Biomaterials in both the UK and overseas in September 2014.
Damien Bates
Dr. Bates has held senior executive and leadership roles in research, clinical development and medical affairs in multiple US based companies including Baxter, Organogenesis, Allergan & SanBio. Most of this work focused on tissue regeneration and repair. As Chief Medical Officer of Organogenesis, he successfully led the first BLA approval of an allogeneic cell based product in the US in 2012. Dr. Bates has also led the design and execution of over 20 IND, IDE and CTN studies across drugs, biologics and devices in the US and Asia and has had extensive regulatory interactions with the FDA, PMDA and EMA around the development and approval of cell based medicines. Dr. Bates received his medical degree from the University of Sydney, his PhD in Developmental Biology from the University of Melbourne, his Fellowship in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and his MBA from the Wharton Business School.