The science behind drug discovery in Industry

Friday, 20 September, 2019 - 15:00 to 16:30

Three eminent internationally-based pharma researchers discuss the science behind the successful development of therapeutic drugs into the clinic.  Come and hear these unique stories on what scientific life in industry is like and can offer. The formal Symposium, will be followed by a Q&A panel session and a mixer where more information and insights can be gained.

What: Bio21 'Big Picture': 'The science behind drug discovery in Industry'

Who: Joseph Arron (Genentech), Matt Sleeman (Regeneron), Brent McKenzie (Genentech)

When: 3 - 4.30pm, (followed by refreshments), Friday, 20 September, 

Where: Bio21 auditorium and atrium, 30 Flemington Road, Parkville

Register: Follow the link to register via Eventbrite.


Joseph Arron

Joseph Arron earned an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, completed a combined MD-PhD degree at Cornell University Medical College and the Rockefeller University, and conducted postdoctoral studies at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Arron joined Genentech in 2006, where his laboratory has discovered molecular bases for heterogeneity in asthma and pulmonary fibrosis, enabling target and biomarker discovery for novel investigational molecular therapies and resulting in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. In addition to supervising translational research in his laboratory, he is Senior Director of Immunology Discovery, a department of 12 laboratories responsible for target discovery and preclinical therapeutic development in inflammatory, autoimmune, fibrotic, and ophthalmic diseases. 


Matthew Sleeman

Matthew Sleeman is the VP of the Immunology & Inflammation group at Regeneron. His team supports the development of novel biologic therapies for the treatment of a range of different allergic and autoimmune diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition his group also works in immuno-oncology to develop new therapeutic approaches for cancer. This team has successfully supported the development of a number of Regenerons approved therapies, such as Dupixent (AntiIL4R), Kevzara (AntiIL6R) and Libtayo (antiPD1). Prior to joining Regeneron Matt Sleeman was a Senior Director of Biology for the Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity Group at MedImmune in Cambridge UK and also held several positions within Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT). During this time he collaborated with CSL, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the University of Melbourne working on the GM-CSF pathway, ultimately leading to the generation and development of the GM-CSFRa antibody mavrilimumab. Before working in the antibody field, he worked for a New Zealand start up Genesis Research & Development isolating and characterizing novel growth factors and cytokines. Matt Sleeman holds a PhD from the University of Durham, UK

Brent McKenzie

Brent McKenzie is the head of Translational Immunology at Genentech South San Francisco. He has over 15 years’ experience in early stage drug discovery and
development. An Immunologist with extensive background in in-vivo pharmacology, Autoimmunity, Inflammation, Fibrosis, Ocular disease, Infection, Coagulation, Cancer, Metabolism & Vaccines. A leader of large multidisciplinary teams, BD deals and company acquisitions. His team at Genentech works on large and small molecule drug discovery and development for inflammatory, ocular, fibrotic and infectious diseases.  

Moderator Damien Bates has held senior executive & leadership roles in research, clinical development and medical affairs in multiple US based companies including Baxter, Organogenesis, Allergan & SanBio. He has over 15 years of commercial experience and has been responsible for 22 therapeutics currently in clinical use. 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 had extensive regulatory interactions with the FDA, PMDA and EMA resulting in several clearances to initiate clinical trials involving drugs, biologics and devices around the world. He has led the design and execution of over 20 Phase I through Phase IV studies and secured 3 product approvals.  More recently Dr. Bates joined BioCurate as the Chief Scientific Officer & Head of Translational Medicine and serves on the advisory boards of AusBiotech, ARMI, MDPP, Upside Biotechnologies and Gertrude Biomedical. 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 & Reconstructive Surgery from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and his MBA from the Wharton Business School






Michael Parker (Director, Bio21)


Biomarkers in drug development


Joseph Arron (Genentech)

Nicholas Wilson (CSL)

The development of novel bispecific antibodies as cancer therapeutics


Matt Sleeman​ (Regeneron)

John Hamilton, (University of Melbourne)

Preclinical considerations for developing new anti-fibrotics


Brent McKenzie (Genentech)

Nicholas Wilson

Q&A Session -

moderated by  Damien Bates (Biocurate)


Joseph Arron

Matt Sleeman

Brent McKenzie

John Hamilton


Refreshments in the Bio21 Institute Atrium