Championing women innovators in healthtech

Posted: 29 April 2024

Three extraordinary women, who are driving change in the healthtech industry, are recipients of 2024 BioMelbourne Network Women in Leadership Awards.

These innovators are entrepreneurs who are inspiring the next generation of scientists and business leaders.

The 2024 Awards were presented today at a live-streamed event sponsored by the Victorian Government.

Dr Elane Zelcer, Deputy Chair of BioMelbourne Network, reflected on the Awardees’ achievements and the history of the event.

“This year marks the 10th anniversary of our Women in Leadership Awards, a significant milestone for BioMelbourne Network and the Victorian healthtech industry,” Dr Zelcer said.

“All our Award recipients are innovators in their fields and are transforming our sector in research translation, commercialisation and development of new pharmaceuticals, and venture capital.

“Their achievements are outstanding and highlight the importance and value of knowledge, collaboration and hard work, which have contributed to their successes.”

The 2024 Awardees are:

Distinguished Leadership Award

Professor Mimi Tang, Director, Allergy Translation and Group Leader, Allergy Immunology, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Scientific Founder and CEO, Prota Therapeutics; and Founder/Director, AllergyPal.

Mimi is globally recognised for her leadership in allergy and immunology. She has made exceptional contributions to the understanding and treatment of food allergies that are impacting clinical practice and research.

Mimi is a pioneer who has transformed allergy management by making remission of allergies a tangible reality. Her extensive publications have earned her recognition as one of the top 1% of highly cited researchers in immunology, globally.

Mimi’s tenacity and her passion for innovation have enabled her to fearlessly transition from academia into senior biotech commercialisation roles, culminating in the founding of Prota Therapeutics, a biotech company that is developing novel oral immunotherapy treatments for food allergy.

Through her unwavering pursuit of excellence and commitment to mentoring, Mimi continues to shape the future of allergy management and inspire the next generation of clinician-researchers and entrepreneurs.

Inspiring Leadership Award

Professor Michelle McIntosh, Director, Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, Monash University; Co-Founder, Monash Quality of Medicines Initiative; and Leader, Inhaled Oxytocin Project.

Michelle is a highly driven, supportive and compassionate leader who builds inclusive and safe work environments centred around teamwork and shared ownership of outcomes.

Michelle is recognised internationally for her unwavering commitment to improving access to safe and affordable medications in low-and middle-income countries, mainly in maternal health. This is highlighted by the Inhaled Oxytocin Project, a program dedicated to developing a heat-stable, powder formulation of oxytocin, that, when inhaled, protects mothers from postpartum haemorrhage. This is a condition which causes around 70,000 deaths globally each year.

In 2017, Michelle was the driving force behind the formation of Monash University’s Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, which was established in partnership with the Victorian Government to provide bespoke research and training services for the local biotech ecosystem and stimulate collaboration.

The expansion of the Centre to Monash’s Clayton campus – funded through an $8.58 million investment from the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund – will allow the scale-up of medicine manufacturing capability, support clinical trials, and grow exports and jobs.

Emerging Leadership Award

Dr Amanda Vrselja, Program Head, CUREator, Brandon BioCatalyst.

Amanda has led the program’s novel design, which combines funding delivered like an investor with access to expert networks, training and hands-on support. This enables projects to reach key development milestones and enhances their capability and capacity to succeed.

In a short time, Amanda has led CUREator through a period of rapid growth, hiring and leading a highly talented team, establishing and supporting national and international investment committees, managing stakeholders from government to industry organisations, and engaging with applicants and commercialisation teams from medical research institutes, universities and start-ups across the country.

Amanda is recognised for her leadership, strong technical skills and deep knowledge of the start-up sector.

Amanda’s dedication to research translation and commercialisation, coupled with her passion for mentoring, are testament to her commitment to advancing others and the sector.

Amanda’s collaborative approach, underscored by her values-driven leadership and unwavering commitment to innovation, position her as a dynamic emerging leader in Australia’s growing life sciences industry.

View the 2024 Women in Leadership Award Ceremony Booklet.

About BioMelbourne Network

BioMelbourne Network is the peak body in the Victorian healthtech industry, driving engagement and growth in research, innovation, commercialisation and manufacturing through local and international networks. Since 2001, we actively foster and grow an innovative, globally competitive sector, transforming our Network and the broader Victorian ecosystem.

About the Women in Leadership Awards

The BioMelbourne Network Women in Leadership Awards, which were launched in 2015,
recognise and champion women who are making outstanding contributions in the healthtech industry. These leaders are inspiring more women to pursue leadership roles.

This year we received 45 nominations from colleagues in the industry and the three Award recipients were selected by an esteemed pre-screening committee and judging panel.


Contact: Vicki Burkitt, Communications Manager, BioMelbourne Network,


The 2024 Award Ceremony is kindly sponsored by the State Government of Victoria.








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