Our vision is to give everyone diagnosed with cancer, their best chance to become cancer free.



Our mission is to allow no tumour to go undetected, transforming cancer outcomes through precision surgery, imaging and therapy.

Our History

We all know someone – a friend or a family member – who is facing a cancer diagnosis. Also, collectively, we have witnessed too many people close to us find hope that they are cancer free, only to be told later that ‘the cancer is back’.

We believe that by bringing together world-class expertise in chemistry, bioengineering and medicine, we can identify solutions that will transform the staging and treatment of early stage cancers. Ensuring that no cancer goes undetected has the potential to allow surgeons and pathologists to maximise the use of their skills, support less-invasive procedures, and improve outcomes for patients.

1997

CSIRO develops new polymerisation method

CSIRO developed a new polymerisation method called reversible addition−fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT), which provided more controlled polymerisation than prior methods. The methods were initially applied in the paint industry.

1999

University of Sydney RAFT polymerisation invented

Assoc Prof Brian Hawkett at the Key Centre for Polymer Colloids (KCPC) at the University of Sydney commenced researching RAFT polymerisation in aqueous disperse systems.

2003

University of Sydney RAFT polymerisation medical research

Assoc Prof Brian Hawkett and the KCPC at the University of Sydney began applying RAFT methods to synthesis of block copolymers to optimise the stabilisation of aqueous ferrofluids and magnetic nanoparticles for use in medicine.

2009

University of Sydney RAFT patent

Assoc Prof Brian Hawkett and the KCPC filed and were granted a key patent for administrable compositions using block copolymers as part of a system for stabilising particulate material in pharmacologically acceptable liquid carriers.

2011

UniSA & Royal Adelaide Hospital esophageal cancer collaboration

Assoc Prof Sarah Thompson at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Professor Benjamin Thierry from University of South Australia, with funding from the New South Wales Cancer Council, began collaborating on tracers for improving high-risk lymph node identification in esophageal cancer.  

2016

Ferronova incorporated

Ferronova is incorporated as a spin out company from University of South Australia and Victoria University in New Zealand, with seed investment provided by Powerhouse Ventures.

2016 – 2020

Preclinical validation studies

Ferronova completed a series of preclinical validation studies, including large animal feasibility and optimisation studies and toxicity studies.

2017

University of Sydney collaboration

Ferronova and the University of Sydney began a collaboration to apply the University of Sydney block copolymer technology to Ferronova's magnetic nanoparticles, signing a licensing agreement in 2019.

2020

Series A Funding

Ferronova completed a $3.5m series A funding round led by Uniseed, with co-investment from Artesian, the South Australian Venture Capital Fund, PAN Ventures, and existing shareholders, and was granted a $826k.

2020

Second generation FerroTrace®-FAPI program

Ferronova and the University of South Australia commenced a 2nd generation development program on an iron-oxide nanoparticle formulation for more accurate mapping of primary tumours to improve image guided treatments, comparing PSMA and FAPI targeting in prostate cancer.

2020-2022

First in Human Trial

Completed a 15 patient first in-human trial in oral cancer at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

2021-present

BMTH Grant and Colorectal Cancer Trial

BioMedTech Horizons (BMTH) grant from MTP Connect to fund a colorectal cancer trial in partnership with the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research. The trial commenced in 2022 and is in progress.

2022

Renew Pharmaceuticals Agreement

Ferronova signed an agreement with Renew Pharmaceuticals to develop and distribute their infrared dye, Verdye (ICG), for use in conjunction with FerroTrace® in complex gastrointestinal cancers.

2023

Series A2 Funding and Grants

Completed an $8m Series A2 funding round led by Renew Pharmaceuticals, a global leader in infrared surgical dyes. Secured a CRC-P grant of $3m to further develop FerroTrace-FAPI and fund the remainder of the preclinical feasibility and toxicity program and a first-in-human trial at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Industry partner on UniSA grants for FerroTrace®-FAPI to test in pancreatic cancer.

2023

FAPI Licensing Agreement with Purdue

Signed a licensing agreement with Purdue for Purdue's novel FAPI ligand for application in MRI imaging and MRI guided therapies.

The people leading the future
of cancer diagnosis

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Stewart Bartlett

CEO
Board Member

Stewart was a co-founder of medical device company Signostics. From 2005-2017 he was COO of Signostics, managing product development, manufacturing, quality, regulatory, customer service, OEM partnerships, and at various times sales and marketing. Prior to Signostics, he held several management positions at Lake Technology Ltd, including managing director of a subsidiary responsible for licensing Lake’s technology. He has worked in a variety of management, engineering and sales and marketing roles in Australia, the United States, and Europe, and holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with Honors from Curtin University and a Master of Business Administration from The Australian Graduate School of Management.

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Dr Anil Shetty

CMO
Team Member

Dr Shetty is the Chief Medical Officer and manages the US office in Houston, Texas. Dr Shetty was the Director of Clinical Operations at Visualase, and a key member of the executive team which led the Houston-based medical startup to a $110 million Medtronic acquisition. He has also led development of products for epilepsy, spinal tumors, radiation necrosis and prostate cancer, and developed a network of clinics offering MRI guided biopsy and focal therapy for prostate cancer. He has a fellowship from MD Anderson Cancer Center and a Biomedical Engineering degree from Texas A&M. He has co-authored 30+peer-reviewed publications in oncology, radiology, neurology and neurosurgery.

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Dr Aidan Cousins

Senior Research & Development Engineer
Team Member

Aidan Cousins is Senior Research Engineer and Ferronova cofounder, and since the company’s inception has been responsible for the technical development and design of FerroTrace’s companion magnetometer probe, FerroMag. Aidan completed a bachelor of Applied Science, Applied Physics (1 st class Honours) in 2011, before undertaking a PhD in Engineering at the University of South Australia. In 2014, his PhD work led to patenting a novel magnetometer technology for lymphatic mapping of magnetic tracers. In 2016, shortly after being awarded his PhD, collaborative research with Victoria University of Wellington focussed on manufacture and detection of novel magnetic tracers resulted in the creation of Ferronova. In 2017 Aidan’s PhD work was further recognised for its impact, being award both of his institutions top PhD awards: the Ian Wark Medal (most outstanding PhD thesis) and the Norton Jackson Material Science and Engineering Medal (commitment to real-world application of research).

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Prof Benjamin Thierry

Scientific Advisor/Founder
Scientific Advisor

Is the University of South Australia Professor of Bioengineering and a Research Leader at the Future Industries Institute.

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Prof Richard Tilley

Scientific Advisor
Scientific Advisor

Professor Richard Tilley has a PhD from Cambridge University and is the Director of Electron Microscope Unit at UNSW.

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A/Prof Brian Hawkett

Scientific Advisor
Scientific Advisor

Brian is the Director of the Key Centre for Polymers and Colloids (KCPC) situated in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Sydney. He is also a member of the University of Sydney NanoInstitute.

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Dr Melanie Nelson

Research & Development Manager
Team Member

Melanie is the R&D Manager at Ferronova and has been with the company since the beginning. Prior to working with Ferronova she completed postdoctoral research with Boutiq and Victoria University of Wellington on a range of nanoparticle technologies including the foundational research for Ferronova on iron oxide nanoparticles. This research involved collaboration with a range of institutions including the University of South Australia and the University of Sydney and led to the creation of Ferronova. Melanie holds a PhD in Chemistry from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and has research experience in the synthesis of phosphine ligands, organometallic molecules and metallic nanoparticles with controlled size, shape, and magnetic properties and the surface modification of these particles to ensure biocompatibility. Experienced in the characterisation of these materials including electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, magnetic measurements, and nuclear magnetic resonance.

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Joe El-Aklouk

Director – Product Management
Team Member

Joe El-Aklouk is a seasoned professional with 18 years of experience in the medtech industry. Currently, Joe serves as the Director of Product Management at Ferronova Pty Ltd, where he oversees the development, clinical program, and launch of the company's medical devices and tracer drug products.

Before joining Ferronova, Joe was the Product Manager for the Ultrasound portfolio at Ellex Medical. He also held a leadership position at LBT Innovations, where he led the development of an AI-based clinical microbiology platform.

At Signostics Ltd, Joe made significant contributions, playing a key role in creating the world’s most accurate AI-based bladder scanner and the smallest diagnostic ultrasound.

Joe has a Master of Philosophy (1st class honours) and a Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering from the University of Auckland, NZ. He is credited as the main inventor in 7 international patents. His unique combination of skills and extensive experience positions him as a leader in the development of medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

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Leticia Cubero Dominguez

QA & Regulatory Manager
Team Member

With over 13 years of experience in quality management, regulatory compliance, and process improvement, she has built a strong foundation in the field, working across Europe and Australia.

Leticia holds a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from Spain's Vigo University and Italy's Parma University. Additionally, she possesses a triple Master's degree in Quality Management Systems, Environmental Systems, and Occupational Health and Safety from Barcelona University, complemented by a Diploma in Project Management from the Australian Pacific College.

Her expertise lies in developing and implementing quality assurance strategies and regulatory frameworks, aligning them with medical device and drug standards, regulations, and stakeholder expectations across the diverse regulations of the US, EU, Australian, and other global markets. Additionally, she has experience in analytical laboratory work and leadership in research and development projects.

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Belinda Button

Finance Manager
Team Member

BCom (Accounting) University of South Australia, CAANZ

As Finance Manager, Belinda oversees the finance function at Ferronova, including financial accounting, management accounting, tax, and company secretarial functions.

Previously she worked in public practice with Nexia Edwards Marshall in Adelaide for over a decade working closely with clients to help them meet their taxation and financial reporting obligations. She advised on a range of tax and accounting matters to clients in a wide range of industries including legal, agriculture, health, commercial real estate and retail to name a few, in addition to not-for-profit entities.

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Selina Chang

R&D Chemical Engineer
Team Member

Selina Chang is an R&D Chemical Engineer at Ferronova, graduating in 2020 with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Adelaide. During her undergraduate studies, she focused on plasma modification for antibacterial biomedical implants and presented her research at Ingenuity 2018. Additionally, Selina actively engaged in social impact projects, working on innovative solutions in Timor-Leste. She participated in an international internship with the fuel assessment team focused on developing a prototype cookstove with reduced smoke emissions.

Selina initially joined Ferronova as a student as part of her university placement in 2019 and transitioned to a full-time role after graduating. At Ferronova, Selina focuses on R&D and manufacturing, specifically in the development of nanoparticles for clinical trials. She oversees HSE administration, ensures quality assurance and control, and conducts research to improve synthesis and analytical methods.

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Ahmed Bilasy

Quality Associate
Team Member

Ahmed has more than 15 years of experience in pharmaceutical and medical devices industries.

He has a bachelor’s degree of Pharmaceutical Sciences with 12 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry as a quality control analyst, stability and validation specialist, head of the stability section and senior quality control chemist. Then he started in medical devices as a laboratory technician.

At Ferronova, he is a quality associate responsible for manufacturing, quality control and supplier quality assurance.

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Dr Valentina Milanova

Research Associate
Team Member

Dr Valentina Milanova received her PhD in Biomaterial Engineering and Nanomedicine from the Future Industries institutes (FII), University of South Australia (UniSA) in 2020. In 2015 she was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Awards (APA) to pursue her PhD. Her project was also supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science (CBNS).

During her PhD, Dr Milanova conducted an ambitious program of research aimed at harnessing the unique properties of nanomaterials towards the development of radiolabelled agents (probes) for cancer nuclear imaging and therapy. Her research delivered several methodological advances and a solid foundation for the design of clinically translatable imaging and therapeutic nanoprobes.

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Dr Vien Huynh

Senior Research Fellow
Team Member

Dr Vien Huynh is a Senior Research Fellow at Key Centre for Polymers and Colloids (KCPC), School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney. He currently works on a Syngenta Crop Protection funded project focussing on polymer coating of active ingredients (agrochemicals). He also works on or involves in other industry-funded projects with various roles ranging from writing proposals, carrying out proof-of-concepts, optimising processes toward transferring technology and scaling up. His research addresses solutions for hard-to-solved problems in agrochemicals, drug delivery, energy, and recycling materials.

Dr Huynh studied chemical and food engineering at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Vietnam. He received his Master of Science at The University of Queensland. He was then awarded a highly competitive Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship to undertake his PhD in polymer chemistry at Centre of Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Engineering, University of New South Wales. Since 2012, he has joined the Hawkett group at KCPC as a Research Fellow to undertake the Syngenta funded project.

BEng, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Vietnam, 2002

MSc, The University of Queensland, Australia, 2007

PhD, The University of New South Wales, Australia, 2012

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Sydney, Australia, 2012

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Dr Nicole Dmochowska

Research Associate
Team Member

Dr Nicole Dmochowska was awarded her PhD in Medicine from the University of Adelaide in 2020. In 2016, she received a prestigious William T Southcott Nuclear Medicine Scholarship and an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship to support her PhD.

Dr Dmochowska's PhD research focused on developing radiolabelled probes for imaging intestinal inflammation and fibrosis in the context of inflammatory bowel disease. This work contributed to the advancement of our understanding of targeted non-invasive positron emission tomography of the gastrointestinal tract.

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Dr John Parker

Chair Of The Board
Board Member

From 2013 to 2021, John was the founder, CEO, and a director of closed-loop feedback spinal stimulation company Saluda Medical, and remains as the Chief Scientific Officer. Prior to Saluda, John founded the Implant Systems team at NICTA, where the core Saluda technology was developed.

Dr. Parker has nearly 30 years of experience in active implantable medical devices, including 13 years at Cochlear Limited, where he served in the role of Chief Technology Officer / executive member of the board of directors.

John has a PhD in physical chemistry from ANU and has worked in both Australian and international universities, authored numerous scientific publications and patents, is an ATSE fellow, Harvard business School (PMD) graduate, Docent at the Royal Institute of technology in Stockholm Sweden, ATSE Clunies Ross Medallist (2010), Adjunct Professor UNSW School of Biomedical Engineering, and expert advisor to the NSW Medical Device Fund.

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Tamara Mills

Independent Director
Board Member

Tamara is Managing Director of ImpactXHealth, an organisation supporting the growth and facilitating strategic investments companies involved in the development of breakthrough medical and healthcare technologies.

Tamara has extensive experience in global regulatory affairs, health economics, product development, market access and commercialization of innovative medical technologies in the diagnostic imaging sector, across the United States, Japan, Brazil, Europe and Australia. Tamara built and led the Cardiovascular Diagnostics Business for Jubilant Life Sciences, where she successfully led complex drug-device diagnostic imaging products through regulatory approval and commercialization.

Tamara most recently held the position of Chair of the Health Policy, Regulatory and Reimbursement committee for the North American Radiopharmaceutical Industry organization CORAR in addition to holding a key leadership role for the Medical Imaging Technology Alliance. Tamara has an MBA, Masters in Health Economics, a Degree in Applied Nuclear Physics and a qualification in New Ventures Leadership from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Declan Cassells

Shareholder Director
Board Member

Mr. Cassells is the Managing Director of Renew Health (Ire) and a director of Renew Pharmaceuticals (Ire), Diagnostic Green (Ire and Ger), Hans Premium Water (Ire) Limited, Ultralinq Healthcare Solutions (US and UK), Intelesens (N. Ire), True Social Limited (Ire and UK), Lifesignals (Ire), Smart Energy Water Private Limited (Ire), and Perfusion Tech APS (Den).  Prior to Renew he held senior management positions at Medtronic, Conor Medsystems, Kinetic Concepts and American Medical Systems. Declan holds an honours degree in Engineering and has extensive experience in manufacturing, operations, commercialisation and leading effective teams.

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Stephanie Morris

Shareholder Director
Board Member

Stephanie is an Investment Manager at Artesian and the South Australian Venture Capital Fund. She has extensive experience in commercialisation of deep tech, especially in the health and medical sector. Prior to joining Artesian Stephanie worked as Director of Innovation & Translation at MTPConnect, and spent 5 years at Imperial College London as Director of Industry Partnerships & Commercialisation, Medicine and later as expert independent consultant. She brings expertise from across the full commercialisation continuum including academia, R&D, clinical development and technology translation, licensing, spinout formation, investment, as well as working in market in both acute and chronic healthcare settings in the community.

Stephanie holds a MBA from the University of South Australia, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP) and has graduate qualifications in both Business and Biomedical Science. She also previously served as Deputy Chair for Cure4CF Foundation.

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A/Prof Craig Lynch

Clinical Advisor
Clinical Advisor

Craig is an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He has extensive experience managing Colorectal Cancer, in particular using a minimally invasive approach with both laparoscopic and robotic surgery. He has also published over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

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A/Prof Sarah Thompson

Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon
Clinical Advisor

An academic upper gastrointestinal surgeon at Adelaide Gastrointestinal Specialists and Flinders University. She specialises in upper gastrointestinal cancer surgery, and has completed a PhD on isolated tumour cells in esophageal cancer.

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Dr Andrew Foreman

Clinical Advisor
Clinical Advisor

Dr Andrew Foreman is an Otolaryngologist Head and Neck Surgeon at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and in private practice. He has a PhD in the role of biofilms in chronic rhinosinusitis, for which he was awarded the University Doctoral Research medal in 2011.

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Dr Giri Krishnan

Clinical Advisor
Clinical Advisor

An Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgical trainee. He was a Fullbright scholar at Stanford University and has recently completed his PhD at The University of Adelaide.

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Dr Nynke van den Berg

Scientific Advisor
Scientific Advisor

Was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Rosenthal Lab in Dept. Otoloaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Stanford University. Currently a Clinical Project Manager at Intuitive.

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Allison Rosen

Patient Advocate
Patient Advocate

After years of struggling with Crohn’s disease, Allison was diagnosed with Stage IIc colorectal cancer at the age of 32. Following an often difficult course, including multiple surgical procedures, radiation, and chemotherapy, she is now cancer-free for 10 years. Currently Director of Project Echo at the American Cancer Society, Allison has experience on both sides of the fence and works to bridge the gap between the healthcare system and the communities it serves.

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Geoff Parnell

Patient Advocate
Patient Advocate

Geoff Parnell found he had esophageal cancer through a routine check-up and underwent an esophageal resection at short notice. He has been cancer-free for 6 years. Geoff is an advocate for esophageal cancer patients and is an active supporter amongst the community including in relation to community awareness and early detection.

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