Board Profiles

Mr Thian Chew


Mr Chew has over 25 years’ experience in investing, finance and transforming business operations. He is currently Managing Partner at Polar Ventures, a private investment and consulting firm that provides capital, strategic and operating solutions, focusing on small to mid-sized enterprises in Asia.


Mr Chew was previously an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs (Hong Kong and New York), responsible for the firm’s proprietary investments, including growth capital, private equity and special situations. Other previous roles include Consultant Project Manager to Morgan Stanley and a number of positions at KPMG across the Asia-Pacific region, including Director at KPMG Consulting (Singapore and Sydney).

Mr Chew holds an MBA from the Wharton School (Palmer Scholar); an MA from the Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania; and a Bachelor of Information Systems from Monash University. Mr Chew is an Adjunct Professor at HKUST’s MBA program and previously qualified as a chartered accountant.


Craig Newton

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Craig Newton has over 30 years’ experience in senior business and operational roles in the medical device, pharmaceutical and biotech sectors, among large companies and small start-ups, with activity in Australasia, Asia and Europe.


His experience encompasses leadership, marketing, operations and project management across diverse therapeutic areas, including oncology, haematology, cell therapies, fertility and cardiovascular disease. Craig has worked at VivaZome Therapeutics, CSL, Serono UK, Bio Nova International, AVAX Australia and Cryptome Pharmaceuticals, in roles such as Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer, Sales and Marketing Director and Business Unit Manager. Prior to his appointment as MD, and CEO, Craig was the Chief Operating Officer at Invion from April 2018 to October 2019. Craig has a Science degree and post-graduate qualifications in Management and in Marketing.


Alan Yamashita

Non-Executive Director

Mr Yamashita is a highly experienced corporate consultant and investment professional, with over 40 years’ experience in investment management, investment banking and alternative investment throughout the APAC region.


From 1999 to 2005, Mr Yamashita was President and CEO of Search Investment Group and founding CEO and CIO of Search Alternative Investment Ltd (SAIL), a major private global hedge fund and private equity investment practice headquartered in Asia.

Prior to Search Investments Group, Mr Yamashita was Managing Director and Head of Asia Capital Markets for Merrill Lynch from 1996 to 1998.

Mr Yamashita is currently Managing Partner at Polar Ventures and has held numerous positions as a 16-year veteran of Goldman Sachs and an advisor to various companies, including Plantation Timber Partners, Wuhan; Duty Free Shoppers, Asia; TVSN, Shanghai; and Mizuho Alternative Investments LLC.

Rob Merriel

Non-Executive Director

Mr Merriel brings deep healthcare sector experience and strong commercial expertise to the Board of Invion.


He is a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) with over 35 years of experience working in medical research (Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Baker Institute), large public healthcare services (Melbourne Health and Southern Health) and commercial organisations (Pacific Dunlop and Deloitte Consulting).

He is currently on the Boards of two biotechnology start-up companies, he has been a Director of two Venture Capital Funds and a Director and Company Secretary of several biotechnology focused medical research institute spin-off companies.

Mr Merriel was appointed as the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Commercialisation Officer and Company Secretary of the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in May 2014, positions he continues to hold today. The Hudson is an independent, not-for-profit medical research institute, based in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton in Victoria, Australia. The Institute hosts approximately 450 researchers, postgraduate students and support staff.

Mr Merriel has been the Hudson Institute’s lead in attracting three separate multi-million-dollar investments supporting the translation of discovery science into potential new therapies for patients. These investments were from Roche Pharmaceuticals, a Boston-based venture capital fund and an Australian venture capital fund. Mr Merriel also has detailed knowledge of the Australian government and philanthropic grant funding scheme landscape.

Melanie Leydin

CFO and Company Secretary

Ms Melanie Leydin graduated from Swinburne University in 1997, became a Chartered Accountant in 1999 and since February 2000 has been the principal of chartered accounting firm, Leydin Freyer.

Ms Leydin has over 25 years’ experience in the accounting profession and has extensive experience in relation to public company responsibilities, including ASX and ASIC compliance, control and implementation of corporate governance, statutory financial reporting, reorganisation of Companies and shareholder relations and is a director and company secretary for a number of entities listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Xenia Sango

Head of Regulatory and Clinical Development

Xenia has over 25 years as a healthcare executive and independent consultant.


Xenia has been a senior clinical, regulatory and international commercialisation roles at CSL Limited as Senior Director of Influenza Commercial Operations; Director of International Registrations, and Head of Regulatory Affairs. Xenia holds a Masters of Science (Chemistry).

Louise White

Manufacturing and Quality Advisor

Louise has over 35 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including 13 years experience in a sterile vaccine manufacturing company, CSL and over 22 years within SeerPharma.


Louise has held senior roles in Virology R&D, Bacterial Vaccines Production, Quality Control and Production Planning. She has been a registered auditor for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Manufacturing Authority (APVMA) and is a current Partner at SeerPharma.