Our R&D Team

Learn about some of the people behind the research & development of this dynamic Pharmaceuticals company

The R&D Team

Hartley Atkinson (M.Pharm., Ph.D)
Hartley Atkinson (M.Pharm., Ph.D)
Managing Director
View More
Ioana Stanescu (Phil.Lic., M.Sc.)
Ioana Stanescu (Phil.Lic., M.Sc.)
Drug Development Manager
View More
Vladimir Ilievski (M. Pharm.)
Vladimir Ilievski (M. Pharm.)
Regulatory Affairs Manager
View More

Hartley Atkinson (M.Pharm., Ph.D)

Managing Director

Hartley has a Masters of Pharmaceutical Chemistry with Distinction (1983) and Doctorate in Pharmacology from Otago University (1989). He published 17 research papers and 2 book chapters prior to entering industry. Before establishing AFT Pharmaceuticals, Hartley had 8 years in multinational pharmaceutical companies in various positions including Medical Director and Sales and Marketing Director.

 

What did you want to do when you were growing up?

A scientist.

Did you think you would end up working in R&D in pharmaceuticals?

Not really to be honest. I started off doing pharmacy, but soon found out that research was more fun thanks to meeting some research doctors at the hospital and getting involved in some really interesting projects like dosing patients with a computer back in the days when computers had only just become publicly available.

What makes the AFT Pharmaceutical's R&D programme different?

We do a huge amount with few resources while tackling significant studies.

If you could describe the drug development process in one word, what would it be?

Worthwhile.

Close this window

Ioana Stanescu (Phil.Lic., M.Sc.)

Drug Development Manager

Ioana has overall responsibility for the research & development functions of the company. She has more than 20 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry with previous positions, including VP QA & Regulatory Affairs, Head of Vaccine Business Area at FIT Biotech Ltd, and a World Health Organisation adviser performing institutional assessments of National Regulatory Authorities within Central and Eastern Europe. She has coordinated a variety of European FP6 and FP7 funded research grants. In 1999 she was selected as an Expert by the European Health Committee - Council of Europe to participate in the coordinated research study of viral inactivation of labile blood products. She is also a Member of the European QP Association.

 

What did you want to do when you were growing up?

Forensic medicine.Interestingly enough I ended up working in R&D.

Did you think you would end up working in R&D in pharmaceuticals?

Yes. The science behind developing different medicinal products has always fascinated me.

What makes the AFT Pharmaceutical's R&D programme different?

It is very diverse and dynamic.

If you could describe the drug development process in one word, what would it be?

Challenging (but very rewarding).

Close this window

Vladimir Ilievski (M. Pharm.)

Regulatory Affairs Manager

Vladimir was born and raised in Macedonia. He holds a Masters degree in Pharmacy from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he started his career as a pre-clinical researcher before moving to New Zealand. Prior to joining AFT Pharmaceuticlas, Vladimir worked for Douglas Pharmaceuticals in various roles including as QC and QA analyst and regulatory/senior regulatory associate. He joined AFT Pharmaceuticals in 2006 as Regulatory Affairs Manager. Vladimir has responsibility for product registrations in various countries such as New Zealand, Australia, South-East Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong,Philippines) as well as the European Union and USA.

 
Close this window
Irenee J P Stewart (Dip.N BN & HlthSc)
Irenee J P Stewart (Dip.N BN & HlthSc)
Senior Clinical Research Associate
View More
Jennifer Zhang (MD)
Jennifer Zhang (MD)
Senior Clinical Research Associate, Drug Safety Officer
View More
Charles  Beasley (MBE)
Charles Beasley (MBE)
Clinical & Regulatory Affairs Associate
View More

Irenee J P Stewart (Dip.N BN & HlthSc)

Senior Clinical Research Associate

Prior to joining AFT, Irenee worked as a healthcare professional within the public and private sectors, including management. She has a long-standing interest in science, as well as gathering factual information and documentation. She has been with AFT for three years in her current role of Clinical Research Associate. The role is very diverse, and allows her to work collaboratively across the R&D team.

 

What did you want to do when you were growing up?

I wanted to be a Doctor, unfortunately in the 1960's medicine was restricted for woman.

Did you think you would end up working in R&D in pharmaceuticals?

No, actually I didn’t. I've been with AFT's R&D team for the past three years.

What makes the AFT Pharmaceutical's R&D programme different?

One of best parts of the AFT team is that we’re able to relate the ins-and-outs of research, and smallest details, to others.

If you could describe the drug development process in one word, what would it be? 

Gratifying.

Close this window

Jennifer Zhang (MD)

Senior Clinical Research Associate, Drug Safety Officer

Jennifer previously worked at Wyeth Asia Pacific R&D Centre as Senior CRA, over viewing a variety of FDA compliant studies.  She joined AFT Pharmaceuticals Ltd almost nine years ago and holds the position of Senior Clinical Research Associate and Drug Safety Officer, assisting in all the clinical development programs and being the main responsible person for the pharmaco vigilance activities in the company.

 

What did you want to do when you were growing up? 

Being a trained paediatrician in China and a clinical research professional in New Zealand, I can help people in both ways. This is what I always wanted to do – to help people.

Did you think you would end up working in R&D in pharmaceuticals?

Yes!

What makes the AFT Pharmaceutical's R&D programme different?

We are small team, but we have the the right people drawn from different territories. So we bring a global insight into R&D and we can utilise our extensive overseas experience at AFT.  

If you could describe the drug development process in one word, what would it be?

Rewarding. I’m very proud of what I’m doing in bringing new health care products to people who need it!

Close this window

Charles Beasley (MBE)

Clinical & Regulatory Affairs Associate

Charles joined the R&D team at AFT Pharmaceuticals after completing a Masters Degree in Bioscience Enterprise in 2014. His university career covered a variety of different disciplines from structural and microbiology to venture capital to pharmacoeconomics. He also comes from a very musical family and background and has played as a session musician (drummer) for a number of years.    

 

What did you want to do when you were growing up?

Contrastingly, growing up I wanted to become an automotive mechanic and restore of old Volkswagens (Beetles, Kombis etc.)

Did you think you would end up working in R&D in pharmaceuticals?

I have always gravitated to the diversity and lengthy time-horizons that characterise R&D in the pharmaceutical industry and postgraduate study really piqued my interest. I haven’t looked back since!

What makes the AFT Pharmaceutical's R&D programme different?

The R&D at AFT Pharmaceuticals is executed by a small but highly efficient and mobile team. We are involved in a variety different activities concerning a number innovative projects at any one time spanning all aspects of the research and development timeline.

If you could describe the drug development process in one word, what would it be?

Satisfying

Close this window