Our experience

From the creation of a new animal health company, through finance to the exit, our industry experience and connections make us efficient and valuable partners.

Mark Heffernan, PhD


Mark has had a career spanning nearly 2 decades as co-founder and CEO in private and public companies, including the animal health monoclonal antibody company Nexvet Biopharma plc, which was sold to Zoetis in July 2017. For Nexvet he and his team raised over $80m during 2011-2017, including a Nasdaq IPO.​

His experience spans both human biotechnology start-ups and animal health R&D companies, and he has raised over $150m in private and public capital raisings and built successful global teams to execute drug discovery and development. He has a PhD from Monash University.

Dr George Gunn


George Gunn is founder of Stonehaven Holding AG and founder and CEO of Stonehaven Consulting AG. George retired from Novartis AG in 2015 where he had been a member of the Executive Committee since 2008. He joined Novartis in 2003 as Head of Animal Health, North America and moved on to head Novartis Animal Health from 2004. He went on to be head of the Novartis Consumer Health Division and also managed the Corporate Social Responsibility area for the Novartis Corporation. George is a veterinarian by education and has spent more than 30 years in the Healthcare Industry. George received the Pharmacia Chairman’s Leadership award in 2002 and the Novartis Chairman’s Excellence award for Talent Development in 2007. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Federation of Animal Health in 2015 and from Animal Pharm in 2017 for his services to the Animal Health Industry. In 2008 George received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery from the University of Edinburgh.

Fabian M. Kausche, M.S. Dr.med.vet.


Dr. Kausche is Chairman of the Board of Stonehaven Incubate, AG, an Animal Health Incubator based in Andermatt, Switzerland and PetMedix, Ltd., a start-up company in Cambridge, UK developing monoclonal antibodies for animals. He is a senior advisor to Stonehaven Consulting, AG and also owns and runs FK Consulting, LLC a company located in Atlanta and specializing in supporting animal health companies in product innovation and organizational efficiency strategies.

Dr. Kausche has several decades of senior executive experience in the animal and human health industries in both biological and pharmaceutical research and development.

He held subsequent positions as Global Head of Research & Development for three of the top eight global Animal Health companies: Novartis Animal Health, Merial, and Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. Before leaving Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health in December 2018, he led the post-merger integration of the largest R&D organization in the Animal Health industry. In addition to his extensive Animal Health R&D experience, he gained additional expertise in the human health space as head of R&D for Novartis Consumer Health. Prior to that, he also successfully led a companion animal sales force for Novartis Animal Health.

Matthias Hofer

Founder and Non-Executive Director

Matthias Hofer is a Partner at Stonehaven Consulting AG and founder of Stonehaven Incubate AG with over 13 years of experience in Animal Health. He served on the executive committees of two major Animal Health companies for a total of 7 years. Between 2009 and 2013 he led the global Aqua Health business at Novartis Animal Health (NAH). Later on, he was Global Leader Emerging Business at Elanco and a member of Elanco’s global executive committee. During 2014 and with Elanco’s intention to buy NAH, Matthias served as overall pre-merger integration leader on the Novartis side. In that role, Matthias led a large team and efforts to prepare integration pre-closing overall including carve-out preparations of operations linked to Novartis. Matthias is a business leader with broad international experience and strength in sales, strategy and execution.

Cormac G. Kilty, PhD

Non-Executive Director

Cormac is a Biotech Entrepreneur retired from executive functions; managing a biotech investment portfolio and involved with two Angel Investment groups in Ireland.

​He was voted one of the top 100 influential Ireland-US business leaders by 'Business and Finance' in 2007 and 2008 and was awarded the U.S.-Ireland Biolink award for contribution to Irish Life Sciences in 2007.

Ellie Virtue, PhD

Venture Partner

Ellie is a scientific and commercial professional with experience in start-up human and veterinary biotech companies. These include animal health monoclonal antibody company, Nexvet Biopharma, where she worked from 2011 until 2017. As the business grew from a small start-up to a NASDAQ-listed global company, Ellie’s roles and capabilities evolved across R&D, operations, alliance management and business development. Ellie has experience in consulting and providing business services to early-stage human, veterinary and agtech companies, covering functions such as operations, commercialization, project management and partnership governance. Ellie holds a Master of Applied Finance from Macquarie University and a PhD from the University of Melbourne for which she studied zoonotic viruses at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, Australia’s premier high-containment research facility.

Gwynneth Thomas, PhD, MBA

Venture Partner

Gwynneth has spent her career at the intersection of business and science, with experience in product growth, operations and fundraising. She has worked with 50+ human health startups as they worked through various strategic business decisions. For several of those startups she led fundraising efforts, collectively helping them raise over $20M. She has also functioned in various roles within startup companies, including serving as the Director for Scientific Operations for the human microbiome company Diversigen, which was sold to Orasure in 2019. She has a strong focus on commercialization with experience in the areas of genomics, digital health, medical device and diagnostics. Gwynneth holds a PhD in Molecular Pathology and a Masters of Business Administration from Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC.

Charlie Dawson

Venture Partner

Charlie has over 20 years of experience in strategy, marketing and leadership in the life sciences sector. Prior to joining Stonehaven Incubate, he led the transformational restructure of two major pharmaceutical companies and generated savings of up to US$50 million in capital.

Between 2001 and 2017 Charlie held senior roles at Novartis Animal Health, Novartis Consumer Health and GSK Consumer Health. Later, he founded GRO Strategies and worked as a Senior Advisor at Stonehaven Consulting.