About Us

MST is a unique Australian biotechnology company, established in 1994 to harness Australian microorganisms as a biodiscovery resource.

We have constructed a microbial culture library of over 500,000 microorganisms with broad taxonomic diversity isolated from a diverse range of environments. The library contains many rare genera.

MST has a proven track record of delivering discovery projects to commercial partners and academic collaborators. Throughout its history, MST has consistently published its research in international journals.

In parallel, MST produces and sells known, rare microbial metabolites for in vitro laboratory research through its subsidiary, BioAustralis.


Management team


Dr Ernest Lacey

Founder, Managing Director and Board Member


Dr Ernest Lacey is a pharmaceutical chemist with research interests in the chemotherapy of parasitic diseases and an immense fascination for microbes. As a Principal Research Scientist with the CSIRO Division of Animal Health, Dr Lacey explored the modes of action of anthelmintics and mechanisms of drug resistance, building an international reputation in this area. In 1994 Dr Lacey left CSIRO to become the founding director of MST, combining his interests in chemotherapy and microbes. Under his leadership MST has focused on developing innovative approaches to tailor microbial chemical diversity to the needs of the world of high throughput screening, positioning itself to fuel discovery pipelines for future generations.

Dr. Lacey is an inventor of 15 patents, author of over 160 refereed publications and reviews, and author of hundreds of industry reports.


Phillipa Smith

Director and Board Member


Phillipa Smith has over 40 years’ experience in pharmaceutical product development, regulatory affairs, clinical research, quality, and mergers and acquisitions. Ms Smith has a continuing interest in plants as sources of human and animal health medicines and amassed an extensive library of 25,000 Australian plants, macro-fungi, lichens, mosses and bryophytes and most recently acquired a global plant collection of 22,000 assembled by the US Pharma Merck. Ms Smith is a Director and Board member of MST and manages MST’s rare fine chemical business, BioAustralis.