The cannabis industry is quickly maturing from home grows and bongs to industrial-scale cultivation and innovative new product formats. At the core of this transformation, science is helping transform medical cannabis into cutting-edge pharmaceuticals and recreational cannabis into compelling alternatives to tobacco and alcohol. Companies that recognize the role of science are best positioned to succeed over the coming years.
FSD Pharma Inc. (CSE: HUGE) may be known for having one of the largest cultivation footprints in the world with nearly 70 acres and four million square feet, but it’s equally focused on advancing the science behind both its cultivation methods and products. After its acquisition of Prismic Biosciences, the company has doubled down on developing cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals targeting various conditions.
Why Scientific Advisory Boards Matter
Science is playing an increasingly important role in the cannabis industry, from mapping genomes to optimizing crop yields to conducting clinical research. These research programs could lead to differentiated products with higher profit margins, improved cultivation yields that can lower costs, and pharmaceutical products that could help address unmet medical conditions and ultimately generate significant long-term shareholder value.
Advisory boards have a key role in advancing these initiatives by helping companies make better strategic decisions and providing expert, non-binding advice on its projects. Unlike a board of directors, advisory boards have an informal structure and a narrow scope with no formal legal responsibilities or fiduciary duties to shareholders. They instead provide targeted expertise to fill knowledge gaps and ensure projects are headed in the right direction.
In addition to providing strategic advice, advisory board members can become a helpful resource when it comes to dealmaking and partnerships. Board members may have relationships with one or more organizations within a similar industry and facilitate conversions with important people or companies. Advisors involved in academic research may also provide insights into potential licensing opportunities.
Three New All-Star Advisors
FSD Pharma recently announced the addition of three eminent cannabis researchers to its Scientific Advisory Board, where they will play a key role in shaping the company’s scientific and clinical development programs. These individuals join Chairman Charles V. Pollack Jr., MA, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, FAHA, FACC, FESC, FCPP, an international leader in emergency medicine and founder of The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp.
“We are honored to welcome Daniele Piomelli , Ph.D., Ryan Vandrey , Ph.D. and David Casarett , MD, MA to our Scientific Advisory Board,” said Dr. Raza Bokhari, FSD Executive Co-Chairman & now permanent Chief Executive Officer. “This trio of world-renowned experts will play a key role in our company’s scientific and clinical development programs. Their guidance will be invaluable in shaping the biopharmaceutical strategic direction of the company.”
Daniel Piomelli , Ph.D.
Dr. Piomelli is the Louise Turner Arnold Chair in Neurosciences and Distinguished Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine, where he is also the Director of the Center for the Study of Cannabis.
He has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals, three full-length books and 34 patents and founded the Department of Drug Discovery and Development at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, Italy.
Ryan Vandrey , Ph.D.
Dr. Vandrey is an experimental psychologist and an Associate Professor at the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses primarily on the impact of route of administration, dose, and chemical composition of cannabis products on resultant drug effects and pharmacokinetics.
In addition, Dr. Vandrey has been involved with a broad range of studies related to the risks and benefits of medicinal cannabis use, the effects of cannabis use on sleep, cannabis withdrawal and the treatment of Cannabis Use Disorder, cannabis product testing, and developing measures of cannabis use behavior.
David Casarett , MD, MA
Dr. Casarett is a professor of Medicine at Duke University and the Chief of Palliative Care for Duke Health where he directs the Duke Center for Palliative Care. He is the author of more than 140 articles in journals including The Journal of the American Medical Association and The New England Journal of Medicine. His writing has appeared in national publications including the New York Times, and Wired.
He is also the author of three non-fiction books, the most recent of which was Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana, published in 2015 by Penguin Random House. He is the principal of Cannabis Outcomes, a full-service research and consulting group focused on bringing methodologic expertise to medical cannabis research and care delivery.
His work in the cannabis space has included founding roles in startups that focus on growing/dispensing (Curio Wellness; CleverLeaves), genetic testing (MelixGx), data tracking ( Evio Labs ), and research (Zelda; Clinicann).
New Biosciences Division Leader
FSD Pharma recently announced the appointment of Edward J. Brennan, Jr., MD, FACS, as President of its Biosciences division. With more than 25 years of experience in leadership roles at major pharmaceutical companies and clinical research organizations, he will be instrumental in helping develop the company’s pharmaceutical focus following its acquisition of Prismic Pharmaceuticals.
“Ed is an accomplished biopharmaceutical executive with a proven track record in FDA submissions and drug development,” said Dr. Raza Bokhari, FSD Executive Co-Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. “We aim to capitalize on his expert guidance as FSD builds on our recently announced acquisition of Prismic Pharmaceuticals and continues to execute on our strategy to identify and acquire cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical R&D companies focused on FDA approved clinical trials.”
Dr. Brennan has extensive experience in all phases of clinical development across multiple therapeutic areas. As a Medical Director with Wyeth-Ayerst Research and GlaxoSmithKline, he led teams through ten IND applications and advanced multiple compounds from pre-candidate selection (proof of concept) through clinical trial management and approval.
FSD Pharma Inc. (CSE: HUGE) continues to invest in the science behind the plant with the addition of three new members to its scientific advisory board. In addition, the company also continues to make future-focused investments in new technologies and initiatives, including its partnership with SciCann Therapeutics and Solarvest BioEnergy Inc. (TSX-V: SVS). These initiatives could help it grow far beyond a typical licensed producer.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.fsdpharma.com.
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