Innovative, multinational and biotechnological advancements in the medical cannabis industry.
Avicanna Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on innovative advancements in the medical cannabis industry. Based out of Toronto, Canada, Avicanna leverages its executive management and scientific teams’ extensive biotechnology experience to develop and execute a multi-level and multi-market strategic approach towards medical cannabis. Avicanna is strategically located at the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centre in the Toronto MaRS Discovery District and has been accepted as a JLABS @ Toronto Resident company.
With a strictly scientific and medical focus, Avicanna has optimized its vertically-integrated value chain and has positioned itself for the future of the medical cannabis industry. Avicanna’s four major divisions include:
Avicanna’s cultivation projects take advantage of the optimal growing conditions of Santa Marta, Colombia where selective breeding and genetic techniques are used to cultivate plants expressing specific cannabinoids of varying proportions for medical purposes.
The proprietary extraction and isolation processes used, result in purified natural and organic cannabinoids that are further characterized to pharmaceutical grade quality.
Avicanna is uniquely positioned to address the current gaps in the medical cannabis industry and is utilizing its collaborative relationships to explore and develop advanced cannabinoid formulations and delivery mechanisms for medical and cosmetic applications By collecting clinical evidence and through a rigorous scientific-based approach, Avicanna has develop rationally designed cannabinoid-based products to address specific medical indications. In collaboration with several leading research and medical institutions such as, the University Health Network (UHN) and Dr. Christine Allen’s Research Group (CARG) at the University of Toronto Department of Pharmacy, Avicanna’s team of expert scientists are studying the chemical and medical properties of cannabinoids and the potential benefits they provide to specific indications. Additionally, Avicanna’s medical team is working with world class medical and academic institutions on the clinical development of its cannabinoid-based products across Canada, Colombia and Jamaica.
Responsible development and delivery of innovative cannabinoid-based solutions through a vertically-integrated, diversified and multinational approach. By collaborating with world renowned medical institutions and utilizing strategic partnerships we strive to lead the evolution of the medical cannabis industry.
Becoming a global leader of delivering advanced cannabinoid-based therapies through a fully vertically-integrated biotechnological formula.
Aras brings with him extensive senior management experience in the biotechnology and financial sectors including his involvement in several successful start-up companies. In addition to his international experience in corporate development, his diverse roles include his previous position as the president of an investment corporation in the cannabis space and former Chief Operating Officer of an oncology company. Aras has a Bachelor of Economics degree from York University in Toronto, and a Master of Business Administration degree from EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
Setu is a lawyer and entrepreneur with experience in complex corporate and legal strategy, contract negotiations, and litigation. He has been involved in the cannabis industry for several years as an advocate for patients’ rights and advising healthcare professionals, licensed cannabis producers, and other corporate and regulatory stakeholders in Canada and abroad. Setu has received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Ottawa and Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from the University of Western Ontario. Prior to co-founding Avicanna, Setu operated his own private practice for several years.
Arash brings with him significant management consulting and operational experience across several sectors including banking, technology and healthcare. Previously a management consultant at Deloitte and the Bank of Montreal, Arash lead complex strategy and business transformation projects that enabled successful business outcomes globally. Additionally, Arash has been involved in several start-up companies over the past few years. Arash holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Enterprise Management from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Business Administration from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business in Grenoble, France.
Dave is a graduate from Queen’s School of Business and in 2008 received his Chartered Accountant designation. Following three years in audit and tax at RSM Richter LLP, he joined the group’s advisory practice where he worked in mergers and acquisitions focussing on valuations. Following his tenure at RSM Richter LLP, Dave worked at Ernst & Young’s and was a member of the advisory practice. Before becoming Avicanna’s Chief Financial Officer, Dave owned and operated his own financial and accounting consultancy practice.
Lucas is an Executive Vice President of Avicanna, and the President of Avicanna LATAM – a wholly owned subsidiary of Avicanna based in Santa Marta, Colombia. Lucas´ executive experience includes his role as a business development consultant for Sanatorio Guemes in Buenos Aires Argentina, one of the key medical institutions in Latin America. Through a separate role at Deloitte, Lucas has also gained experience in both finance and consulting, which has served him well in developing successful start-up companies in Argentina.. Lucas holds a Master’s degree in Finance from EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
Ivana has significant experience within different disciplines of marketing including advertising, strategy, social media management and brand development across several industries. In her former role as Director of Marketing at Ophiuchus Consulting Group, she was responsible for several brand launches in Canada in addition to managing the marketing efforts of several Toronto based start-up companies. Her specialty includes consumer brands with a primary focus on digital marketing and advertising. Ivana has a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing Management from Ryerson University.
Kyle brings with him years of operational experience and has played a key role in the development of several successful start-up companies. In addition to his role in Avicanna’s Canadian operations, Kyle is the founder and President of My Cannabis, a patient acquisition and onboarding subsidiary of Avicanna involved in connecting patients with Health Care Practitioners. He is a patient education expert and an MMAR license holder. Kyle’s focus has been international medical cannabis research and helping Canadian patients access medical cannabis.
John’s experience in the Cannabis industry began in Colorado in 2013, during a critical period for legalized cannabis in the U.S.A. He brings with him unique knowledge gained from his hands-on experience with all stages of research & development, commercialization, and production of a diverse array of cannabinoid products with several successful cannabis companies. John has a Bachelor degree in Agribusiness and Biology and a Master of Science degree in Neurobiology from Illinois State University.
Michael is a lawyer with expertise in corporate commercial law. He has gained his experience through his involvement in complicated and intricate commercial dealings such as various purchase and sale transactions, amalgamations, and corporate reorganizations, bringing that experience along with him as Legal Counsel to Avicanna. Michael achieved his Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Health Sciences from the University of Waterloo and his Bachelor of Law (LL.B) degree from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.
Board of Directors
Dr. Panchal is the Chief Executive Officer of Axcelon Biopolymers, has authored over seventy scientific papers, holds several patents in oncology, diagnostics, biopolymers and microbiology, and is a Professor in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the University of Western Ontario. He currently sits on the board of directors of both an oncology company known as Medicenna Therapeutics (MDNA), and Canadian Oil Recovery and Remediation Inc. (CVR). Dr. Panchal obtained a Master of Science degree in Molecular Biology and a PhD in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario.
Dr. Babaei brings over twenty years of research and executive experience to Avicanna. He led several novel and first-in-class product opportunities to either commercialization or to late-stage development. Dr. Babaei brings a tremendous business foresight having closed over fifteen licensing and strategic alliance transactions, as well as raising over $50 million in equity financing. He is currently President & Chief Executive Officer of AbCelex Technologies and Chairman of two TSX-V listed clinical stage immuno-oncology companies.
Dr. Purohit is the former Chief of Psychiatry at Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital (Burlington, Ontario) and is an Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) at McMaster University. He practices as a consultant psychiatrist in his private practice and with the Ontario Tele-Health Network. Dr. Purohit is a lead consultant in three methadone clinics in the Hamilton Region and the Principal and Chief Consultant at a medical clinic specializing in the use and research of medical cannabis for a range of illnesses.
Scientific Team and Advisory Board
Dr. Justin Grant has over fifteen years experience in leading pharmaceutical research in sustained drug release formulations. He held academic appointments at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Pharmacy and UHN’s Techna Institute for the Advancement of Technology for Health. For over 10 years, he has managed a $50M preclinical cancer research facility (the STTARR Innovation centre) at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Justin is currently the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for Avicanna.
Dr. Christine Allen is a Professor and the GlaxoSmithKline Chair in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. Dr. Allen’s research is focused on the design and development of new materials and technologies for the delivery of drugs and contrast agents in addition to Synthesis of new polymer materials for nanotechnology-based drug delivery. Her research has resulted in over one hundred twenty peer-reviewed publications on both lipid and polymer-based drug delivery approaches.
Dr. Hance Clarke is currently the Director of Pain Services and the Medical Director of the Pain Research Unit at the Toronto General Hospital. He is recognized internationally for his research on novel Transitional Pain Programs, novel Acute Pain Treatment and identifying risk factors associated to opioid use. He is well regarded as one of the top international clinicians researching the efficacy of cannabinoids in pain management. Over the past five years he has authored forty-seven peer reviewed manuscripts.
Dr. Amza Ali trained in neurology in both the United Kingdom and in United States. He has received international recognition for his work in the Caribbean related to advancing the care of patients with epilepsy. The development of a sustainability model in his current doctoral program, at the Henley Business School in the United Kingdom, drives his interest in new pharmacological solutions for epilepsy and other neurological conditions. Dr. Ali holds a Master of Business Administration from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. He is a Fellow of the American Epilepsy Society and the President of the Caribbean Epilepsy Society.
Dr. Mauricio Torres Pradilla is a Dermatologist with a specialization in pediatric dermatology. He has been involved in research on Atopic dermatitis, Psoriasis, Epidermolysis Bullosa and Hemangiomas in Europe and South America. Mauricio has several publications on these topics, individually and in collaboration. He is currently the Head of Dermatology at Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud in Bogota, Colombia and is a Dermatologist at Debra Colombia, dividing his time among three major teaching hospitals and private practice.
Dr. Carlos Enrique Maldonado Muete is a physician, pharmacologist and professor of pharmacology who contributes with his great experience in biotechnology, pharmacovigilance, clinical studies, as a local and international lecturer and knowledge of the medical community and regulatory authorities. Among other roles, he has participated in medical and regulatory issues related to the approval and commercialization of several new medicines. Dr.Muete has achieved results through his role as former Medical Director of international pharmaceutical companies and as external advisor.
Dr. Villanueva has worked as Principal and Secondary Investigator in Merck Sharp and Dhome, Pfizer, Janzen, and Bristol Laboratories authoring over 60 medical publications. He is a Takemi Fellowship at Harvard School of Public Health and worked as the Secretary of Health in the Atlantico department. He is currently the Director of Preventio Ltda. He is a Member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, American Society of Microbiology, American Prudent Use of Antibiotic, the World Alliance Against Antibiotic Resistance and The Colombian Association of Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Satish Asotra holds a PhD in Physiology and a Master of Business Administration from the Ivey Business of School. He has experience in driving development, innovation and process improvement of pharmaceutical and healthcare products. Dr. Asotra has lead teams to obtain regulatory approval of pharmaceutical drug products for the U.S.A., Canada and international markets. Dr. Asotra has also authored over ten patent applications and has published thirty-five scientific papers. He is an expert in directing technology transfer processes supporting commercial manufacturing as well as launching and liaising of marketing activities.
Dr. Hai has twenty-five years of extensive product development experience, including creating formulations, compound synthesis, and analytical method development. Having completed his PhD at Okayama University in Japan, in addition to his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at North Carolina State University, Dr. Hai has experience developing pharmaceutical grade drugs and related delivery systems at GLP (Good Laboratory Practices) and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) level of standards with quality testing using instruments such as GC-FID, HPLC-UV, UV-Vis, FT-IR, and GPC-RI.
Samantha’s experience investigating human physiology and cellular biology has allowed her to develop sophisticated laboratory and project management skills that contribute to Avicanna’s competitive edge in the department of Research and Development. More specifically, Samantha has been published on several different occasions and has also lead various conferences and presentations related to plant gene manipulation and cloning. Samantha received a Master of Science degree in from the University of Guelph.
Business Advisory Board
Sheldon Inwentash, is chairman and chief executive officer of ThreeD Capital Inc., a Toronto-based venture capital firm specializing in investments in junior resources, technology and biotechnology. Sheldon has more than 30 years of investing experience and has been instrumental in raising $15 billion for his portfolio of companies over the last 15 years.
Paul Rosen has become of Canada’s most active and diversified investors in the emerging cannabis industry. He is the founder and Chairman of BreakWater Venture Capital, a private venture capital fund based in Toronto. Paul Rosen was a co-founder of PharmaCan Capital (now d.b.a. The Cronos Group), a publically traded merchant bank focused on Canada’s medical marijuana industry ( MJN.V).
Alan is the founder and CEO of Rivonia Capital Inc., a Canadian finance and capital markets advisory firm. He is also a co-founder of several publicly traded companies across diversified industries. Alan co-founded the capital pool corporation, which took the Cronos Group public onto the TSXV, and is currently a director on its board.
Alex is a licensed pharmacist and a graduate of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto. He has worked for over 30 years in practically all aspects of pharmacy field. He is the owner of Solara Pharmacy with two locations that serve Etobicoke and Thornhill. Both pharmacy sites provide vaccinations and addiction treatment. In addition, he is a managing partner of Enhanced Care Medical Services, a preferred provider of physician clinical services to McKesson Canada.
Lucas is an Executive Vice President of Avicanna, and the President of Avicanna LATAM – a wholly owned subsidiary of Avicanna based in Santa Marta, Colombia. Lucas´ executive experience includes his role as a business development consultant for Sanatorio Guemes in Buenos Aires Argentina, one of the key medical institutions in Latin America. Through a separate role at Deloitte, Lucas has also gained experience in both finance and consulting, which has served him well in developing successful start-up companies in Argentina.. Lucas holds a Master’s Degree in Finance from EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain as well as a Master of Business Administration Degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
Sergio Aurelio Puerta is an international expert on the cultivation of medical cannabis with over twenty years of experience in horticulture and cannabinoid extraction. Sergio has been involved in the design and implementation of several cannabis cultivation projects across the globe including Israel, U.S.A and Colombia.
Enric Pujol offers extensive experience in management consulting and human resources across the financial and technology sectors in Canada and Spain, most notably his roles at Zurich and PWC. Enric has a degree in Labor Sciences and an Executive Master of Business Administration from ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. In addition to his professional corporate career, Enric is also a professional Futsal player with more than fifteen years playing for clubs such as for F.C. Barcelona.
Roland is a Pharmacist with experience dealing with the regulatory affairs processes of INVIMA, DIGEMID, ANMAT, COFEPRIS and ANVISA. Roland is also experienced in applying national and international GMP and GLP legislation for Biologic and Allopathic Medicines, Phyto-therapeuthic and cosmetic products. Having played the role as lead inspector in Latin America, Central America and Asia for more than five years, and working as a LATAM R.A. Manager of an Indian-American company. Roland is well versed in the legislation and route to market requirements of Central America and LATAM countries.
José has extensive experience designing and implementing indoor and greenhouse cannabis cultivation projects internationally. José also has extensive experience with genetic development and owned and operated a seed company in Spain.
Dr. Carillo is a Medical Doctor and has a Master of Epidemiology Degree from Rosario University in Bogota, Colombia. Dr. Carillo has ten years of experience within the fields of Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnologies at Merck Serono, Sanofi Genzyme and Roche where her main focus was on Multiple Sclerosis Disease. She has also experience in implementing clinical trial proposals, launching products across LATAM, developing promotional materials to train sale forces, and interacting with main Key Opinion Leaders of the LATAM Region.
Dr. Mora is an executive within the pharmaceutical industry, with broad and qualified experience in Regulatory Affairs and Marketing across Emerging Markets. Dr. Mora began her career with the Colombian Regulatory Agency, INVIMA, and then continued in Pharmaceutical industry with Merck & Co. She later joined Pfizer Inc. in 1997 where she held different positions of increasing responsibility in Regulatory Affairs, and then subsequently in Marketing for Specialty/Orphan products. Dr. Mora currently acts as a Strategy and Business Development advisor for companies in LATAM interested in developing businesses in the region. Janeth also holds degrees in Management, Marketing and Negotiation.
José has over thirty years of pharmaceutical and health industry experience in Latin America. He has been on the executive management team of Pfizer, Abbott, Aspen and Biotoscana and is an expert in marketing & sales management. He has extensive experience working with diverse cultural environments and in leading multi-functional project teams. He holds degrees in Industrial Engineering and Marketing from University of los Andes in Colombia and a certificate in Program for Leadership Development (PLD24) from Harvard University.