Our Team

Leadership

Nicholas Kadysh

Nicholas Kadysh

Founding CEO, President

With over a decade of experience as a Public Affairs and Regulatory expert, Nick Kadysh is the founder and CEO of PharmAla Biotech, a Toronto-based Life Sciences company focused on the manufacturing and development of MDMA and MDXX-class molecules.

Prior to launching PharmAla in 2020, Nick led government relations and regulatory departments for a number of large corporations, including acting as Head of Corporate Affairs for JUUL Labs, as Government Affairs & Public Policy Leader for General Electric Canada, and as Director of Public Affairs for Red Bull Canada.

Nick gained a deep understanding of government as a campaign and legislative staff member in multiple levels of government prior to joining the corporate sector, most recently directing the Outreach department of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition at Queen’s Park in Toronto. He has also worked as a policy advisor at the Parliament of Canada.

Nick is trilingual (English, French & Russian) and is a graduate of Queen’s University. He lives in East Toronto with his wife, Olga, and two daughters, Milena and Sasha. He is active in non-profit and community initiatives in Toronto, including fundraising for Toronto East General Hospital and as a member of the board for Yonge-Dundas Square.

Carmelomarrelli

Carmelo Marrelli

Chief Financial Officer

Drawing upon more than 20 years of financial reporting experience, Carmelo Marrelli, also known as Carm, specializes in management advisory services, accounting and the financial disclosure needs of the Marrelli Group’s extensive public client base.

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Shane Morris

Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Product Officer for Aurora Cannabis, Shane’s proven leadership and expertise in quality assurance, cannabis operations, regulatory affairs and food safety ensured success in launching legal vapes, gummies, mints, chocolates, cookies, softgels, concentrates and drinks leading to Aurora having the greatest share of the Canadian cannabis 2.0 market (Q1 2020 calendar). In 2020, cannabis products whose development was led by Shane had over $40M in retail sales in Canada. During his time at Aurora, Dr. Morris also led a world class regulatory affairs team managing the largest number of cannabis site licences in Canada, in addition to many international regulatory initiatives.

Harpreet

Harpreet Kaur

Vice President of Research

Harpreet has over 12 years experience as a Research and Development leader in fast-paced industrial settings across the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and cannabis sector. Before joining PharmAla, Harpreet was the Director of research and development for one of the world’s largest medical cannabis companies. During this time, she nurtured her exceptional technical skills across clinical development, commercialization and regulatory affairs helping Tilray register and launch products across the EU, UK and globe. Prior to her work with Tilray, she began her career with Sun Pharma.

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David Purcell

Director of Sales

As Director of Sales, David Purcell is responsible for executing the overarching sales strategy for PharmAla and will use his experience and expertise to drive revenue and deliver value to our clients.

David brings over 20 years of business and product development experience to PharmAla in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining the team, David was the Chief Commercial Officer of Shelter Cannabis, where he oversaw the Business Development, Sales, Marketing, and Client Care teams, and directed the successful expansion of select cannabis products to new markets throughout Canada. David also led the expansion of the Cannabis Career Training program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University by developing new programs, facilitating the expansion of lab, extraction and testing facilities, and built partnerships with key Canadian and international institutions and industry partners, which built a scalable network of educators for National and International markets.

David lives on Vancouver Island and enjoys gravel cycling and golfing in the summer and skiing in the winter and likes developing his palate with novel culinary experiences. David is also particularly interested in behavioral economics and firmly believes in promoting sustainable business practices.

Board of Directors

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Jodi Butts

Board Chair

Ms. Butts is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and a seasoned executive with a strong track record in driving positive change and growth within leading organizations. Currently, Ms. Butts serves as an independent member of the Board of Directors of Canada Goose Inc.; an independent member of the Board of Directors of Aphria Inc.; Chair of The Walrus Foundation Board of Directors; and as a member of the Board of Governors and Audit Committee of the University of Windsor. She also holds several Board Advisory roles including with Bayshore Home Healthcare. Previously, Ms. Butts served as Chief Executive Officer of Rise Asset Development and Senior Vice‐President of Operations and Redevelopment at Mount Sinai Hospital. Jodi received a Master’s degree in Canadian History from the University of Toronto, is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, and was called to the Bar in 2000.

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Fraser Macdonald

Director

Fraser Macdonald is a corporate lawyer and public affairs consultant based in Toronto. Fraser has provided advice to blue-chip clients across three continents. Specializing in banking and finance law, Fraser has worked at top-tier international law firms in Toronto, Australia and London, UK. He has a deep understanding of the regulatory landscape for financial institutions and other businesses both within Canada and internationally. He is currently a Vice President at a leading boutique government relations consultancy firm in Toronto.

Fraser holds a B.A. (Hons) in History from Queen’s University and a Juris Doctor (with Honours) from Bond University.

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Perry Tsergas

Director

Perry Tsergas has worked in the world of Canadian politics, advocacy and communications for over two decades. He is the co-founder, President & CEO of spark*advocacy, an Ottawa-based public affairs marketing and communications firm. Perry has partnered with hundreds of start-ups, corporations, associations, unions, charities, NGOs and coalitions on communications initiatives of all shapes and sizes. Over the years he has been involved in supporting dozens of health, pharma/biotech and wellness related clients, and has taken a keen interest in how innovation can improve the health outcomes of Canadians.

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Dr. Malik Slassi

Director

Dr. Slassi was the Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Fluorinov Pharma Inc. acquired by Trillium Therapeutics (NASDQ: TRIL) in January 2016, and Scientific co-Founder of Mindset Pharma Inc. (CSE: MSET). Dr. Slassi has over 30 years of experience in the successful identification and development of drug candidates across multiple therapeutic areas including Neurology, Psychiatry, Oncology, Immunology and Gastro-intestinal. Prior to Mindset, Dr. Slassi was Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery Research at Trillium; Director and Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry - Manufacturing & Drug Development at NPS Pharmaceuticals (NSDAQ: NPSP) and Cascade Therapeutics, respectively, and earlier he held management and scientific positions at Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (TSE: ALX) and Bio-Mega/Boehringer Ingelheim Research Inc.. During his career he has been involved in numerous multinational R&D collaborations including with Hoechst AG (Sanofi-Aventis), AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Forest Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Memory Pharmaceuticals and Shire Pharmaceuticals. For seven years, he served on the steering committee for the multinational collaboration on the metabotropic Glutamate Receptors (mGluRs) program between NPS Pharma and AstraZeneca. He has a strong track record of drug development with over 24 drug candidates advanced into late-stage preclinical and clinical development & Market. Dr. Slassi has extensive experience in the areas of intellectual property management and scientific operations. He is an inventor with over 130 issued and published patents and patent applications, and author of more than 65 scientific and review articles published in international peer reviewed journals. Dr. Slassi holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Claude Bernard, Lyon, France and completed his postdoctoral work in the Chemistry Department at the University of Montreal, Canada.

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Prof. Harriet De Wit

Director

Harriet de Wit, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. She has studied the behavioral and neurobiological effects of psychoactive drugs in human volunteers for the past 40 years. Dr. de Wit received her BA from the University of Calgary, and her PhD in Experimental Psychology at Concordia University in 1981. She has trained numerous graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and undergraduates, and published over 300 papers. She serves on editorial boards of several scientific journals and she is a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration. She has received several awards for her research, including the Distinguished Achievement Award of the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society (2019), the John F. Lemieux Medal Distinguished Alumni Award, Concordia University (2020) and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Research Society on Alcoholism (2020).

 

Strategic Advisory Board

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Fabio Chianelli

Chairman and CEO, Phamather Inc.

Mr. Chianelli has over 15 years of experience with specialty life sciences companies. He was the Founder and President of Revive Therapeutics Ltd. (CSE: RVV) between 2012 and 2019. From January 2000 to January 2012, Mr. Chianelli held senior roles in investor relations, business development, and marketing and sales with Generex Biotechnology Corporation. Mr. Chianelli received his Bachelor of Commerce from Ryerson University.

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Michael Nederhoff

CEO, Shelter Cannabis

Experienced leader with a successful history of working in the food & beverages industry. Skilled in Marketing Management, Food & Beverage, Market Planning, Nielsen, and Consumer Products. Strong sales professional with a BComm focused in Finance/Mkt from University of Saskatchewan.

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Michael Frank

CEO, Revive Therapeutics

Mr. Michael Frank is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Revive. Mr. Frank has a strong background in operations, business development, M&A and the capital markets. Mr. Frank is currently the President of Mifran Consulting, providing advisory services to emerging technology companies in a number of key verticals. In the past, Mr. Frank has served as the CEO and Director of Sprylogics International and the Internet of Things Inc., as well as holding senior management positions at Ernst & Young, Data General, and NCR. Mr. Frank has had successful exits in the technology sector including one to Intuit Corporation, and has been instrumental in advising several early stage software companies including a number in the cannabis sector over the last few years.

Scientific Advisory Board

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Dr. Marc Afilalo

MD Director, Emergency Medicine, Jewish General Hospital Montreal

Dr. Marc Afilalo is Director of the Emergency Multidisciplinary Research Unit (EMRU), which is comprised of a highly dynamic group of researchers conducting health services and clinical research within the emergency department. The group consists of emergency physicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, psychologists, operation management experts, industrial engineers, nurses, and medical and graduate students. It has amassed expertise in a wide variety of research areas, most notably emergency department (ED) crowding, ED operations and management, clinical trials, knowledge translation, and medical errors.

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Dr. Christopher Harris

PhD Toxicologist

Dr. Harris is a Senior Scientist at Juul Labs. He completed his PhD at Queen's University studying the effects of NNK and sulforaphane on DNA repair pathways. Following his PhD he has worked with key thought leaders in the tobacco harm reduction, cannabis and psychedelics fields.

Leonard Howell

Dr. Leonard Howell

PhD Professor Emeritus, Emory University

Dr. Leonard Howell received his Ph.D. with training in experimental psychology, biochemistry and physiology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Following postdoctoral training in psychobiology at Harvard Medical School, he accepted a faculty position at Emory University where he spent his entire professional career and is currently professor emeritus. He most recently served as Associate Director of Scientific Programs, Chief of the Division of Neuropharmacology and Neurologic Diseases and Director of the Imaging Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine. His research program at Emory over 30 years focused on the neuropharmacology of abused stimulants and included basic neurobiological studies of drug mechanism as well as medications development. The program was translational in its focus and bridged preclinical, nonhuman primate models with therapeutic applications in humans. He was recognized for his contributions with an NIH MERIT Award (2007-2016) and a Senior Research Scientist and Mentorship Award (2012-2017) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.