Our Team


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.


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.

Shane Morris highres

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. Prior to Aurora, Dr. Morris held executive leadership roles at HEXO and the Government of Canada.


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.

Screen Shot 2022 03 09 at 3 45 20 PM

David Purcell

Director of Sales

As Director of Sales, David Purcell is responsible for executing the overarching sales strategy for PharmAla - using 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

Jun 0512086 1

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.

Kevin Roy Headshot

Kevin Roy

Chair of the Audit Committee

Kevin Roy is an accomplished financial executive with experience in senior roles, providing principled leadership, strategic thinking, and financial discipline to growing organizations.

With FirstService Corporation (TSX, NASDAQ: FSV) for more than 20 years, Kevin served primarily as Chief Financial Officer of the FirstService Brands division, working with executive management and platform leaders to drive growing businesses and achieve strong financial results. He started his career with FirstService as Director, Corporate Development. Previously he was a member of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Mergers & Acquisitions advisory team and audit and accounting group. Kevin is currently focused on consulting, project engagements, and board work.

Kevin holds a Commerce degree from the University of Windsor and received his CPA, CA designation in 1997.

Fraser Macdonald headshot

Fraser Macdonald


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.

Perry 2020 2021 04 26 033903

Perry Tsergas


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.

Dr Slassi 180716 407 2

Dr. Malik Slassi


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.

Dr Harriet de Wit

Prof. Harriet De Wit


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).


Scientific Advisory Board

Headshot mayo

Dr. Leah Mayo

Parker Chair in Psychedelics Research at the University of Calgary

Dr. Leah Mayo is the inaugural Parker Research Chair in Psychedelics and an Assistant Professor at the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Calgary. She received her PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Chicago in 2015, and since then, her research has focused on mechanism-based investigations supporting the development of cannabinoid- and psychedelic-based therapeutics for psychiatric disorders. This work has resulted in early career recognitions from the European Behavioral Pharmacology Society, the Society for Social Neuroscience, and the Society for Biological Psychiatry, as well as competitive funding at the national and international levels.

Christopher Harris headshot

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.