Candace Kinser has been appointed chair of the board at Helius Therapeutics.
The chief executive and non-executive board director brings experience in high-growth start-ups, technology transformation, healthcare, biotech, and agribusiness commercialization.
Ms. Kinser says she was attracted to Helius’ founding motivation to develop novel prescription medicines for patients who have limited options for treatment.
“Helius has a bold vision to become a world leader in the research, development, and production of next-generation cannabinoid medicines. This Kiwi company, however, is not about cannabis. It’s all about advancing health outcomes, as well as leading an enormous economic opportunity for New Zealand,” says Candace Kinser.
In July, Helius became New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis business to be awarded a GMP Licence to Manufacture Medicines. The Medicinal Cannabis Agency has since announced that two new local medicinal cannabis products have met the minimum quality standard.
“Candace’s arrival comes at an exciting time for Helius. As well as significant governance, commercialization, and capital raising experience, Candace is passionate about improving quality of life for patients who are suffering and looking for more effective alternatives,” says Carmen Doran, Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics.
Ms. Kinser’s current board roles include chair of Cancer Society Auckland/Northland, an appointed director for Livestock Improvement Corporation, and a director at NZ Health Partnerships.
As former chief executive of Biomatters, she achieved growth for the New Zealand genetics software company which saw it become a global leader and internationally acquired. As the chief executive of NZTech, she orchestrated a significant pivot and broadening of the national organization’s membership, creating the hugely successful NZTechWeek and NZTechWomen.
“Candace brings first-hand global market growth strategy expertise. She has extensive biotech networks in Australia, the United States, and Europe. These contacts, along with her customer and stakeholder engagement knowledge, will be key as Helius reaches out to New Zealand patients and unleashes its export strategy from 2022,” says Ms. Doran.
Having raised $48m in capital since 2018, Helius has invested significantly in its 8,800 m2 indoor cannabis cultivation and manufacturing complex in East Auckland. As the country’s licensed largest producer, Helius is focused on the future, establishing an R&D pipeline to collaborate and create medicinal cannabis therapeutics.
Born in Austin, Texas, Ms. Kinser has degrees in Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Hawaii, a Master’s in Management from Massey University, and graduate studies in BioPharma Enterprise from Rutgers University, New Jersey. She replaces Helius cornerstone investor, Guy Haddleton, who remains on the board.
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