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NZ: Helius appoints Director of R&D

Marten Vos has been appointed Director of Research & Development at Helius Therapeutics.

“Helius is squarely focused on building and driving its R&D capability, with this new senior role reflecting just that. Successfully competing on the world stage means we need to be a leader in the R&D space, delivering high-quality, next-generation medicinal cannabis therapeutics,” says Carmen Doran, Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics.

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, with the 100% Kiwi-owned company to unleash its exporting strategy from 2022.

Mr Vos joins Helius with considerable experience having spent more than 25 years leading and developing R&D and technical teams. He spent 12 years at Douglas Pharmaceuticals, heading both their pharmaceutical and natural health development teams. Most recently he held senior Asia Pacific animal health pharmaceutical development roles.

He has degrees in Analytical and Organic Chemistry from the Netherlands. Importantly for Helius, ahead of unleashing its exporting strategy, Mr Vos brings extensive knowledge of the pharmacopeial and regulatory requirements of key overseas jurisdictions.

“We’ve worked hard to pull together the best team, with deep international and pharmaceutical experience. We’re now establishing a R&D pipeline to create both efficacious and novel therapeutics. Marten’s CV is impressive and so we’re excited he’ll be leading this pipeline,” says Ms Doran.  

The Director of R&D will plan, manage and execute the development of various types of cannabinoid formulations. It will involve hands-on research into product development while coordinating with other departments to bring new formulations and products to market.

Marten Vos’ appointment follows Helius and the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) signing an agreement which enables significant R&D collaboration.

Helius will closely work with AUT academics and doctoral students researching and developing advanced medicinal cannabis products. It will see Mr Vos co-supervising projects with Dr Ali Seyfoddin, Associate Professor in Drug Delivery and Biological Engineering.

Helius also works alongside Callaghan Innovation whose support has helped establish cultivation, plant breeding and medical research programmes.

Having raised $48m in capital since 2018, Helius has invested significantly in its 8,800sqm state-of-the-art indoor cannabis cultivation and manufacturing complex in East Auckland. A larger dedicated R&D laboratory space will be constructed in 2022.

“As the country’s largest licenced medicinal cannabis company, Helius is the best placed to lead our newest industry’s scientific knowledge and capability. We want New Zealand to become a medicinal cannabis research centre of excellence,” says Carmen Doran.

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