Our Team

Aras Azadian

CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder
Utilizing his extensive senior management experience in both financial and bio-technology sectors, Aras co-founded Avicanna with the vision of establishing a bio-pharmaceutical company with a strict focus on medical and pharmaceutical applications of cannabinoids. His expertise in corporate development coupled with his executive experience in the oncology industry have been integral to Avicanna’s thought leadership pertaining to R&D and clinical development. Since 2016 Aras has successfully led a team of executives, scientists and medical professionals across several countries with the vision of vertical integration and a strong company focus on quality controls, scientific vigour and competitive advantages. Aras holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from York University and an International Masters in Management degree from EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain.

Setu Purohit

President & Chief Legal Officer, Director, Co-Founder
Experienced in complex corporate and legal strategy, as well as contract negotiations, Setu’s unique expertise as a lawyer and an entrepreneur have been central to Avicanna’s structure and key global partnerships. As the executive lead for Avicanna’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) process, Setu encompasses the qualities of an adaptive strategic leader equipped with market awareness, business acumen and an in-depth understanding of Avicanna’s long term objectives. With a high regard for best practices, our co-founder Setu, spearheads the company’s regulatory navigation with a vision specific to the pursuit of partnerships and commercialization opportunities. Essential to this role are his innate ability to strategically connect different regulatory frameworks that maximize our objectives along with his with knowledge of patient-focused advocacy, advising healthcare professionals, licensed cannabis producers and other corporate and regulatory stakeholders. Setu holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Ottawa and Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Dave Sohi

Chief Financial Officer
Having established a reputation for aligning financial and business metrics to support market strategy and growth, Dave has been responsible for all financial operations at Avicanna since inception. A pragmatic financial leader, Dave has wide-ranging experience in financial management, business leadership, corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and valuation services. His extensive experience with RSM Richter’s and Ernst and Young’s Transaction Advisory Practices has equipped him with the acumen and vision to deliver exceptional strategic direction, streamlined financial and procedural policies and create monitoring and accountability systems. Dave spearheads the responsibility for the complete and accurate preparation of all Avicanna teams and subsidiaries for Initial Public Offering (IPO). Dave has obtained his Chartered Accountant and Chartered Business Valuator designations and has earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University.

Arash Moghani

Chief Technical Officer
In his capacity as the Chief Technical Officer, Arash has played a central role to the proliferation of Avicanna’s technology and its myriad application to proactively interact with industry’s evolution. A technology leader with more than a decade of experience in consulting, strategy navigation and business transformation across several sectors including FinTech and Health, Arash has been delivering industry-leading insight and solutions for Avicanna’s global operations since 2016. Arash’s previous experiences at Deloitte and Bank of Montreal, Capital Markets FX Technology have translated into championing a systemic, innovative and cross-functional approach – enhancing the technological capabilities of our company’s core-system. Arash holds an Honours degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Grenoble Graduate School Business in France.

Lucas Nosiglia

Chief Agricultural Officer
A seasoned entrepreneur and executive with experience across Europe, North America and South America, Lucas has been at the forefront of Avicanna’s Latin America (LATAM) operations since the company’s inception in 2016. His innovative and transformative approach in navigating the cannabis industry and his former involvement in management consulting, finance and health care have been invaluable in establishing and operating the company’s Colombian subsidiaries including two fully operational cultivation projects that act as Avicanna’s supply chain. Lucas’ wealth of experience from working at Deloitte along with his exceptional management capabilities and leadership values are at the core of his success in leading Avicanna’s largest teams. Lucas graduated with an Honours degree from Faculty of Economics of University of Buenos Aires and holds a Masters degree in Finance from EADA in Barcelona Spain.

Ivana Maric

Executive Vice President, Marketing
Leading the company’s marketing operations since inception, Ivana has championed the development, launch and management of all Avicanna’s subsidiaries, brands and product lines globally. Her exceptional ability to conceptualize and evolve new concepts into fruition while identifying and capitalizing market opportunities has been the innovative force behind our company’s marketing and branding strategies. A trailblazer with significant experience in traditional and digital media platforms, advertising, brand development and awareness across several sectors, Ivana utilizes both her previous experience and her thorough comprehension of the evolving landscape of the cannabis industry, its trends and challenges. Her former experience as the Director of Marketing for Ophiuchus Consulting Group and leading numerous marketing efforts and brand launches for start-up companies has been central to Avicanna’s exponential and continued growth. Ivana has a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing Management from Ryerson University.

Dr. Amza Ali

Chief Medical Officer
A 2019 global Ambassador for Epilepsy and current President of the Epilepsy Society of the Caribbean – the only multi-nation Chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy – Dr. Amza Ali is a well-known neurologist and epileptologist who is leading all of Avicanna’s clinical development projects. Committed to improving the quality of care and welfare of patients with neurological disorders, especially epilepsy, Dr. Ali obtained his initial medical training from the University of West Indies (UWI). He is a Specialist certified in Neurology by the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK - having trained at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, with subsequent training in epilepsy and certification in clinical neurophysiology at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia. Amongst many distinctions, he holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in Business at the prestigious Henley Business School in the UK. Dr. Ali has devoted his entire academic career to the convergence of theory and practice of both medicine and business, the de-stigmatization of diseases such as epilepsy and the development of technological innovations that will facilitate sustainable interventions in the care of people with epilepsy. Dr. Ali has received prestigious international and global awards for his work in the field of epilepsy and neurology and has authored many publications in basic science and clinical medicine, with a principal focus on epilepsy. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology as well as a Fellow of the American Epilepsy Society.

Dr. Justin Grant

Executive Vice President, Scientific Affairs
With over fifteen years of experience in leading pharmaceutical drug development, Dr. Justin Grant offers the expertise required for the growth and development of Avicanna’s scientific divisions. His experience includes nearly twelve years of leadership roles in some of Canada’s top research and medical institutions such as the University Health Network (UHN). He served as Staff Scientist and the Research Program Manager of the world renowned Spatio-Temporal Targeting and Amplification and Radiation Response (STTARR) Innovation Centre with Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Dr. Grant has held academic appointments at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Pharmacy as Assistant Professor and Affiliated Faculty position at the Techna Institute. His academic accomplishments include a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto where he published and patented several sustained drug release formulations. In addition, Dr. Grant completed his Executive Master of Business (MBA) from Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and was the recipient of the Rotman Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence. He is currently an Instructor at Rotman for Corporate Strategy and Healthcare Innovation. Dr. Grant has been part of the Avicanna Scientific Advisory Board since 2016, where he held title of Chair prior to joining the company full time.

José Beltrán

Executive Vice President, Corporate Development
A senior executive with over thirty years of pharmaceutical and health industry experience across Latin America, José is at the forefront of Avicanna’s corporate development efforts in Latin America. With an extensive experience in leadership, corporate development, defining and executing growth strategies as well as marketing, he is highly skilled at planning and implementing high-profile commercialization and marketing efforts. Prior to joining Avicanna, José assumed numerous executive positions at Pfizer including serving as the Regional President of Pfizer Nutrition for Latin America as well as Abbott Laboratories, Aspen Pharmacare and Grupo Biotoscana (GBT). He has extensive experience in stakeholder management, leading multi-functional teams and fostering success in diverse cultural environments and international markets. José is Harvard University certified in Leadership Development and has attained his Industrial Engineering and Marketing degree from the University of Los Andes in Colombia.

Janeth Mora

Executive Vice President, Commercial Development
An executive with over a decade of leadership experience in pharmaceutical corporate development and marketing in emerging economies, Janeth leads Avicanna’s commercialization efforts on a global level. Serving in various leadership positions at Pfizer - including her role as the Regional Marketing Director for Emerging Markets - has equipped her with the necessary expertise to lead our clinical commercialization activities out of Latin America. Janeth’s deep knowledge in establishing, customizing and supporting implementation of global and regional commercialization strategies has been of crucial value to Avicanna’s global commercialization readiness. She is a trained negotiator from Harvard Law School and a Certified Professional Business and Life Coach. Janeth holds various degrees in Pharmacy, Management, Finance, Marketing from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Columbia University, Universidad de los Andes and New York University.

Dr. Frantz Le Devedec

SVP R&D
Frantz has over 15 years of experience in academic and industrial R&D projects, including material sciences and drug delivery formulations. He is author of over a dozen research papers and patents. His background is in biochemistry, with a PhD in applied polymer chemistry, and expertise in analytical and pharmaceutical sciences.

Dr. Carlos Maldonado

SVP Clinical Development
Dr. Carlos Enrique Maldonado Muete is a physician, pharmacologist and professor of pharmacology who contributes his experience in biotechnology, pharmacovigilance, clinical studies and knowledge of the medical community and regulatory authorities, as a local and international lecturer. 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 a former Medical Director of international pharmaceutical companies and as an external advisor.

Roland Alvarez

SVP, Technical Operations
Roland is a Pharmacist with high expertise in regulatory affairs processes in INVIMA, DIGEMID, ANMAT, COFEPRIS and ANVISA, great experience applying the national and international GMP and GLP legislation for biologic and allopathic Medicines, Phytoterapeuthic and cosmetic products, having played the role as lead inspector in Latin America, Central America and Asia for more than 5 years, and working as a Latam RA Manager of a Indian-American company he knows well the legislation and market access details of Center America & Latam countries.

Samantha Watt

VP of Scientific Affairs
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.

Pauric Bannigan

Senior Formulation Scientist
With extensive experience in formulation development, Pauric is currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Dr. Christine Allen’s research team at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto. In his current role, Pauric leads the collaborative cannabinoid research that is conducted between Dr. Allen’s group and Avicanna’s scientific team. The main aim of this research is to design and evaluate novel cannabinoid-based therapies for a variety of indications. Pauric has attained his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Limerick in Ireland and holds a bachelor's degree in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology from the University College Dublin.

Global Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Humberto Reynales

International Scientific Advisory Board
An epidemiology with a PhD degree in science offers more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry including his tenure at Merck & Co and his role as the executive director of Caimed a multinational CRO.

Dr. Mauricio Torres-Pradilla

Fundación Universitaria De Ciencias
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. Hance Clarke

Toronto General Hospital
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. Alejandro Berlin

Princess Margaret Cancer Center
Dr. Berlin trained in Chile, Israel and Canada, and currently works as a staff Clinician-Scientist Radiation Oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. His practice focuses in the characterization of malignancies with MRI and molecular imaging, and original applications of combinatorial approaches using systemic agents, stereotactic and MRI-guided ablative treatments. He is particularly interested in the design of innovative clinical trials, translational oncology, and genomic-based biomarker discovery, conveying his clinical and research expertise towards novel treatments for patients with cancer.

Dr. Daniel N. Sauder

John Hopkins School Of Medicine
Past chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Sauder is the former Chief of Dermatology at University of Toronto and the past Head of Dermatology at University Medical Centre of Princeton. An excellent addition to our extraordinary group of top-class scientists, Dr. Sauder’s research has focused on the molecular mechanism of the cutaneous (skin) immune response with an instrumental role in developing the field of cutaneous cytokine biology by identifying the role of certain immune system molecules, interleukins and cytokines, in inflammatory skin diseases and tumors. He is the past President of the Canadian Dermatology Association, past and founding President of the Canadian Society for Investigative Dermatology and currently practices general dermatology at the Toronto Dermatology Centre. Dr. Sauder has trained at McGill University School of Medicine in Montreal and McMaster University Medical School and completed his Dermatology training at the Cleveland Clinic and the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Max Jones

University of Guelph
Dr. Jones is a tenured associate professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph with a fifteen-year research career that commenced with developing micropropagation techniques for the conservation and production of consistent and high-quality Echinacea. He has worked on an array of species including medicinal plants, food crops, and endangered species in areas ranging from micropropagation, field production, genetic selection, and ethnobotany. Dr. Jones’ brings with him a breadth of knowledge and experience in plant propagation, success with plant cell and tissue culture of difficult species and insights into plant development mechanisms. Bringing scientific rigor to Canada’s cannabis Industry, Dr. Jones has obtained one of the first Health Canada research licences for the cultivation of Cannabis in a university setting - where he actively develops biotechnological tools for conservation, propagation, and genetic improvement of the crop. He has attained his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia and holds his M.Sc. from the University of Guelph.

Aras Azadian

Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Utilizing his extensive senior management experience in both financial and bio-technology sectors, Aras co-founded Avicanna with the vision of establishing a bio-pharmaceutical company with a strict focus on medical and pharmaceutical applications of cannabinoids. His expertise in corporate development coupled with his executive experience in the oncology industry have been integral to Avicanna’s thought leadership pertaining to R&D and clinical development. Since 2016 Aras has successfully led a team of executives, scientists and medical professionals across several countries with the vision of vertical integration and a strong company focus on quality controls, scientific vigour and competitive advantages. Aras holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from York University and an International Masters in Management degree from EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain.

Setu Purohit

President, Director and Chief Legal Officer
Experienced in complex corporate and legal strategy, as well as contract negotiations, Setu’s unique expertise as a lawyer and an entrepreneur have been central to Avicanna’s structure and key global partnerships. As the executive lead for Avicanna’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) process, Setu encompasses the qualities of an adaptive strategic leader equipped with market awareness, business acumen and an in-depth understanding of Avicanna’s long term objectives. With a high regard for best practices, our co-founder Setu, spearheads the company’s regulatory navigation across six continents with a vision specific to the pursuit of partnerships and commercialization opportunities. Essential to this role are his innate ability to strategically connect different regulatory frameworks that maximize our objectives along with his with knowledge of patient-focused advocacy, advising healthcare professionals, licensed cannabis producers and other corporate and regulatory stakeholders. Setu holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Ottawa and Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Chandra Panchal

Lead Director
Dr. Panchal has been the Chief Executive Officer of Axcelon Biopolymers since 2008, has authored over seventy scientific papers, holds several patents in oncology, diagnostics, biopolymers and microbiology, and is an Adjunct Professor in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Panchal 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) as well as Pure Global Cannabis Inc. (PURE). Dr. Panchal holds a Master of Science degree in Molecular Biology and a Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario.

David White

Director
Mr. White is a director and chair of audit committees of several Toronto Stock Exchange ("TSX") and NASDAQ companies. Mr. White has held several senior financial positions with John Labatt Limited, Lawson Marden Group Inc. and Laidlaw Inc. and most recently as Chief Executive Officer of TransCare Inc., a medical transportation company and as President and Chief Executive Officer of Student Transportation of America, a TSX listed company. In addition to sitting on Avicanna’s Board of Directors and chairing the Corporation’s audit committee, Mr. White has also been a corporate director and business consultant for First Call Services, a private holding company and advisory firm, since 2012. Mr. White has been a Canadian Chartered Accountant since 1978 and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Toronto.

Giancarlo Davila

Director
Giancarlo completed his BSc in Business Administration from Northeastern University, following which he returned to Colombia to work for his family’s business El Grupo Daabon, a company dedicated to the sustainable and organic cultivation and production of industrial scale palm oil, avocados and coffee beans. Giancarlo went on to lead a new branch of El Grupo Daabon which is dedicated to producing private label oils for national distribution in supermarkets across Colombia, and was also the director of sales within Latin American countries. Giancarlo was appointed to Avicanna’s board of directors in October 2018 and sits on Avicanna’ s audit committee.

Janet Giesselman

Director
A Corporate Director at: Ag Growth International Inc. Omnova Solutions Inc. Twin Disc, Incorporated and at McCain Foods Limited, where she serves as Chair of the Environmental Health & Safety Committee as well as on the Audit and the Compensation and Management committees. Ms. Giesselman retired as the President and General Manager of Dow Oil & Gas, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, and has over 30 years of U.S. and international agriculture, energy and specialty and commodity chemicals industry experience in U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. Ms. Giesselman holds a B.Sc., Biology from Pennsylvania State University and a Masters in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida.

Dr. Alexis Mavrommatis

A University of Cambridge and Harvard Business School executive graduate, Dr. Mavrommatis has held numerous positions at Carrefour Group and as a Senior Consultant at JDV The Retail Company where he developed innovative store concepts for retailers and manufacturers such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and MasterFoods. He was the Deputy Director for Pedagogical Innovation at EADA Business School and teaches and researches in the area of Marketing, Retailing, Multichannel Strategies and Social Entrepreneurship. Ranked 33rd Business Professor according to The Economist in 2012, Dr. Mavrommatis has been a visiting professor at several universities including the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. He has obtained his Ph.D. and M.Sc. from the University of Stirling.

Alan Friedman

A strategic business advisor known for his practical and solution-based approach, Alan is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rivonia Capital. A Co-Founder of several publicly traded companies across diversified industries, he is the former seed shareholder and Founding Director of Cronos Group Inc. With almost two decades of experience working with the North American public markets, Alan has a depth of knowledge in representing, advising and assisting Canadian and global companies in acquiring assets, accessing capital, advising on mergers and acquisitions. This includes navigating Initial Public Offering (IPO) processes in Canada, US and UK stock exchanges while concurrently raising capital. Alan has obtained a Bachelor of Commerce from University of Toronto and has pursued his post-graduate degree in Law at the University of South Africa where he is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa.

Aline Masuda

Previously a Senior Project Manager for International Survey Research, currently part of Towers Watson, Dr. Masuda has worked with reputable corporate clients such as BP, Novartis, and Underwriter Laboratories. Formerly the Co-Department Head, she is currently the Associate Professor at the Department of Strategy, Leadership and People at EADA Business School in Barcelona. Dr. Masuda has over a decade of experience in managing global research projects including working at the workforce research and marketing intelligence departments at IBM and as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at IESE Business School. She has attained her Ph.D. from University at Albany – State University of New York and holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Southwest Missouri State University. Dr. Masuda has received her training in the Global Colloquium on Participant-Centered Learning from Harvard Business School.