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GW Pharmaceuticals strengthens research and development team

Appoints Dr Volker Knappertz and Professor Ben Whalley

GW Pharmaceuticals has appointed Dr Volker Knappertz (pictured right) as its chief medical officer (CMO), a role that will see him based at the UK biopharmaceutical company's US headquarters in Carlsbad, California.

Knappertz has previously held several leadership positions including vice president of clinical development for multiple sclerosis, oncology and biosimilar products at Teva, and numerous clinical and medical roles at Bayer and AstraZeneca.

He said: “I am truly excited about the opportunity to continue the work of providing regulatory approved cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical medicines to patient’s with high unmet medical needs and look forward to building on the progress of the Epidiolex programme in treatment resistant forms of epilepsy.”

In addition Ben Whalley - previously a professor of neuropharmacology at the University of Reading, UK - has been appointed to the newly-created position of head of discovery and research at GW.

He said: “Having now worked for the last decade in collaboration with GW to explore the pre-clinical effects of cannabinoids, I am convinced the breadth of the potential of cannabinoid science to provide breakthroughs not only in epilepsy but across a range of disease areas.

“I look forward to contributing to GW’s drug discovery efforts and to advancing the next generation of pipeline candidates.”

Whalley has been GW’s principal academic collaborator in the field of epilepsy pre-clinical research and is the author of key papers related to the pre-clinical studies of cannabidiol and cannabidivarin in the treatment of seizures.

Justin Gover, GW’s chief executive officer, said: “I am delighted to welcome Volker and Ben to GW in these important R&D roles.

“Volker has an impressive record of successful new drug development and obtaining regulatory approvals which together with his deep experience in neurology, makes him ideally suited to lead GW’s clinical and regulatory activities with respect to Epidiolex and our product pipeline.

“In addition, Ben’s prominent position in the field of cannabinoid science, particularly with respect to epilepsy, will also be a major asset to GW in the pursuit of our pipeline discovery programmes.”

18th May 2017

From: Research

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