Marijuana producer CannTrust Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CTST)(TSX: TRST) has added the new position of Chief Medical Officer to its C-suite, on Thursday naming Dr. Len Walt as the inaugural holder of the position. In his new role, Dr. Walt is being tasked to lead the Ontario-based company’s Global Medical Division.
Founded by pharmacists, CannTrust currently produces both medical and recreational cannabis.
Before joining CannTrust, Dr. Walt held senior leadership positions at biotech and pharma companies in North America and internationally. Amongst other things, he was Medical Director at Biogen Canada, a unit of neuroscience giant Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB). Most recently, he served as VP and Head of Medical Affairs at Sobi, a rare disease specialist headquartered in Sweden.
Dr. Walt has strong relationships with clinical investigators and deep knowledge of the clinical pathway, which should prove invaluable to CannTrust expanding its global medical businesses and building its research footprint in the cannabis industry.
Cannabis, in particular its constituent called cannabidiol (CBD), has been widely trumpeted for its therapeutic potential. While proponents have historically barked that any evidence of medical benefits are anecdotal at best, those naysayers were dealt a blow last summer with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approving Epidiolex, a drug of GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH) indicated for treating two rare forms of childhood epilepsy in children under age 2.
Marijuana, in either medicinal or recreational forms, is now legal across Canada, in 32 U.S. states and many countries throughout the world, creating not only a burgeoning market, but opening gateways for clinical studies to dial-in on pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and safety profile of the plant and its cannabinoids.
“What inspired me to take on this role is a strong belief in the significant clinical benefits cannabis can offer patients suffering from serious conditions,” said Dr. Walt in a statement today. He added that he intends to build a world-class team at CannTrust to conduct scientific research to better understand the opportunity with cannabis to address unmet medical needs.
NYSE-listed shares of closed down 2.1% on Thursday at $6.08. In Toronto, shares of TRST closed off by 2.0% at C$8.17.
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