Board of Directors
Avtar Dhillon, MD | Executive Chairman
Dr. Dhillon is a life sciences entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience building public companies through mergers and acquisitions, leading innovation in scientific, engineering and farming enterprises, securing government grants and NGO funding (more than US$75 million to date), and building dominant IP portfolios through partnering. During his tenure as President and CEO at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: INO), Dr. Dhillon led the turnaround of the company through restructuring and acquisitions. Under his leadership, Inovio completed financing totaling over US$250 million and several licensing deals with global pharma leaders, such as Merck, Wyeth (now Pfizer), and Roche. Before joining Inovio, he was Vice President of MDS Capital Corp. (now Lumira Capital Corp.), one of North American’s leading healthcare venture capital organizations. Dr. Dhillon practiced family medicine for over 12 years and currently sits on the board of the Cannabis Association of Canada. He has a BSc (Honours) in Human Physiology and an MD from the University of British Columbia.
Gaetano Morello, ND
Dr. Morello is an accomplished clinician with direct, first-hand experience in the clinical and medical application of cannabinoids. Dr. Morello continues to practice at the Complex Chronic Disease Program at Woman’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. He also serves on the Quality Assurance Committee for the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia and other health and medical panels. He authored Cleanse: The Ultimate Inside Out Approach and The Fiber Miracle, and is a contributing author to A Textbook of Natural Medicine, Alive Magazine, Viva Magazine and other publications. He has made more than 500 medical presentations in the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Italy in the last decade. Dr. Morello has a BSc in Cell Biology/Nutrition from the University of British Columbia and a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University.
Jim Heppell, BSc, LLP
Mr. Heppell was Co-Founder, President and Director of BC Advantage Funds (VCC) Ltd., a venture fund that invests in and builds successful technology, life science, and clean technology companies. Mr. Heppell’s first fund, the Advantage Life Sciences I Fund, won the Canadian Venture Capital Deal of the Year Award in 2006 for having the highest realized return (23.4x its investment in Aspreva Pharmaceuticals). Early in his career, Mr. Heppell practiced corporate securities law with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, one of Canada’s leading law firms. He then became President and CEO of Catalyst Corporate Finance Lawyers, a boutique corporate finance law firm for life science and tech companies. During his career, Mr. Heppell has helped build a number of successful life science companies, including Aspreva Pharamaceuticals (acquired by Galenica Ltd.; SW: GALN), Immgenics (acquired by Amgen; NASDAQ: AMGN), Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO), and Sophiris Bio Inc. (NASDAW: SPHS). He has a BSc in Microbiology and a law degree from the University of British Columbia.
Punit Dhillon, BA
Mr. Dhillon is the Co-Founder and CEO of a leading biopharmaceutical company based in the US that develops advanced-stage immunotherapy to treat solid tumors. Mr. Dhillon was formerly Vice President of Finance and Operations at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: INO), where he raised over US$160 million through multiple financings and several licensing transactions, including early stage deals with Merck and Wyeth. Mr. Dhillon’s management experience spans corporate finance, M&A integration, successful in-licensing of key intellectual property, strategy implementation, corporate transactions and collaborations with leading universities and key global opinion leaders. In 2013, he was recognized as one of the “Top 100” CEOs by PharmaVoice and “Most Admired CEO” by the San Diego Business Journal in 2016. He was also recognized as a finalist for Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year.” Mr. Dhillon holds a BA (Honours) in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.