Marijuana Business Magazine July 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | July 2019 136 Industry Players | New Hires & Promotions A look at some recent hiring moves in the marijuana industry Former Oracle CIO Joins MJ Freeway Mark D. Iwanowski , a global technology sector veteran, joined the board of directors at MJ Freeway and Akerna Corp., a public company formed for the proposed merger of MJ Freeway with MTech Acquisition Corp. Iwanowski is the founder, CEO and president of Global Visions-SV, a worldwide consulting group focused on venture, M&A and turnarounds. Previously he was a managing director with Trident Capital, focused on investments in IT, software, communications and clean tech, and also served as senior vice president of global IT and chief information officer for Oracle, where he participated in building the company’s software as a service business and helped lead acquisitions. Iwandowski also has held executive positions with Raytheon and was a principal in three successful startups: Applied Remote Technology, an underwater robotics firm sold to Raytheon; Quantum Magnetics, an airport explosive detection systems business sold to InVision Technologies and later bought by GE; and Neohapsis, a cyber security company acquired by Cisco. By Omar Sacirbey A s a pharmaceutical industry veteran who previously led research and development at Merck Canada and was CEO of Bantam Pharmaceutical, an oncology therapeutics company in New York City, Michael Luther had a strong interest in cannabis generally and biosynthetic cannabinoids specifically. Luther read what information he could find about biosynthetic cannabinoid development, familiarized himself with state and federal regulations and increasingly saw headlines about marijuana compa- nies raising tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. So, when a recruiter he knew came knocking with a CEO opportunity at Teewinot Life Sciences—the Tampa, Florida, company develops proprietary biosynthetic technologies to produce cannabinoids—Luther accepted the invitation to meet Teewinot’s board chair, Charles Brink. Impressed with Teewinot’s seriousness—the company had hired Ernst & Young as its auditor— and how advanced their science was, Luther accepted the post. “As I did my diligence, it became clear to me they were on the cusp of moving this to an industrial scale,” Luther told Marijuana Business Magazine. Luther’s work with firms doing bioprocessing and biocatalysis (using enzymes with entities to gener- ate naturally occurring substances) will be directly applicable at Teewinot. In addition to the science, “I also understand the FDA and working in a highly regulated environment,” Luther said of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “I understand startups and how to put a team together, raise money and go to market.” But Luther said he still has much to learn, including how advanced Teewinot’s competitors are in their science, potential partners and what consumers think about biosynthetic cannabinoids. What does Luther hope to do in the next few years? “First and fore- most, it’s operationalizing the company further than it is today—taking us from the research and development phase to commercial manufactur- ing,” Luther said, adding he expects Teewinot will be at commercialization in 12 to 15 months. He also wants to start putting together partnerships and create a drug discovery and development capability. But Teewinot needs capital to pull it off, Luther said, and is currently doing a Series C raise with an eye on a U.S. initial public offering in late 2019 or 2020. Teewinot also hired a new chief operating officer, Steve Orndorff , who previously served as CEO of IM Therapeutics, a Denver firm that develops personalized drugs for autoimmune diseases, and CEO of MicroBiome Therapeutics, a drug- development company in New Orleans. He is a past chair of the Colorado Institute for Drug, Device and Diagnostic Development. The firm also has a new chief financial officer, Jeff Mathiesen , who most recently served as CFO of Gemphire Therapeutics, a Minnesota biopharmaceutical company. Teewinot Gets New CEO, COO and CFO Michael Luther Michael Luther