Former Roche executive takes helm of New Zealand cannabis firm Rua Bioscience

Rua Bioscience new CEO Rob Mitchell, Former Roche executive takes helm of New Zealand cannabis firm Rua Bioscience

Rob Mitchell takes the helm of Rua Bioscience on Feb. 3.

Longtime Roche executive Rob Mitchell is taking the reins of New Zealand medical cannabis firm Rua Bioscience, replacing co-founder Manu Caddie as CEO.

Mitchell spent most of his career heading global product strategy for Roche, a multinational health-care company.

Caddie, who founded Hikurangi Cannabis Company (renamed Rua Bioscience) in 2016, will continue to lead the company’s regulatory and research divisions.

“We see this appointment as a clear sign that cannabinoid-based therapies are going mainstream, that the pharmaceutical sector now sees it as ‘real’ medicine and that cannabis-derived products have a bright future for patients and prospective investors,” Caddie told Marijuana Business Daily.

“Many in the cannabis industry see the pharma industry as the enemy – and for good reason, based on some of the ways it operates – but it has also created opportunities for millions of people to access affordable, safe treatments that save and improve lives.”

Caddie sees opportunities for collaboration between established pharmaceutical companies and medical cannabis businesses.

Before joining Rua Bioscience, Mitchell was CEO of Auckland-based biotech firm Caldera Health.

Mitchell takes his new position at Rua Bioscience on Feb. 3.

Caddie said Rua’s strategy remains focused on building diverse revenue streams across the medicinal cannabis value chain, focusing on the global export market.

“And we are building capabilities in-house to meet emerging demand for clinically proven, evidence-based products while also working on additional cultivation optimization and biotechnology research,” he said.

“Rob’s pharmaceutical background will be critical in executing on this strategy, enabling us to further develop our IP and revenue streams within medicinal cannabis, such as licensing, exporting, sales and marketing.”

New Zealand’s new medical cannabis scheme takes effect April 1.

New Zealanders go to the polls Sept. 19 to determine the fate of a potential recreational cannabis market.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at