Lynn Kirkpatrick, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Kirkpatrick has focused her entire career on drug discovery and development. Former Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in Canada, she has co-founded two start up companies and successfully brought three novel cancer drug candidates into human clinical trails. Following the acquisition of her first company, by Biomira Inc., (Oncothyreon) in 2006, Dr. Kirkpatrick took the role as the Chief Scientific Officer of the merged company. She became President and CEO of Ensysce Biosciences Inc. in January 2009. Dr. Kirkpatrick received her PhD from the University of Saskatchewan and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine. She has published extensively in the area of targeted drug discovery and development and holds numerous patents for novel targeted drugs and delivery technology.
Chief Financial Officer
Dave Humphrey has served as our Chief Financial Officer since February 2021. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Humphrey was most recently Chief Financial Officer of Senomyx, a publicly-held biotechnology company focused on taste science. Previously, he held finance and accounting leadership positions and consulted at numerous life sciences companies, including Active Biosciences, Aurora Biosciences and Gensia.
Mr. Humphrey holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California.
Richard Wright, MSE, MBA
Chief Business Officer
Richard Wright has held positions in investment banking, venture capital, and intellectual property advisory. He is a partner at Ren Capital Partners, a Beijing based global healthcare fund. Richard has been a strategic advisor to Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, the largest healthcare conglomerate in southeast Asia, focusing on pharmaceutical development and market entry strategies.
Richard was Managing Director of Newstock Capital an intellectual property investment bank advising investment firms, hedge funds, and multi-national banks on patent financing, investing, and divestitures in the healthcare space. Prior to Newstock, Richard managed a worldwide intellectual property healthcare investment fund for General Electric.
In addition he co-founded an immunology biotech company which was later sold to a private equity concern, and was involved with Guardian Technology Partners, a pharmaceutical and chemical patent advisory firm in Philadelphia that was sold to investment bank Boenning & Scattergood.
Richard has an MSE in biotechnology/technology management from the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and the Wharton School of Business (EMTM), and a MBA from the London School of Economics (TRIUM).
Chief Commercial Officer
Geoff has over 25 years experience in Pharmaceuticals with focus on CNS/ Oncology/ Pain/ Addiction. This includes 18 years with AstraZeneca – SVP of Global Development and Marketing - CNS/ Oncology products.
He has launched 5 major market leading brands including Nicorette/ Prozac/ Seroquel/ Zomig.
Mr. Birkett served as CCO/ President with multiple Biotechs in in Pain/ Addiction space. Recently he consulted with several Pharmaceutical Companies on development strategy and marketing. Geoff studied Business at INSEAD, Paris.
Jeffrey Millard, Ph.D.
Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Millard has both academic and industrial experience in chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences covering all aspects of CMC (chemistry, manufacturing, and controls). He has been involved in both start-up biotech as well as small and mid-sized public biopharmaceutical companies.
Jeff has been directly responsible for R&D activities and writing of more than 7 IND submissions (to both CDER and CBER), and IMPDs. He has directed the CMC efforts from discovery and in-licensing through commercial launch activities.
His experience covers the API lifecycle (from synthetic route scouting, process chemistry, analytical chemistry development and validation, cGMP production and release of API, to QbD and process validation), and drug product development through manufacture.
Dr. Millard received a BA from Rice University and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Arizona.
William Schmidt, Ph.D.
Interim Chief Medical Officer, Senior VP of Clinical Development
Dr. William K. Schmidt, Head, NorthStar Consulting, is the Parliamentarian and a Past-President of the Eastern Pain Association, the largest regional affiliate of the American Pain Society. He has over 25 years of pharmaceutical industry experience with a special emphasis on the discovery and development of novel analgesic and narcotic antagonist drugs.
He was previously VP of Clinical Development for CrystalGenomics (Seoul, South Korea) and its U.S. subsidiary, CG Pharmaceuticals (Emeryville, CA); Senior VP of Development at Limerick BioPharma in South San Francisco, CA; VP, Clinical Research, for Renovis, Inc., in South San Francisco, CA; and VP, Scientific Affairs and Acting VP, Clinical R&D, at Adolor Corporation in Exton, PA. At Adolor, Dr. Schmidt was a key member of the team leading to the clinical development, NDA filing, and FDA approval of Entereg® (alvimopan), a peripherally-acting opioid antagonist.
Currently as head of NorthStar Consulting, Dr. Schmidt serves as an expert on pain medicine pharmaceutical development with pharmaceutical and biotech companies throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. Dr. Schmidt received a BA from the University of California Berkeley and his PhD University of California-San Francisco.
Linda Pestano, PhD
Chief Development Officer
Linda Pestano has 20 years of experience developing vaccines, small molecule drugs and novel biologics for a diverse range of indications including pain, cancer and inflammatory diseases. Dr. Pestano received her PhD from Tuffs University and undertook a Post-Doctoral Fellowship with Dana Farber Cancer Institute, at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. Linda has been instrumental in guiding new therapies through development into clinical trials. Her expertise spans lead development, pre-clinical and translational clinical studies, and interacting with multiple regulatory agencies. She has worked in both large and small pharma companies and has led diverse teams to bring a number of drugs through the development process.
David J. Kovacs
VP Public Policy
Kovacs has extensive experience shaping policy and setting strategy for disruptive companies in pharmaceutical and technology sectors. Kovacs joins Ensysce from his prior role as Head of Public Policy for Humanigen, Inc. (NASDAQ: HGEN), whose monoclonal antibody lenzilumab recently requested Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Kovacs currently serves in various roles for public companies, including Vinco Ventures (NASDAQ: BBIG) and AudioEye, Inc. (NASDAQ: AEYE). Previously, Kovacs held senior roles in private equity and investment banking, including at Blackstone Group, Citigroup, and the Hinduja Group.
VP Strategic Development
Tanzer is an accomplished business executive specializing in helping companies with innovative intellectual property and technology maximize their potential. Tanzer has 25 years of diverse experience in the healthcare and media sectors, including as CEO or President of eight companies, service on nine company boards, and working at private equity firms, including Lee Equity Partners and Elevation Partners. Tanzer previously was President of PDR Network, publisher of the Physicians’ Desk Reference, the authoritative source of drug safety information for prescribers.