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Advisory Panel

Dr. Gavin George

Dr. Gavin George is the Director of Research and Intellectual Property at Puregene AG based in Switzerland. In this role, he directs the technology platforms associated with biochemical research, intellectual property and international collaborations to optimize these various aspects of the breeding activities into a product driven pipeline.

He co-ordinates the integration of mechanical and digital technologies as well as breeding techniques into the trait development platforms of Puregene AG. These tools aid in the translational research, which facilitate gene-to-trait product development. His special focus targets the biochemistry of cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds important for the pharmacology research of cannabis and is specifically targeted towards the tailoring of varieties containing the profiles of these compounds.

Working with both the science and the business strategy teams, Gavin ensures that the research direction integrates tightly with the patenting pipeline at Puregene AG to ensure the rapid generation of a coherent patent portfolio and he works closely with the international academic collaborators of Puregene AG on both the research and regulatory aspects of their combined projects.

Prof. Jens Kossmann

Professor Jens Kossmann is a Distinguished Professor at Stellenbosch University and has been the Director of the Institute for Plant Biotechnology (Faculty AgriScience) since 2004. He received his Doctorate in Science at the University of Potsdam, Germany, and has held positions at renowned institutions, including the Max Planck Institute for Plant Physiology in Potsdam, Germany, and RISO in Denmark. As a pioneer in the field of carbohydrate metabolism, he identified the most important regulator of starch quality and quantity, and therefore one of the most critical genes in the food system. Prof. Kossmann was early to identify the potential social benefit of a thriving cannabis industry in South Africa, and by leveraging the IPB’s experience in biotechnological crop improvement, he has begun the process of establishing a Centre of Excellence for research into the species. Finally, he aims to join local and international industry partners with a multi-disciplinary academic team, to develop the next generation of hemp varieties ideally suited to the local industry.

Gregory Rodrigues

Gregory holds a Bachelor of Business of Science (Finance) Honors from the University of Cape Town, and is a Chartered Accountant registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. He completed his articles in Cape Town before moving to New York where he worked in advisory for Ernst and Young. He has over 13 years’ experience working in top financial institutions and investment banks in New York, London and Cape Town, primarily focused on debt raising, capital restructuring and cash management. He is currently studying towards his PGDIP in Future Studies at the University of Stellenbosch’s Business School.

Brent Shapiro

Brent graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Business Science degree in Finance and Accounting and receiving a Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting in 2003. He qualified as a chartered accountant in 2006 and completed his Articles with Mazars in early 2007. In August 2007, Brent joined Investec where he worked in both the Equity Structuring and Financial Products divisions. He was involved in corporate structuring using equity derivatives as well as the structuring and hedging of BEE transactions for listed companies. He left Investec in 2012 to start his own consultancy that would allow him to focus more on small businesses and ways in which to add value to start up enterprises. Brent was then approached by a client to become the CFO of Creo Capital Partners, a US based private equity firm and hedge fund, a role he occupied from 2014 to 2017. This led Brent to his current position of CFO and head investment finance lecturer at iXperience which allows him to both focus on finance as well as teach it to students from universities in the United States and abroad.

Adam Snitcher

Adam graduated with a LLB degree from the University of Cape Town in 2005, and was admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa in early 2008 after completing his articles with Bernadt Vukic Potash & Getz Attorneys. Adam continues to practice as a partner in the firm, and has extensive experience in the fields of corporate and commercial law. In addition to practising as an attorney, Adam also spent 7 years as the group legal advisor and company secretary to a listed group of companies with interests in the retail, property and water infrastructure sectors.