GW Pharmaceuticals R&D Management appointments


Volker Knappertz appointed Chief Medical Officer and Professor Ben Whalley to join as Head of Discovery Research

GW Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercialising therapeutics from its cannabinoid product platform, has appointed Volker Knappertz as Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Knappertz will be based in the Company’s US headquarters in Carlsbad, California.

In addition, GW has appointed Ben Whalley as Head of Discovery Research, based in the UK.

Justin Gover, GW’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Volker has an impressive record of successful new drug development and obtaining regulatory approvals which, together with his deep experience in neurology, makes him ideally suited to lead GW’s clinical and regulatory activities with respect to Epidiolex.

“In addition, Ben’s prominent position in the field of cannabinoid science, particularly with respect to epilepsy, will also be a major asset to GW in the pursuit of our pipeline discovery programmes.”

Volker Knappertz

Knappertz has more than 25 years of clinical trial experience and 17 years of pharmaceutical drug development experience, holding leadership positions with responsibilities for managing international clinical trial and medical affairs programmes.

Most recently, as the Vice President of clinical development for multiple sclerosis, oncology and biosimilar products at Teva Pharmaceuticals, Knappertz oversaw multiple regulatory submissions and approvals in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.

Prior to joining Teva in 2012, Knappertz served in clinical and medical roles in CNS, CV, and biologics at Bayer Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca.

Knappertz is a US Board certified neurologist who received his residency training at Yale University where he served as chief resident and was fellowship trained at Wake Forest University.

He received his clinical scientist training and MD as well as a doctorate degree in research on glioblastoma from the University at Cologne in Germany.

Ben Whalley

Previously, Whalley was Professor of Neuropharmacology at the Reading School of Pharmacy at the University of Reading, UK.

Since 2007, he has been GW’s principal academic collaborator in the field of epilepsy pre-clinical research and is the author of key papers related to the pre-clinical studies of CBD and CBDV in the treatment of seizures.

In this time, he has become a leading authority on the effects of cannabinoids in the central nervous system.

In their own words

“The strength of the Epidiolex data is compelling and it is a privilege to begin my work at GW with the late-stage development and regulatory submissions of Epidiolex,” said Knappertz.

“Having experienced first hand the devastating effects of epilepsy, the opportunity to contribute to making a new treatment allows me to return my focus to the therapeutic area that motivated my career as a neurologist and drug developer.”

“Having now worked for the last decade in collaboration with GW to explore the pre-clinical effects of cannabinoids, I am convinced of the breadth of the potential of cannabinoid science to provide breakthroughs not only in epilepsy but across a range of disease areas,” said Whalley.

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“I look forward to contributing to GW’s drug discovery efforts and to advancing the next generation of pipeline candidates.”