Team​

Board of Directors

Rachel Palumbo
Non Executive Director

John Montgomery
Executive Director

Otto Buttula
Non Executive Chairman

Richard Henfrey
Non Executive Director

Management Team

Joel Hardy
CEO and Co-Founder

Simon Pettinger
COO

Simon Harvey
CFO / Company Secretary

Operations

Daniel Sindell

Head of Cultivation

Jamily Machado
Junior Agronomist

Catherine McNamara
Senior Quality Manager

Medical Advisory Team

Dr Sue James
Regulatory Affairs

Dr Paul Nash
Clinical Advisory and Go to Market

Dr Richard Chye
Medical Advisory

Kerry Turner
Product Quality

Scientific Advisory Team

Dr Matthew Turner

Research, Breeding & Genetics

Ian Paanenan

Plant Licensing (PBR) & Plant Health

Graham Brown

Breeding Advisory

Jeff Allen

Extraction R&D

Phil Steel

Seed Production

Ashley Dowell

Analytical Chemistry

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Rachel Palumbo
Genetic Licensing Program Manager​

Rachel has been working in the agricultural sector within Australia and globally for over 11 years, having held senior leadership roles within Monsanto and Bayer in the areas of general management, strategy, global marketing, product management and licensing. 

Rachel holds a degree in business majoring in business law and marketing, a graduate diploma in public relations, a masters in communication, and an Executive MBA through Melbourne Business School, where she was awarded the Egon Zehnder Leadership Prize.

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John Montgomery
Executive Director

John Montgomery has 40 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry including the US, UK, Australia and major Asian markets including Japan. John was CEO of Alphapharm and Regional Director, Asia Pacific for Merck Generics, and then President, Mylan Asia Pacific for 11 years from 1999 to 2010. 

Alphapharm was and remains, the largest pharmaceutical company in Australia as measured by prescription volume. Since then, John was General Manager of Pfizer Established Products for Australia and NZ and now CEO of Montrose Pharma Pty Ltd. Before Alphapharm, he spent 20 years with Warner Lambert in a variety of roles including Vice President, Portfolio Management North America and Regional President Australia and NZ. He was Chairman of the Generic Medicines Industry Association (GMiA) for 6 years, representing the industry to government.

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Otto Buttula
Chairman

AMr Buttula has had extensive experience and success in investment research, funds management and information technology and has held numerous directorships in a number of public companies. He is currently the current Chairman of biotech companies, Rhythm Biosciences (ASX) and HitIQ (ASX)

Mr Buttula’s executive experience includes co-founder and CEO and Managing Director of IWL Limited, an online financial services company that listed on the ASX in 1999. The company grew from a market capitalisation of $48 million at listing before a takeover in 2007 by Commonwealth Bank of Australia for $373 million. Mr Buttula also founded and was Managing Director of Investors Mutual, prior to which he was a co-founder and director of Lonsdale Securities Limited.

Following his completion of executive duties, Mr Buttula was Non-Executive Chairman of platform and stockbroking provider Investorfirst Limited and led the acquisition of HUB24 Limited (ASX: HUB). More recently, he served on the Board as a non-executive director and Head of Audit & Risk at Imugene Limited (ASX: IMU) between 2014 and 2016.

 

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Richard Henfrey
Board Advisor

Richard has been working with natural medicines and health products for over 10 yrs. He worked in a variety of positions before coming CEO of Blackmores Ltd the largest Australian health supplements company. Today, Blackmores is an ASX 200 company with a market capitalisation of $2 billion.

He was on the board of Complementary Medicines Australia for 7yrs and president for 5yrs. Richard understands the go to market strategies, regulatory encymraonment and distrbution channels for vitamin, mineral & nutritional supplements extremely well. He holds a Masters in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge.

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Joel Hardy
CEO / Co-Founder

Joel is the founder of Cymra. He started his journey into the cannabis sector in San Francisco and was one of the first to import cannabis products under SAS Cat B into Australia. An ambitious entrepreneur, Joel helped Cymra Life Sciences become one of the first companies to be awarded a cannabis licence. Most recently, Joel has held senior leadership positions in $20million revenue businesses for public enterprise SAAS companies and previously worked for some of the world’s largest technology businesses. Joel holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney, and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from UNSW.

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Simon Pettinger
COO & Co-Founder

Simon oversees Cymra Life Sciences facility operations, Tissue Culture services, and breeding programs. He also manages our horticultural research partnerships with Southern Cross University Before co-founding Cymra, Simon was the Managing Director of Australia’s largest plant tissue culture facility for over 10 years. Simon has unrivalled experience in the commercial development of plants from indoor propagation. Simon holds a Bachelor of Business from UON and a Masters of Organisational Development from UTS

Simon Harvey
CFO / Company Secretary

Simon is a Qualified Chartered Accountant with experience in corporate finance, real estate, mining, services and investment management.

Over 6 years’ experience as a CFO with extensive accounting and financial management experience. Capital transactions experience in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, property transactions, development, asset management and associated analytical, budgeting, modelling and reporting roles.

Previously CFO of ASX listed NuEnergy Gas Limited, an oil and gas exploration and production company and Smoke Alarm Solutions, a property services business. He was also an auditor at KPMG for 5 yrs.

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Daniel Sindell
Head of Cultivation

Daniel is the head grower at Cymra with 8 years of experience cultivating medicinal cannabis,  majority of this time was spent in the Emerald Triangle in Humboldt CA. 

Daniel has also worked as a cannabis cultivation consult in Australia so has gained a great understanding of GMP compliance. Being from the Byron Bay Area he also has broad knowledge of the local growing environments.

Daniel is passionate about organic and regenerative agriculture and with his continuous soil biology studies you’ll find him looking though a microscope or outside enjoying the northern rivers

Jamily is an Agronomist Engineer, passionate about agricultural culture, agronomy, and sustainability. She has knowledge in crop production, soil control, and management, plants, seedling cultivation, plant tissue culture, research, and development. Experience working in an agricultural field and plant biotechnology laboratory activities. 

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomist from UFSC Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil.

 

Catherine McNamara
Senior Quality Manager

Senior Quality Manager for Cymra Life Sciences, Catherine is responsible for building the Culture of Quality.  Over 15 years’ experience in Quality Control and Quality Assurance in GMP manufacturing of microbiological medical devices, pre-clinical trials and complementary medicines in Australia. Also experience in Quality Assurance for Drugs of Abuse testing in UK.

Experience in development and implementation of Quality Management Systems to meet ISO 9001, ISO 17025, ISO 13485, GLP and GMP requirements.

 

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Sue James

Regulatory Advisory.

Susan James has been in pharmaceutical and regulatory consulting for 24yrs.

Sue is currently a Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) external evaluator

Significant experience in evaluation of suitability of clinical (“gap analysis”) for submission to Australian and overseas regulatory agencies.

Sue possesses a Dr of Philosophy, Bachelor of Science, Pharmacology; University of Melbourne

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Dr Paul Nash
Director of Clinical Research

Paul is Cymra Pharma’s clinical research director and works to better understand the effects of cannabis for chronic pain sufferers. With a PHD in Neuroscience from the University of Sydney and a post doctorate from Stanford, Paul brings specialist pain management expertise into this newly legalised industry. Experience assisting biopharma companies with questions and diligence including asset valuation, market opportunity assessment, product development and commercialization.

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Dr Richard Chye
Medical Advisory

Richard Chye is Director of Sacred Heart Supportive & Palliative Care, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. He has worked in Palliative Care for more than 28 years, and has integrated community, inpatient, hospital consultative & private palliative care services.

He is Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Notre Dame Australia & the University of Technology, Sydney; and Adjunct Assoc Professor of Medicine at UNSW.
He was integral in the formation of the Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine and was awarded the RACP’s highest award, the John Sands medal as his efforts led to the recognition of Palliative Medicine by the Australian government.

He was awarded the inaugural Lyn Taylor Award for Leadership in Palliative Care by his peers for his efforts to develop Palliative Care professionally & operationally in New South Wales.

He has significant patient experience with chronic and complex pain where cannabis could be used as a adjucnt therapy. Previously, he conducted a a clinical trial program at Sacred Heart including using vaporised cannabis to improve cancer anorexia. He is an inaugural member of the Australian Advisory Council of the Medicinal Use of Cannabis.

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Kerry Turner
Product Quality and Supply Chain

Kerry possesses 30 years experience in the Pharmaceutical (Complimentary, OTC, Rx and Medical Devices) and Veterinary medicines industry including Contract Laboratories. She has industry management experience in Australia, England and the United States. Particular expertise in Warehousing and Distribution (3PL), Quality Assurance (euGMP), Quality Control, Root Cause Analysis, Risk Management, Statistics, Regulatory, Packaging, Systems and commercial QA to meet MACoC requirements. She also enjoys surfing.
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Dr Matthew Turner
Research, Breeding and Genetics

Matthew draws on his molecular and conventional breeding experience to lead Cymra’s research initiatives. With 20+ years experience in plant breeding across a range of food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, Matthew is a hugely successful and recognised breeder. Most notably, he developed new and novel varieties of wheat as part of Value Added Wheat CRC. He has a PHD in Genetics from the University of Sydney.

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Dr Ian Paananan
Plant Licensing (PBR) & Plant Health

Ian is an experienced horticultural scientist. He has experience  in commercial plant tissue culture, integrated pest and disease management, greenhouse and nursery management and Plant Breeders Rights intellectual property protection. 

As a director of an independent consulting business for the last 24 years he has protected nearly 1000 plant varieties from all plant industry groups. Ian has also consulted on plant health issues across a range of horticultural areas. Ian is well positioned to advise on integration of production aspects from breeding to propagation to production and protection.

Ian holds a Degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Sydney and is also well travelled in the world of Permaculture Design and training.

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Graham Brown
Head of Breeding and Genetics

Graham oversees Vir Pharma’s breeding strategy to create and maintain unique genetics and chemotypes for producing pain medicines. Graham’s 20+ years experience in plant product development has allowed him to be recognised as a world class plant breeder. He is the Horticultural Development Manager for the University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute and the current Chairman of Abundant Produce.
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Jeff Allen

Extraction R&D

Jeff’s interest in botanical extracts and extraction started whilst he was an apprentice

chef in his early professional years.  In 1994, he moved into the Tea Tree Oil industry on the North Coast NSW where he worked for Thursday Plantations laboratory to survey the wetlands and bush of the area searching and cataloguing plants that had chemical constituents for the control of insects, fungus etc for the Tea Tree Oil industry’s push for organic growing methods. (IPM)

Jeff has designed over 7 differing sizes of extraction units which where sold to over 15 different countries. This led Jeff into the field of consultancy for extraction machinery, specialising in various commodities in developing countries such as PNG, West Timor, Egypt, Fiji, Croatia & Vanuatu.

Jeff’s passion is extraction technology and working with farmers to develop new crops.

He is now developing extraction process’s &  methodologies for Cymra in close conjunction with Ashley Dowell for the extraction and isolation of relevant active compounds in the Hemp/Cannabis space.

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Phil Steel

Seed Production Strategy

Phil joined Cotton Seed Distributors in 1996, moving into genetically modified cotton Prior to that he spent 11 years with the NSW Department of Agriculture as a regulatory officer,. Phil managed CSD’s newly acquired seed research farm before moving into a strategic product development role, where for the past 12 years he has overseen CSD’s international business, deploying new material into various markets and overseeing IP management and governance over international matters.
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Dr Ashley Dowell

Analytical Chemistry

Ashley is the manager of Southern Cross University, Centre for Phytochemistry. He has 20yrs of experience with extraction and analysis of natural compounds. He currently runs an analytical lab for hemp and other natural compounds at Southern Cross University.