Board and Advisors

OCT is governed by a main board and also has a network of advisers across science, politics, and business. Key board members and advisers include the following:

Neil Mahapatra, Chairman

Neil Mahapatra is a Managing Partner at Kingsley Capital Partners, the firm that created OCT and led its development. Neil began his career at Morgan Stanley in London and before founding Kingsley worked at J. Rothschild Capital Management, leading several illiquid transactions for Lord Rothschild’s family office and RIT Capital Partners plc. Neil graduated with a BA in Biological Sciences at Oxford and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, Patron

An English actor whose career has included roles on stage, television and film, Sir Patrick is best known for his roles such as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men series of movies. Sir Patrick believes that more research needs to be conducted into cannabis before its benefits can be truly understood and in 2017 agreed to become the patron of OCT, publicly supporting its activities.

Karan Wadhera, Non-Executive Director

Karan is a founder of and the Managing Partner of Casa Verde Capital. An experienced finance professional and investor with significant international experience, Karan has spent over a decade in Asia as a senior executive with Goldman Sachs and Nomura. He is also an active private investor and adviser for a number of young companies. Karan holds a BA in Finance from Babson College.

Hee-Dong Kim, Non-Executive Director

Hee-Dong is a Managing Partner at Kingsley Capital Partners. Hee-Dong was previously at Invision Private Equity, a Swiss private equity firm and also worked as head of M&A at healthcare services company, Ameos AG where, during his tenure, he grew the company’s revenues over €180 million through a series of acquisitions. Hee-Dong began his career at the Boston Consulting Group, holds a degree in Business Mathematics & Statistics from the London School of Economics, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Gavin Sathianathan, Non-Executive Director

Gavin is CEO of Forma Holdings, where he guides the firm’s operations in the cannabis industry. Gavin is also President and co-founder of Ethnopharm, a services platform for the licensed cannabis industry, and Cannabis Europa, the leading European conference for the cannabis industry. 

Gavin started his career at Bain & Company and has been a senior executive in the technology industry at Facebook, Endemol and Tesco. Gavin graduated with a Masters in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

The Baroness Meacher, Advisory Board

Baroness Meacher has had a career across UK public service spanning several decades and was made a Life Peer in 2006. Since 2011, she has chaired the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (“APPG”) for Drug Policy Reform. Baroness Meacher is also President of The Haemophilia Society and since 2016, has been the Chair of Dignity in Dying.

Baroness Meacher sits on the OCT Advisory Board in an unpaid capacity.

Dr Alexander Prestch, Advisory Board

Alex is an expert in drug discovery and development, with a focus on medicinal chemistry and the pre-clinical profiling of natural compounds. In the last twenty years, he has created and managed several successful pharma-development companies and developed bioactive candidates from the discovery to the market launch.

He has been a board member on discovery focused EU projects was also a leading scientist in international cooperation discovery programs (e.g. Pharmasea, EU-Macumba, Ocean Medicines). Alex studied biomedicine, biotechnology and biology with focus on infectious diseases, drug discovery and lead optimization.

Alex has been CEO of the Oxford Antibiotic Group since 2017, is a board member of international biotech-companies (Jellagen, Global Health) and holds teaching positions at several universities.

"I am proud to become the patron of OCT. It's wonderful that OCT has got together the funding that means that Britain will lead the world in what is, in my view, one of the world’s most exciting fields of medical research. The possibilities seem to me to be virtually limitless."

Sir Patrick Stewart