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01 June 2017

News

Smashing the stigma with science

SOURCE: THE MEDICINE MAKER

Cannabis can be a turn off for investors, but Neil Mahapatra and his investment firm are showing the world that there’s nothing to fear – and much to potentially gain – through a collaboration with Oxford University.

Neil Mahapatra was interviewed by Stephanie Sutton

Why cannabis?

Actually, it started with biology and business. Both of my parents were doctors and I read biology at the University of Oxford. After graduation, I started work at Morgan Stanley, then went to the US to study for an MBA at Harvard Business School. After that, I worked directly for Lord Rothschild – managing the Rothschild family’s and RIT Capital Partners’ investments. Most recently, I set up Kingsley Capital Partners with some friends, which is a private equity and venture capital firm headquartered in London.

Shortly after we set up Kingsley, my mother – who had never touched a cigarette in her life – was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer, and 18 months later she sadly passed away. At the time, I was seeking anything – a novel piece of research or any left-of-field treatment – that could potentially help. It was in this context that I came across cannabinoid medicines and research suggesting they might be able to treat cancer. I read a number of personal stories of people who had seen their cancer growth slow or disappear after taking cannabis, but they were just anecdotes – right now, nobody truly understands the mechanism by which cannabis may act on tumor cells or other indications. But this is largely because not enough research has been done. In the US, President Nixon placed cannabis in the “Schedule I” category in 1972 – limiting the amount of research that could be done. At the time, scientists were mining many natural products for potential pharmaceuticals, but cannabis was left out.

Read the full article


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