Ensysce Biosciences

Scientific Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board


Robert Kaiko, PhD

Dr. Robert F. Kaiko spent over 28 years at Purdue Pharma, formerly The Purdue Frederick Company, serving as associate medical director, vice president of clinical research and vice president, R&D portfolio development. He was instrumental in the clinical development of controlled-release oral morphine (MS Contin), controlled-release oral oxycodone (OxyContin) and its recent reformulation, and initiated the clinical development of transdermal buprenorphine (Butrans). Dr. Kaiko is an inventor on a number of patents on opioid analgesia and has published 100 peer reviewed articles. He served on the board of Pain and Analgesia and PRN Forum, and also served as president and board member of the Eastern Pain Association.  He was a contributing editor for the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management and Cancer Pain Release and was a reviewer for several other research journals.  Dr. Kaiko has consulted for the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Abuse Advisory Board, the Federal Trade Commission, and the World Health Organization.  Dr. Kaiko received a bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Cornell University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and was a research associate at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in the Analgesic Studies Section.  Dr. Kaiko undertook postdoctoral research, was an instructor and adjunct assistant professor at Cornell University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Pharmacology.

Garth Powis, D. Phil

Dr. Powis is the Director of the NCI Designated Cancer Center at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, CA.  He has over 40 years of experience as a molecular and translational pharmacologist. He Served as Deputy Chair of Pharmacology at the Mayo Clinic; Director of Basic Research at University of Arizona Cancer Center; and Director of the Center for Targeted Therapy and Chair of Experimental Therapeutics at MD Anderson Cancer Center .  Dr. Powis has over 350 publications and 15 patents with research focuses on the mechanisms that enable cancer cells to survive stress. His work supported bringing three novel cancer drugs into clinical trials. Garth earned his B.Sc. in Biochemistry & Pharmacology from Birmingham University and a D. Phil. from Merton College, Oxford University. 

David Scheinberg, MD, PhD

David A. Scheinberg, M.D., Ph.D. is a physician-scientist, specializing in the care of patients with leukemia and also investigating new therapeutic approaches to cancer, both in the hospital and in the laboratory.  Dr. Scheinberg is currently Vincent Astor Chair, and Chairman, Molecular Pharmacology, Sloan Kettering Institute. He founded and Chairs the Experimental Therapeutics Center, and founded and chaired the Nanotechnology Center from 2010 to 2014.  He is additionally Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Co-chair of the Pharmacology graduate program at the Weill-Cornell University Medical College and Professor in the Gerstner-Sloan Kettering Graduate School at MSKCC. He is a founder and Director of the Therapeutics Discovery Institute, a non profit drug discovery corporation formed with Weill Cornell Medical College, Rockefeller University and Sloan Kettering Institute.  From 1992 until 2003, he was Chief of the Leukemia Service at Memorial Hospital. He has been elected into the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the American Association of Physicians (AAP), and the Interurban Club. He numerous other distinguished awards including the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Science Professorship. He is also currently an advisor to charitable foundations, cancer centers, and companies and sits on the Boards of Directors of public biotech companies including Progenics and Contrafect.  The focus of Dr. Scheinberg’s research is on the discovery and development of novel, specific immuno-therapeutic agents.  Eight different therapeutic agents developed by Dr. Scheinberg in his laboratory have reached human clinical trials, which include the first humanized antibodies to treat acute leukemia, the first targeted alpha particle therapies and alpha generators, the first tumor specific fusion oncogene product vaccines, and antibodies to intracellular proteins. Dr. Scheinberg has published more than 280 papers, chapters, or books in these fields.

William Schmidt, PhD

Dr. William K. Schmidt,  Head, NorthStar Consulting, is the Parliamentarian and a Past-President of the Eastern Pain Association, the largest regional affiliate of the American Pain Society. He has over 25 years of pharmaceutical industry experience with a special emphasis on the discovery and development of novel analgesic and narcotic antagonist drugs. He was previously VP of Clinical Development for CrystalGenomics (Seoul, South Korea) and its U.S. subsidiary, CG Pharmaceuticals (Emeryville, CA); Senior VP of Development at Limerick BioPharma in South San Francisco, CA; VP, Clinical Research, for Renovis, Inc., in South San Francisco, CA; and VP, Scientific Affairs and Acting VP, Clinical R&D, at Adolor Corporation in Exton, PA. At Adolor, Dr. Schmidt was a key member of the team leading to the clinical development, NDA filing, and FDA approval of Entereg® (alvimopan), a peripherally-acting opioid antagonist.  Currently as head of NorthStar Consulting, Dr. Schmidt serves as an expert on pain medicine pharmaceutical development with pharmaceutical and biotech companies throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia.  Dr. Schmidt received a BA from the University of California Berkeley and his PhD University of California-San Francisco.

Patrick Trown, D. Phil.

Dr. Patrick Trown is a seasoned biopharmaceutical executive with over 50 years of experience in the development of small molecular weight drugs and biopharmaceuticals, in both big pharmaceutical and mid-size biotechnology companies. He was former Director, Experimental Oncology and Virology at Hoffmann-La Roche, VP Preclinical Sciences at Xoma, VP Product Development at Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Senior VP Development and Regulator Affairs at Jennerex Biotherapeutics. Some of his most noted drug development work has been with alpha-interferon, a 5FU pro-drug, an immunosuppressive immunoconjugate, a raf kinase inhibitor, and a cyclin-dependent kinase. Dr. Trown received his MS and D. Phil. in Organic Chemistry from Oxford University.