© Helius Therapeutics 2018

Helius recruits former MD of New Zealand's largest medicines manufacturer

Updated: Mar 13, 2019


New Zealand's preeminent licensed medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, has appointed senior pharmaceuticals industry leader Mitch Cuevas to its team as Director and Senior Advisor.


Mitch Cuevas: Director, Senior Advisor at Helius Therapeutics

Mr Cuevas will sit on the Helius Therapeutics board as an independent director, alongside Chairman Guy Haddleton and the company’s three co-founders Paul Manning, Gavin Pook, and JP Schmidt.


Mitch Cuevas was the Managing Director of API Consumer Brands, the largest manufacturer of controlled pharmaceutical substances in the Southern Hemisphere and a leading product innovator. API supplies Pharmac and retail pharmacies across New Zealand and Australia, as well as healthcare, pharmaceutical and personal care products for Asia and the United States.


For more than 25 years, his commercial career has been centred on FMCG, financial performance management and manufacturing. He has worked for several multinationals including Unilever, Cadbury Schweppes, Kelloggs, United Airlines, Ericsson, and Ford.


Mr Cuevas has held senior positions in New Zealand at Fonterra, Goodman Fielder, Ecostore and Clean Planet. He’s lived in the UK, Brazil, Spain and the USA. He has an MBA from London Business School and a general management qualification from Harvard Business School.


Helius Therapeutics Executive Director, Paul Manning, says as the country’s largest biotechnology company focused on medicinal cannabis research and development, Helius is delighted to have Mitch Cuevas onboard.


He says the appointment demonstrates the strong commitment by Helius to develop and deliver quality, safe medicines in what is a heavily regulated environment. Mr Cuevas brings considerable expertise in delivering highly ethical healthcare products and brands.


“This exciting announcement is yet another example of how Helius is showing New Zealand that we will stop at nothing to build a world-class therapeutics company with leading talent".

“Recruiting very senior people like Mitch from the pharmaceuticals industry signals that we are serious about developing the next generation of cannabis medicines - natural products which will become safe and effective alternatives to many regular drugs in New Zealand,” says Mr Manning.

Mr Cuevas is looking forward to being part of the team at Helius Therapeutics. He says the industry has a huge future here and will boost the country’s overall export revenues.


“Without doubt the cannabis and hemp industries are a significant export opportunity for New Zealand in the near future, with medicinal cannabis being a significant component of that revenue base.


“We have a unique opportunity to not only ease the chronic pain suffering for thousands of Kiwis, but also to develop and export premium ‘New Zealand Grown’ medicinal cannabis products to the world. From a pharmaceuticals, wellness and commercial perspective, it’s a very exciting time,” says Mr Cuevas.

Helius plans to announce several more key appointments in the coming weeks. The company is rapidly scaling-up in preparation for the country's new Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, which will provide access for kiwi patients in 2020.