Company: Zelira Therapeutics
Science was Oludare Odumosu’s first love.
Even as a young child, he remembers being fascinated with biology and he continues to be a student of life sciences as the CEO of Zelira Therapeutics, one of the leading cannabinoid medicine companies in the world, where he’s very involved in drug formulation, as well as overseeing the global operations.
Zelira has a footprint in the United States, Australia and Europe and develops cannabis-based medicines designed to treat a variety of ailments, including insomnia, autism and chronic pain.
“These are areas of great and unmet need to which cannabis has great potential to not only address the pharmacological needs, but also visibly improve quality of life,” Odumosu says.
Odumosu says he’s “African by birth, American by choice.” He was born in Nigeria and immigrated to the United States as a teenager to attend college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in public health, epidemiology and biostatistics before starting his doctorate program at Loma Linda University in California. While he was defending his thesis, he began to suffer from debilitating insomnia. Cannabis had always been considered taboo by Odumosu, but by the time he’d been awake for three days, going on four, the line between perception and reality was beginning to blur, he says.
“I’d reached the point that I remember saying to my group of friends at the time that if I don’t sleep tonight, I think I’m going to die,” he says.
That day in California, he got a doctor’s recommendation, visited a dispensary and tried cannabis for the first time. And he fell asleep shortly afterwards, waking nine hours later like the previous horrible week had never happened.
His own experience with the therapeutic value of cannabis made him rethink everything he knew about the substance, and today, from a scientific standpoint, the hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes contained in the plant are an untapped source for research.
“To be able to combine and target specific indications based on this wealth of molecular entities, the options are limitless,” he says.