Skip to main content


LAVVAN Appoints Neil Closner as Chief Executive Officer

LAVVAN Appoints Neil Closner as Chief Executive Officer

LAVVAN Appoints Neil Closner as Chief Executive Officer

Aug 08 2019

Former MedReleaf executive team joins Closner in transformative venture to drive cannabinoid fermentation efforts

NEW YORK, NY – August 8, 2019: LAVVAN Inc. (“LAVVAN”) today announced that Neil Closner, formerly of MedReleaf Corp. (“MedReleaf”), has been appointed its new Chief Executive Officer. Joining Closner are several key members of MedReleaf’s former leadership team who were responsible for its groundbreaking achievements and success. Former LAVVAN CEO, Etan Bendheim, will become President of the company.

Closner has more than two decades of start-up, technology and health care experience. He was responsible for leading MedReleaf, which was the first ISO 9001 and GMP certified producer of cannabis in North America. MedReleaf was founded in 2013 and grew to be Canada’s most awarded licensed producer and was widely recognized for its scientific leadership, product innovation and its operational excellence. After completing the industry’s largest initial public offering in June 2017, MedReleaf was acquired for $2.5 billion in July 2018. 

“My team and I are thrilled to be bringing our experience and focus to this transformative venture,” said Neil Closner, CEO of LAVVAN. “We are very excited about our partnership with Amyris (NASDAQ:AMRS), the undisputed leader in biosynthesis. The collaboration between LAVVAN and Amyris is now set to revolutionize the cannabis industry.”  

LAVVAN, in its collaboration with Amyris, will produce cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids through fermentation-based technology in food-grade manufacturing facilities. LAVVAN’s processes will ensure product purity and consistency for commercial-grade, cannabinoid-based products, while minimizing production costs. 

“Neil and his team helped to birth the emerging global cannabis industry with MedReleaf and they will now transform it with LAVVAN,” said Etan Bendheim, President of LAVVAN. “I am extremely excited that Neil and his team have joined LAVVAN.”  

The other former members of the MedReleaf team joining LAVVAN include: 

  • Alexia Blake, Director, Product Development
  • Angelo Fefekos, SVP, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance
  • Dr. Jeremy N. Friedberg, Chief Science Officer
  • Istok Nahtigal, Director, Process Sciences
  • Adam Noyek, SVP, Operations
  • Ori Sher, Director, Infrastructure
  • Umar Syed, Senior Advisor, Product Strategy

“The move of one of the most respected teams in the industry to the LAVVAN partnership is further support of the disruptive potential for our cannabinoid products and puts us on a solid path to lead this emerging sector. We are very pleased to be working with this team and the momentum we are gaining in this important market,” said John Melo, President and CEO of Amyris.

 LAVVAN anticipates commercialization of its cannabinoids in 2020. 

About LAVVAN, Inc.

LAVVAN is focused on the production of high-quality and reliably sourced cannabinoids for a range of end markets. In collaboration with Amyris (NASDAQ:AMRS), LAVVAN is developing fermentation-based technology to unlock the full potential of the cannabinoid family of molecules. LAVVAN is backed by leaders across the cannabis, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical industries. For more information visit

Request Submitted
Thank you for your interest in LAVVAN!

A representative will contact you shortly.

Return To Page

Talk to Us