PharmAust’s loss is Zelda’s gain, as boss Richard Hopkins jumps ship to run the medical cannabis biotech.

Mr Hopkins has quit the CEO job at PharmAust (ASX:PAA), where he led development of the company’s doggy cancer pill into the downhill stretch towards commercialisation this year.

He was appointed CEO a little over a year ago in March last year.

Mr Hopkins is now stepping into the managing director role at antoehr ASX small cap Zelda Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD), which is researching the clinical use of medical cannabis to treat insomnia, eczema, autism and cancer.

“It was hard to leave PharmAust, don’t get me wrong,” Mr Hopkins told Stockhead. “I’m moving on because I was landed with a terrific opportunity.”

Mr Hopkins leaves PharmAust after the company has reformulated its key drug. After final trials due to start near the end of the year, PharmAust will look towards commercialisation.

“Aside from that [delays in finishing the reformulation] there virtually are no risks,” he said during an earlier interview in May.

The new gig at Zelda will allow Mr Hopkins to build his own team, as he did at Phylogia, a company he founded.

“I think Zelda is making excellent progress and they’ve been coordinating a full integrated model to gain access to supply and distribution, which is very important.”

Mr Hopkins thinks Zelda will be one of the companies that can make it through the inevitable medical cannabis downturn, thanks to having a “genuine business model”.

PharmAust is in advanced talks with a new CEO. The candidate has not been named but is well known to Mr Hopkins.