Beckley Psytech

Chief Development Officer

February 3, 2022

LifeSci Search Makes Strategic CDO Placement at a Leader in the Medicinal Applications of Psychedelics

Beckley Psytech is a leading name in the medical applications of psychedelics, which are currently among the most intensely innovative pharmaceutical aids for psychiatry. Many neurological and psychiatric disorders are highly resistant to existing treatments while being widespread and frequently debilitating. The global cost of these illnesses, including substance abuse disorders and mood disorders, is expected to reach $6 trillion by 2030. Against this background, psychedelics have emerged as an extremely promising set of possibilities for novel treatments, but they have been under-studied and under-funded. Beckley Psytech, in collaboration with the prestigious UK-based think tank, the Beckley Foundation, has been at the forefront of global development for clinically validated psychedelic medicines. After successful preliminary trials in 2014-2016, they approached us in 2021 to help them find a CDO who could create a stable, large-scale pipeline for a growing number of candidate compounds.

The Approach

Beckley Psytech’s request was a considerable challenge. Most Senior Development Officers are highly visible, occupying leading roles in major pharmaceutical companies. In this case, however, the candidate needed to be an expert in organic chemistry and clinical development and the treatment of central nervous system diseases. That meant we needed to find candidates with unassailable credentials both in medical academia and in industry. Rising to the challenge required an exhaustive review of academic departments and medical associations, resulting in a long list of over 300 researchers. From there, we narrowed the field by the breadth of expertise, vision, and demonstrated excellence in high-pressure industry environments.

The Outcome

The result was a truly impressive list of candidates, among which Dr. Laura Trespidi still presented as a clear standout. Her placement as CDO with Beckley was based on uniform respect among her academic colleagues and nine years of senior leadership in pharmaceutical development and compliance. But, more than that, she was willing to engage with the possibilities of psychedelic medicines not just with curiosity but with genuine intellectual and emotional buy-in. She began her new position in January of 2022, coming straight from her work as SVP for chemistry, manufacturing, controls and technical development at Summit Pharmaceuticals. That role was built on her experience as VP for Product Development and Regulatory Affairs at Inflazome and senior positions at Mundipharma Research and Shire Pharmaceuticals.

Led By

Paul Cashman | COO and Head of Europe, Life Sciences
+44 7787 727 817

Search Data

Candidates Longlisted 300+
Candidates Formally Presented 7
Candidates Interviewed 7
Time to Hire 3.5 months


Laura Trespidi | CDO

  • Senior VP for CMC and Technical Operations, Summit Therapeutics
  • VP for Product Development and Regulatory Affairs, Inflazome
  • Head of Technical Regulatory Affairs, Mundipharma Research

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