About the Company

Aspire Biopharma, Inc. is a privately held, early stage biopharmaceutical company. As a Puerto Rico corporation formed in September 2021, the Company engaged in the business of developing and marketing the disruptive technology for novel delivery mechanisms for “do no harm” drugs.


The Company has developed and acquired disruptive technologies that are a Novel Soluble Formulation which address emergencies and drug efficacy, dosage management, and response time.


In March 2023, the Company filed application number 63/456,290 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) with the goal of securing patent protection for its new technology and aspirin formulation.This technology will facilitate development of any number of products in a soluble, PH neutral, fast acting powder form which has been developed by using our patented formulation, and “trade secret” process. Aspire’s drug delivery comes from a new mechanism of action (absorption pathway) which allows for instant absorption in the mouth. The benefits of “instant absorption” are to provide nearly instant treatment impact and also allows high dose absorption.


Aspire’s patented and patent pending delivery system includes components specifically formulated to allow rapid sublingual absorption of drugs into the blood stream, thus by-passing the gastrointestinal tract.

Meet our team

We have assembled a world class team at the highest levels in every essential discipline.

Management team

Kraig Higginson

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Higginson brings to Aspire BioPharma, Inc. extensive experience in early-stage growth company management as well as vast public market expertise. Mr. Higginson founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of VIA Motors, Inc., a hybrid electric vehicle company from November 2010 to January 2015, which achieved more than a $1 billion market cap. From October 2003 until November 2010, he founded and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Raser Technologies, a NYSE company which achieved a $1.7 billion market cap. Earlier Mr. Higginson also founded American Telemedia Network, Inc., a publicly traded NASDAQ company that developed a nationwide satellite network broadcasting data for large corporations, as well as video programming and advertising to shopping centers and malls. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer of American Telemedia Network from 1984 through 1988. Mr. Higginson has been a leading entrepreneur for several decades. In 2010, Mr. Higginson was called to testify, as an expert, before Congress regarding the viability of vehicle electrification, and was directly instrumental in pushing through the $7,500 per vehicle legislation which is credited for launching the EV industry in the United States.

Ernest J. Scheidemann, Jr. CPA, MBA

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Scheidemann brings over 20 years of CFO experience leading financial and operational teams of both publicly traded and private companies, in Fortune 500, mid-cap, mega start-ups and fast-paced entrepreneurial organizations in a variety of industries, and has served on boards of health care services related non-profits. Mr. Scheidemann’s expertise includes building and leading highly skilled accounting and finance teams, debt and equity financing, GAAP accounting, strategic planning, M&A, profitability maximization, financial processes, and SEC reporting. Previously, Mr. Scheidemann was the Chief Financial Officer for Benchmark Builders, Inc., ASG Technologies, Inc., WCI Communities, Inc., and Walker Digital, LLC, and earlier in his career served as also the Controller for AT&T’s $23 billion Consumer Services division. Mr. Scheidemann is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of New Jersey and holds a Certified Global Management Accountant designation (CMGA) and a Certification in Financial Forensics (CFF), each from the American Institute of CPAs.

Stephen Quesenberry

General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Stephen Quesenberry was appointed General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Aspire Biopharma, Inc. in September, 2021. Mr. Quesenberry has practiced law since 1989 in Washington and Utah, including complex business litigation and SEC matters. Mr. Quesenberry was one of the (many) attorneys representing Exxon Shipping in the Exxon Valdez litigation in Alaska in the early 1990s.

Lance Friedman

Director of Investor Relations

Mr. Lance Friedman began his career in the legal field with a focus in corporate, securities and merger and acquisition transactions, before transitioning to merchant/Investment Banking and business operations in 1987. In the mid-90s, he was hired by healthcare and real estate magnates Abraham Gosman and Bernard Marden to become a part of senior management in various investment led healthcare focused companies, including WirelessMD and WebMD. Subsequently, Mr. Friedman was invited to join EGL Holdings as Managing Director/Partner, a well-known cross border venture capital and boutique investment banking firm in 2003 to manage the healthcare investment and advisory practice, including serving as an internal senior level capital markets and M&A member of VertiSoft resulting in its sale to Optio Software. He also served as COO and EVP of Finance of Fletcher-Flora Health Care Systems, Inc., resulting in the sale of the company to Merge Healthcare. Recent appointments include CEO of First Choice Healthcare Solutions, Inc., and formerly of Instaprin Pharmaceuticals, Inc to execute an exit due to an SEC matter consent judgment issued to the Company and its founder, and VIA Motors International leading its capital markets strategy for a period of 8 years culminating in a merger valued at $630M.

Medical Advisory Board

Dr. James Dzandu

Ph.D & Pharmaceutical Chemist

Dr. Dzandu received his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Biochemistry from Wayne State University, Detroit Michigan in 1980. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Pathology and Associate Director of the DNA/Identity laboratory at University of Texas Health Science center, Fort Worth Texas. Dr. Dzandu is well published in peer-reviewed journals and has received many awards and funding support for his work on sickle cell, proteomics and genomics. In the last few years, Dr. Dzandu has turned his attention to a successful collaborative research partnership with Dr. Mangram and the trauma dream team on trauma research with special emphasis on G60.

Morhaf Ibrahim


As an Electrophysiologist and Cardiologist, Dr. Morhaf Ibrahim is passionate about all aspects of cardiology. He completed his fellowship in cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Florida Jacksonville and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville. He is excited to connect with his patients and make a significant impact in each of their lives. He brings with him a commitment and experience to treat not only cardiac arrhythmias but other aspects of heart diseases as well. Dr. Ibrahim graduated from the University of Damascus in Syria. He then completed his residency in Houston at the University of Texas, Texas Medical Center. He was fascinated about the field of cardiology and decided to complete his training in Cardiology at the University of South Alabama where he served as a chief cardiology fellow. During his cardiology training, he became interested in cardiac electrophysiology and he came to Jacksonville where he was trained in Cardiac Electrophysiology.

Gary C. Bernard

MD, Board Certified in Internal Medicine

President and CEO, Pointe Medical Services, Inc., President and CEO, Pointe Med Pharmacy, Inc., Owner Live, Well MD, LLC, Majority Owner and Managing Member, Live Well Drugstore, LLC, d/b/a TruLife Pharmacy. Dr. Bernard completed Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Florida Health Science Center, Residency in Internal Medicine, Rotation in Cardiology at the Brown University School of Medicine, and Residency in Anesthesiology At the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.  He earned a B.S. Degree in Chemistry from Hobart and William Smith College, and medical degrees from the University of South Florida and Meharry Medical College.

Paul Montanarella


Chief Anesthesiology, Honor Health Hospital System earned his medical degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras Facultad de Ciencias Médicas. Upon graduating, he relocated to the United States and completed his residency in internal medicine at the Highland Hospital of Rochester in 1988, and his residency in anesthesiology at Westchester Medical Center and SUNY Upstate Medical University in 1991. With an unwavering commitment to his specialty, the doctor is board-certified in anesthesiology by the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA). As the certifying body for anesthesiologists since 1938, the ABA is committed to partnering with physicians to advance the lifelong learning and exceptional patient care. Its mission is to advance the highest standards of the practice of anesthesiology. Anesthesiology is the medical specialty concerned with the total perioperative care of patients before, during, and after surgery. It encompasses anesthesia, intensive care medicine, critical emergency medicine, and pain medicine. Anesthesiologists have the primary responsibility of monitoring the patients vital signs during surgery. In addition to basic measurements such as pulse, blood pressure, and temperature, they measure the patients respiration. 

Edward Kimball

MD & Emergency Medicine Specialist

Dr Edward Kimball is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center and Medical Director of Surgical Critical Care at the Salt Lake VA Medical Center. He is the Chief Medical Officer for Outreach Network Development and Telehealth and Medical Director of TeleICU services for U Health.  Dr. Kimball’s research in critical care medicine has been focused on shock resuscitation, inflammation and its effects on abdominal organ function. He and his colleagues designed the device used as an international standard for assessing intra-abdominal pressures in critically ill patients. He is the current president of the World Abdominal Compartment Society. Dr. Kimball served as a medical officer in the US Army and continues to provide training for US Special Forces. He is married to Rebekah Ellsworth Kimball, has four children and resides in Salt Lake City.

John A. Mansour Jr, DO

Dr. Mansour is a board certified and fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in orthopaedic traumatology and fracture care. He is Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery as well as Medical Director of Orthopaedic Trauma for The Hughston Clinic at HCA Florida Orange Park Hospital. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences, graduating summa cum laude, from Delta State University. He then went on to earn his medical degree in osteopathic medicine from Nova Southeastern University. After finishing his internship at the Peninsula/NS-LIJ Hospital Consortium, he completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and continued his training through an orthopaedic traumatology fellowship at Grant Medical Center.

Strategic Advisors

Nancy Taylor

FDA Advisor

Ms. Taylor is Greenberg Traurig’s Co-Chair of the Health Care & FDA Practice and focuses her practice on health and FDA related matters. She has broad experience working with providers, plans, employers, private equity firms, and FDA regulated companies. She advises clients on health care transactions, health and FDA regulatory policy and compliance, and responding to Congressional and Administration investigations and audits. Prior to joining Greenberg Traurig, Ms. Taylor served 10 years as Health Policy Director for a Senate Committee and worked on a number of significant health and FDA laws. She also served as CEO of a start-up medical device company, where she obtained eight product clearances, including securing reimbursement coverage for each product.

Michael Shuster


Mr. Shuster is a partner in Goodwin’s Life Sciences group, providing strategic intellectual property advice to biotechnology, chemical, pharmaceutical, and other life sciences companies. Mr. Shuster handles an array of IP matters – including patent prosecution, portfolio analysis, due diligence, litigation, and opinion work – for clients ranging from startups to established biotechnology companies, venture capital firms, and research universities and hospitals. He also provides IP evaluation and counseling for companies raising and investing growth capital, executing strategic partnerships and M&A transactions, and going public. Leveraging a background in science, Mr. Shuster has advised extensively on IP issues related to immunotherapy, antibody technologies, microbiome-based technologies, ag biotechnology, biologics, gene therapy, therapeutic vaccines, synthetic biology, small molecule therapeutics, and drug formulations, among other complex technologies.

Arthur Marcus


Sichenzia Ross Ference LLP, with a practice focus on corporate, commercial, and securities law.

Miriam Walls

FDA Advisor, X-FDA

Works with companies to devise a strategic planning, new opportunity creation, and strategies to help the company remain competitive in the marketplace