Who we are
Pherin Pharmaceuticals is a privately held clinical stage drug development company headquartered in San Francisco, California. We focus on the discovery and development of proprietary compounds called pherines, for the acute treatment of neuropsychiatric and neuroendocrine conditions. We also believe there are numerous pherine compounds with the potential to be developed as pharmaceuticals drugs.
Pherin Pharmaceuticals is led by an experienced senior management team. We have an experienced Scientific Advisory Board and a network of external experts to develop products from discovery into clinical trial.
We continue to develop our internal product portfolio and are open to discussions of collaborative licensing opportunities with forward-looking and technologically innovative pharmaceutical companies. If you are interested, please call us at (650) 636-7064.
Kevin McCarthyPresident and Chief Executive Officer
Kevin McCarthy has served as Director of the Company since our founding in 1991 and became our Treasurer, Secretary and CFO in 2018. Mr. McCarthy also served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from August 1991 until 2001.
Prior to re-joining Pherin as an officer, Mr. McCarthy was Executive Vice President of Shasta Crystals, a materials science company developing crystalline materials for high power military grade lasers, industrial lasers and medical lasers. Mr. McCarthy holds a B.S. degree from San Francisco State University and an MBA degree from California State University, Chico.
Toby RosenblattExecutive Chairman
Toby Rosenblatt has served as a member of the Board of Directors since 1992, became Chairman of the Board of Directors in July 2018 and was made Executive Chairman in September of 2020. Mr. Rosenblatt is President of Founders Investments Ltd, a private investment firm. He has served as a director of several small businesses in the fields of financial services and biotechnology as well as a director of several BlackRock mutual funds.
Mr. Rosenblatt serves on the boards of several charitable foundations and nonprofits serving healthcare and education. Mr. Rosenblatt holds a BA degree from Yale University and an MBA degree from Stanford University.
Scientific Advisory Board
The scientific advisors associated with Pherin Pharmaceuticals are experts in their respective fields. We remain current and on the cusp of scientific advancement with our knowledgeable team of advisors. In addition, we have relationships with contract research organizations.
Michael B. Liebowitz, MD
Michael B. Liebowitz, MD is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, NY; Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Managing Director of the Medical Research Network. Dr. Liebowitz is recognized as one of the world's leading researchers in the field of anxiety disorders. He assists us with the clinical development of our anxiety program.
Brad Katz, MD, PhD
Dr. Katz is recognized as a leading researcher in the field of migraines. He is a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the John A Moran Eye Center, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. He holds adjunct appointments in the University’s Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery.
Dr. Katz's University of Utah Profile
In addition to the clinical and surgical care of patients, Dr. Katz is responsible for training medical students, residents, and fellows.
Carla B. Washington, PhD
Chair of Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Washington is a formally trained clinical pharmacology/translational medicine leader/scientist with over 20 years drug development experience with small and large molecules. She has demonstrated success in the design, execution, analysis, and interpretation of clinical pharmacology and translational medicine studies for product candidates.
She has served as Director of Clinical Pharmacology and Clinical Development for Pharmaceutical companies such as Roche, Genetech, Sugen, Theravance, Global Blood Therapeutics and others. Dr. Washington is a strategic leader/thinker with a broad knowledge of therapeutic areas including hematology (sickle cell disease), oncology, virology (HIV, HCV andCMV), pulmonary (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) and anti-infectives with experience in all phases of clinical development (Phase 1 – Phase IV).
The Pherin Pharmaceuticals Story
Pherin Pharmaceuticals was founded in 1991 by David Berliner and Julian Stern, two pioneers of the Bay Area’s biotechnology industry. David and Julian began working together around 1968 with the founding of ALZA where David was its first VP of Research and Julian was the founding attorney.
ALZA was the first transdermal drug delivery company and David’s expertise in human skin was the reason for his hiring. Julian was the founding partner of Heller, Ehrman’s Silicon Valley office on University Avenue in Palo Alto.
Julian was instrumental in developing the licensing model for early stage pharmaceutical companies where they would license their technology to Big Pharma rather than try to become a full-scale pharmaceutical company.
David and Julian went on to work together on several other biotech/drug development companies over the years until they decided to form their own company in the late 1980’s. The idea for Pherin came to David while working on skin metabolites in his laboratory at the University of Utah in the 1960’s. Certain volatile skin metabolites seemed to produce mood changes in David’s laboratory colleagues. Many years later David disclosed to Julian his observations and the idea to build a company around this concept was born.
David and Julian founded Pherin to take the original, naturally occurring molecules David had worked with many years before and create potent analogues and derivatives from the originals, so that, when sprayed into the nose, the new compounds could have powerful pharmacological affects.
Pherin was originally founded to be built into a full-scale pharmaceutical company. David passed away in 2002 before that dream could be realized. Julian, with the assistance of Research VP Louis Monti, maintained the company in a somewhat dormant holding pattern over the ensuing years.
In 2018, two events occurred to change the direction of Pherin, 1) Julian Stern passed away and 2) a licensing agreement was struck with VistaGen Therapeutics (VTGN) to develop two of Pherin’s compounds, PH94B for anxiety disorders and PH10 for major depressive disorder.
While Pherin’s Founders have left us, the technology they created over many years is continuing to advance in FDA approved clinical trials with the goal of treating important medical conditions.
News and Media
Novel Anxiety and Depression Approach by VistaGen Therapeutics
Pherin Stockholders Letter March 16, 2021
Pherin Stockholders Letter Dec. 3, 2020
VistaGen Submits PH94B Phase 2A Study Protocol for Treatment of Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic through U.S. FDA's Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP)
U.S. FDA Grants VistaGen Therapeutics Fast Track Designation for PH94B for Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder
March 10, 2019
Notice to Stakeholders Oct 2019
October 22, 2019
February 13, 2019
Pherin Stockholders Letter Feb 2019
February 12, 2019
Pherin Signs Licensing Agreement with VistaGen Therapeutics
September 13, 2018
Effect of an Acute Intranasal Aerosol Dose of PH94B on Social and Performance Anxiety in Women With Social Anxiety Disorder
58 West Portal Ave., #132, SF CA 94127
+1 (650) 636-7064