Management Team, Officers and Directors

Deborah C. Mash PhD, Director,

Chief Executive Officer and President

Deborah Mash is Professor of Neurology (Emeritus) and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Miami School of Medicine. She has held uninterrupted NIH funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for over twenty-five years. She is one of the world’s foremost scientific experts on the anti-addiction drug ibogaine and she is credited with the discovery of the active metabolite of ibogaine – noribogaine. She first obtained clinical trial approval by the FDA in 1993 for an investigator initiated clinical Phase I safety and pharmacokinetic study of ibogaine in the USA. In 1996, she founded and directed Novoneuron Inc. to advance research and development of ibogaine and noribogaine. From 1996-2005, she conducted offshore research and clinical development studies at a substance abuse treatment center in St. Kitts WI to support medication development of ibogaine for opioid and other substance abuse disorders. In 2010, she founded DemeRx with Steve Gorlin to advance clinical development of the metabolite of ibogaine – noribogaine. Deborah served as Director and Chief Scientific Officer at DemeRx, Inc. from 2010 to 2013. She took over the leadership of DemeRx at the end of July 2017, bringing together new management with strategic vision.

Matthias Luz MD,

Executive Vice President

Clinical Research & Development

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Luz is a board-certified anesthesiologist and intensive care physician with close to 3 decades experience in the biopharmaceutical and contract research industry.  He graduated from the University of Heidelberg where he also completed his residency before moving into the industry to exclusively focus on global drug development.


During an eight-year tenure at Behringwerke/Hoechst Marion Roussel/Aventis, Dr. Luz led the team that brought Refludan® (lepirudin), the first therapeutic for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, to market worldwide.  In parallel, Dr. Luz successfully completed a Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.  During the latter part of his time within the Hoechst empire, he successfully ran the 10,000-patient OASIS-2 study to evaluate the use of lepirudin in acute coronary syndromes in collaboration with McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.


Following a two-year period with assignments as Global Team Leader at Knoll/Abbott and Head of Clinical Development at Cardion, Dr. Luz joined PRA International, one of the world’s leading clinical contract research organizations.  He served as Vice President, Global Product Development Services (GPDS), a dedicated group of senior physician-scientists.  Initially leading the cardiovascular unit within this group, Dr. Luz was soon named Head of GPDS.

Under his leadership, GPDS launched into the area of scientific business development and firmly established their internal and external services as an integral element of PRA’s business model.


Reporting to PRA’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Erich Mohr, during this 4-year tenure, Dr. Luz followed Dr. Mohr when he founded MedGenesis Therapeutix, a company focused on developing highly innovative treatments for patients with serious neurologic diseases.  In his capacity as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Luz directly oversaw all development activities at MedGenesis for approximately 12 years.  The company’s lead program was glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, using a sophisticated local drug delivery technology for direct, intermittent drug administration into the brain.


Throughout his professional career, Dr. Luz’s has worked to advance medical treatments for diseases of high unmet medical need.

Michael Karukin PA, PhD

Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Karukin’s professional history includes 9 years running a clinical study site for a group of neurologists and 25 years of service at Ivax Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals (acquired Ivax Pharmaceuticals 2006). He served as the director of patient registries in the Pharmacovigilance Dept of Teva from 2006 – 2016. He was the Associate Director for Medical Affairs at Ivax (1998 – 2006) and Manager of Clinical Trials, R&D, Ivax (1991-1992). He was an attendee at the FDA Industry Meeting to Discuss Opioid REMS in 2009. He served as project manager at Ivax, where he managed the business unit, staffing, developed and managed budgets, contracts and consultants. He was responsible for central nervous system clinical trials, SOP’s to assure compliance, protocol development, CRF’s, investigator brochures and study reports. Michael is an elected official in municipal government, currently a Commissioner, Town of Surfside Florida (2010- 2018), where he also served as the Vice Mayor (2012-2014).

John C. Thomas Jr., Treasurer

Chief Financial Officer and Secretary

John C. Thomas, Jr. has served as our Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary since 2017, he previously held the Chief Financial Officer position at the Company from 2010 – 2013.  Mr. Thomas also has served as Chief Financial Officer of the following companies founded by one of DemeRx’s co-founders, Mr. Steve Gorlin: MiMedx Group, Inc., a publicly-held biotechnology company (2007 – 2008) and SpineMedica, Corp., a subsidiary of MiMedx Group, Inc. (2005 – 2006); DARA BioSciences, Inc., a publicly-held biotechnology company (2002 – 2009), MRI Interventions a publicly-held company involved in MRI technology (1998 – 2010); GMP Companies, Inc., a private medical research company (1999 – 2001); EntreMed, Inc. a publicly-held biopharmaceutical research and development company (1991 – 1997); Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation, a publicly-held dermatological company (1988 – 1991); Biopool International, Inc. (formerly CytRx Biopool, Ltd.), a publicly-held company engaged in the sale of pharmaceutical diagnostic test kits (1990 – 1991); and CytRx Corporation, a publicly-held pharmaceutical research and development company (1986 – 1989).  Mr. Thomas has also served as the chief financial officer for several other start-up companies in other industries during the past ten years as the Chief Financial Officer Motion Reality, Inc., a privately-held virtual reality company (2001 – present), and CorMatrix Cardiovascular, Inc., a privately held medical device company (2001 – 2018).  Mr. Thomas is a certified public accountant.

Bryon Adinoff, MD

Lead Consultant Psychiatry

Dr. Bryon Adinoff is the Distinguished Professorship of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research and a tenured Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He is also the Director of Research in Mental Health at the VA North Texas Health Care System. He received his medical degree from Michigan State University, completed residency training in psychiatry at Tulane University, and did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Laboratory of Clinical Studies at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and is Board Certified in both Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry. Dr. Adinoff’s laboratory has conducted primarily human translational research, using a variety of pharmacological and behavioral probes to explore the brain and stress hormone disruptions that are associated with cocaine and alcohol use disorders and, more recently, addicted sunbed users. He has published over 160 articles and chapters on the biology and treatment of addiction and is Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Dr. Adinoff’s work has been funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. He has been recognized as a Distinguished Fellow in the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and is a Fellow in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.  Dr. Adinoff serves as Lead Psychiatry consultant for the Company.

Pascal J. Goldschmidt MD,

Director, Lead Consultant Cardiology

Pascal Goldschmidt MD is an accomplished physician (cardiologist), professor, healthcare leader, NIH-funded medical researcher and inventor. He has served as a Tenured Professor at three prestigious institutions, Duke University School of Medicine, Ohio State University (OSU) and University of Miami. He was Center Director at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (then OSU), Chief of Cardiology at OSU, and Chairman of Medicine at Duke. In 2006, he became Dean of the Miller School of Medicine and Founder/CEO of UHealth, the University of Miami Health System (2006- 2016). Dr. Goldschmidt received the inaugural Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Prize in Cardiovascular Sciences from the Ohio State University Heart and Vascular Center. The prize, the largest for cardiovascular disease, is awarded biennially to an international leader in the clinical sciences of cardiovascular medicine. He is currently the President and Chairman, ALZADY INTERNATIONAL, LLC. Dr. Goldschmidt serves as Lead Cardiology consultant for the Company and an active member of our Board of Directors.

Board of Directors

Richard S. Serbin Esq.

Executive Chairman of the Board

Mr. Richard S. Serbin has been Head of Global Corporate Development at CURE Pharmaceutical Holding Corp. since May 9, 2017. Mr. Serbin serves as the President of Corporate Development and In-House Legal Counsel at Life Science Institute, LLC. Founder of Radius Scientific Corporation, Mr. Serbin plays an active role in developing business strategy and joint venture contacts and in guiding Mazal Plant Pharmaceuticals Inc. in regulatory compliance and investor relations. Mr. Serbin is a global strategy advisor and entrepreneur with credentials both in pharmacy and law, complemented by more than 40 years of service as an FDA regulatory attorney and patent attorney in the healthcare industry. Mr. Serbin is an expert in licensing medical extracts, compounds and technologies. He is a pharmacist and patent attorney with more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and the investment community. Mr. Serbin served as a consultant to various pharmaceutical companies. He was Patent Attorney for Schering Plough Corporation and Chief FDA Counsel for Revlon Corporation and Johnson and Johnson Corporation. Mr. Serbin spent a large portion of his career focusing on international markets and clients, and served in multiple capacities at Ortho Pharmaceuticals, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Revlon and Schering-Plough. Since September 2015. Mr. Serbin served on the Board of Directors of 16 US and international subsidiary companies, including Ethicon, Ortho, J&J Consumer Products, Pittman-Moore, Mc Neil and J&J Development Corporation. Mr. Serbin has served as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board of Amazon Biotech, Inc., and for the last 10 years, Mr. Serbin has been a Senior Advisor to the Swedish American Life Science Summit (SALSS), held annually in Stockholm, Sweden. Mr. Serbin has a BS and a B. Pharmacy from Rutgers University and Rutgers University College of Pharmacy, a J.D. degree from Seton Hall Law School and a Master’s Degree in Trade Regulations and Law from NYU Law School.

Amb. Hans Hertell

Hans joined the Board in 2017. Ambassador Hertell has over 30 years’ experience in government, public affairs, business, and banking. He was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic on November 8, 2001. Ambassador Hertell has served with distinction as an officer and member of the board of directors of public and private corporations. From 1989 to 1991, he served on the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, as a Public Interest director, a banking system created by U.S. Congress which at the time had over 1.3 trillion dollars in assets. Subsequently, Ambassador Hertell served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Ponce Federal Bank (NYSE), one of the largest publicly traded corporations in the Caribbean, with $1.3 billion in assets at the time. He also served on the Board of Directors of OCASO Insurance, a subsidiary of one of the largest insurance and reinsurance holding companies in Spain. Ambassador Hertell currently serves on the Board of Directors of InterEnergy Holdings, a holding company that owns and operates power generation and distribution assets in Latin America and the Caribbean and is a member of the International Advisory Board of Brasilinvest Group, headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Heather Callander-Potters, MBA

Ms. Heather Callender-Potters serves as the Vice Chair & Chief Business Development Officer at PharmaJet, Inc., a company she co-founded, which is focused on immunization utilizing a needle-free approach. Ms. Potters began her private equity career in 1991, where she served as a partner and Vice President of Enterprise Investors. Expanding to investment oversight for the Central & Eastern European and CIS countries, she subsequently served as a Partner of BPEP International Limited, and Managing Partner of Barings Communications Equity Limited, co-sponsored by CEA Capital Advisors, LLC. Her investment background includes all aspects of direct investment and portfolio management including privatization, strategic partner search, direct investment with local entrepreneurs, licensing of intellectual property and other assets, and private and public offerings. She has held many board and advisory positions over time, in public and private companies, operating in a variety of countries, with concentrations primarily in tech and health focused companies, including PharmaJet, ComputerLand, Sygnity, Consolidated Communications Corporation, PenneCom, Cerescan, Curemark, Encryptics, and NFT. She holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and a B.A. in International Management from Claremont Mckenna College.

Christopher Hassan

Chris Hassan is the CEO of Symetria Health. He is a Senior Healthcare Executive with over 25 years of experience in the field of healthcare. He was the Chief Strategy Officer at Hythiam, Inc. from 2006 – 2010, responsible for strategic planning for the Prometa Treatment Program, sales and marketing, business development, corporate communications, public relations and oversight of corporate managed healthcare facilities. Chris pioneered and led the introduction of Suboxone in the US Market for Reckitt Beckiser Pharmaceuticals, Richmond VA, creating the office-based treatment model for opioid dependence from 2003 – 2006. He created alliances with Addiction Medicine organizations and government agencies including the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) and the American Osteopathic Association of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM) for the development of buprenorphine training and education requirements for the DEA waiver requirements. Subsequently, he served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Colonial Management Group- the largest provider of methadone services of opioid addiction treatment centers in the US at that time. He also developed and patented a number of new opioid product combinations focused on preventing diversion and inadvertent benzodiazepine overdose in patients.

Guy Bolton

Guy joined the Board in February 2020. Mr. Bolton brings to DemeRx over 25 years’ experience in business, specifically in drug development, project management and healthcare technology. He currently serves as President of North America Bolton Equities (BE), a private equity company. He has held various leadership positions at established businesses including Pharmaceutical companies with senior management and director experience across drug development, project/study management, and operations. Previously, Guy was Associate Vice President from 2015 to 2018 and the head of US Clinical operations from 2012 to 2018 at Ferring Pharmaceuticals. Guy brings knowledge to virtually every aspect of early to late stage drug development with Extensive US and Global development experience and expertise in Clinical Operations, Project Management, Due Diligence, Compliance and Quality Assurance. He served on the board of Transaction Services Group from 2015 until 2019. He currently sits on investee boards where he is advancing various healthcare technologies. These activities give him significant exposure to business governance and trends. Guy also serves on the investment committee of Bolton Equities.