Dr. Dinesh Mahajan is an experienced medicinal chemist and a drug discovery scientist. He has around 15 year of synthetic medicinal chemistry experience in academic and industrial setups. Dinesh obtained his Master and PhD in synthetic organic chemistry with emphasis on designing, synthesis and synthetic evaluation of chiral organocatalysts to mimic enzymes for asymmetric synthesis in water. This work was published in leading journals of organic chemistry and is recognized with high citations. He then followed up with a short stint at New Drug Discovery Research (NDDR), Ranbaxy INDIA as a medicinal chemist. While working for Ranbaxy, he was exposed to parallel and library synthesis using the combinatorial approach. Dr Dinesh spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at University de Strasbourg, France formerly known as Louise Pasteur University. There he worked on the designing and synthesis of cytochrome C oxidase model based on porphyrin core. This involved multistep synthesis of porphyrin based biomimics of Cyt C Oxidase. In late 2008, Dinesh joined a biotechnology based startup company “Sphaera Pharma” in INDIA as a founder member of the drug discovery team. Sphaera Pharma, as a biotech startup, was focused on pre-clinical drug discovery to early clinical development. At Sphaera, he led the efforts to establish a medicinal chemistry laboratory, analytical chemistry lab, and a team of dedicated medicinal chemistry scientists starting from scratch. As drug discovery team leader, his major focus revolved around pre-clinical drug discovery that involved hit identification to lead optimization leading to IND candidate identifications, followed by process R&D of leads and their cGMP manufacturing. The pre-clinical discovery efforts involved generation of SAR understanding around identified hit or lead, optimization of identified lead for ADMET properties based on screening on various in vitro and in vivo pharmacology assays, and process R&D of the identified lead to support in vivo studies as well as cGMP manufacturing. During his stay at Sphaera Pharma, he got a good hands-on experience in designing in vitro and in vivo pharmacology assays through interactions with pre-clinical pharmacology team, along with CMC and cGMP manufacturing. His efforts as Sphaera as project leader of various drug discovery projects led to identification of leads and IND candidates in oncology, infectious disease and metabolic disorders with PoC in animal models. Notably, two of the identified leads are under phase 2 clinical development, with another two leads under IND enabling studies and few more are in late stage pre-clinical development. He is an inventor in 16 patent applications filed by Sphaera in different therapeutic domains. He was also a key inventor in developing a chemical transformation based drug modification technology at Sphaera, which aids drug development of lead molecules or approved APIs by increasing solubility and altering their pharmacokinetic profiles. At DDRC, Dinesh heads the synthetic chemistry efforts to support translational research leading to identification and development of lead molecules and new targets for drug discovery.

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