The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Senior Members Selection Committee meets annually to review worthy nominees to be inducted into this prestigious institution.
Daruka Mahadevan, MD PhD was selected as a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors based on his track record of novel inventions of anti-cancer drugs. As a consummate physician-scientist for 30 years, Dr. Mahadevan – with experience gleaned from the pursuit of several higher degrees in varied disciplines – demonstrated deep commitments to inquiry, discovery, and seeing the products of his work go on to impact the public good. He has leveraged an academic background comprising physiology, biochemistry, protein crystallography and clinical specialty in medical oncology to develop and commercialize several novel anti-cancer drugs; ultimately, his goal is to advance public health and welfare by treating incurable cancers.
Dr. Mahadevan graduated with honors from the University of Reading, England, UK in 1982 with a degree in physiology and biochemistry and a minor in chemistry. A brief three years later he completed his PhD in X-ray crystallography at the University of London, where he solved the crystal structure of eye lens betaBp-crystallin, a discovery that was published in Nature. After an internship in general medicine and surgery in London, he served as a resident in internal medicine at the University of Connecticut and became board certified in 1998.
Throughout his careers, Dr. Mahadevan has moved seamlessly between the clinic and industry, which has allowed him to maximize the impact of his work. In 1998, he joined Celltech Therapeutics in the U.K. as a Senior Scientist where he cloned and humanized monoclonal antibodies, one of which was nominated as a candidate for inflammatory bowel disease. Two years later, he joined the University of Arizona Cancer Center where he discovered and designed a multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor, Amuvatinib (MP470), which completed Phase I and II trials in solid tumor oncology. Now, as a full tenured professor and board-certified medical oncologist, his lab has discovered several small molecule inhibitors targeting cancer proteins, specifically for pancreatic and hematologic malignancies.
As of today, Dr. Mahadevan has five families of patents to his name that include ten individual patents. That intellectual property has been licensed to both pre-existing companies as well as startups that he launched. He has a demonstrated commitment to creating collaborative university-industry relationships to generate products and therapies for public use. For example, he has successfully directed a translational drug discovery laboratory program that resulted in several US patents and new drugs for pancreatic and epithelial cancers. His startup, Targeted Cancer Therapeutics, LLC, licensed the anti-CEACAM6 monoclonal antibody and is working diligently to bring it to market, pursuing clinical trials while simultaneously developing relationships with angels and venture capital investors.
Dedicated to ensuring the next generation of innovators, Dr. Mahadevan has mentored many early career scientists and clinicians, instilling in them a passion for drug discovery and a dedication to collaboration. He constantly consults with biologists and medicinal chemists to move discoveries forward, and intentionally creates opportunities for his mentees to develop their skills, participate in the laboratory and the clinic, and share in co-authoring manuscripts.
Maybe most telling, Dr. Mahadevan celebrates knowledge gaps and creates environments where statements like “I don’t know” are encouraged and turned into moments for insight and further learning.
Dr. Mahadevan was inducted as an NAI Senior Member for his innovative research, inclusive of the manner in which he has conducted his work and collaborative relationships over the years, are well deserving of such an honor.