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Mahajan Lab Receives Stanford AIM Grant

Feb 25 2019

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20/20 Blog

Palo Alto, CA —The Mahajan Lab in Stanford University’s Department of Ophthalmology is one of four 2018 recipients of the Stanford Alliance for Innovative Medicines (AIM) Grant. The grant sets up a collaboration between Stanford researchers and scientists form Takeda Pharmaceuticals to develop new therapies for eye disease. Vinit Mahajan M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Ophthalmology,  is a vitreoretinal surgeon and biochemist who identified small-molecule drug targets for blinding eye disease. 

Takeda’s enormous discovery, preclinical development capabilities, resources, and small-molecule drug development expertise will help the lab identify and overcome obstacles to getting promising new drugs ready for patients. At the same time, Takeda scientists will have the opportunity to participate in Mahajan’s cutting-edge research.

Mahajan said, "Our  working relationship with Takeda is a smart, efficient way to acclerate development of new therapies for patients. Takeda scientists bring expeirience and know-how not otherwise available to academic labs."

Mahajan Lab members Gabe Velez, an M.S.T.P. student, and Paul Finn, a postdoctoral research fellow and member of the ChEM-H Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center, co-wrote the AIM Grant. Velez is studying the atomic structure of proteins invovled in inflammatory eye disease. He spends a portion of his time at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory working on crystallography. Finn’s research is focused on the creation of chemical tools and molecules that inhibit disease protein activity.

Stanford’s ChEM-H Department (Chemistry, Engineering, and Medicine for Human Health) will oversee the grant as Mahajan’s lab and Takeda team up for ophthalmic drug development.