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Dhiren R. Thakker, Ph.D.

Dhiren R. Thakker, Ph.D.

Founding President & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Dhiren Thakker has been familiar with pharmacy and pharmaceutical concepts since middle school when his father and uncle bought a pharmacy, and rights to produce several over-the-counter medicines. It is no surprise that he chose to go to a pharmacy program for his undergraduate education (B.Pharm.) at Bombay University in India. While there, Dhiren developed a strong interest in the chemistry of drugs and the manufacturing of drug products. He often visited his family’s manufacturing facility while in college, and even troubleshot some of the manufacturing processes.

After graduating, Dhiren pursued his interest in pharmaceutical sciences and came to the U.S. for graduate school with the goal of returning to India. However, the opportunity to pursue research in his preferred fields and to train as a scientist proved to be a powerful force that kept him in the USA.

Dhiren received M.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Columbia University, and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Kansas. He worked as a Research Scientist at the National Institutes of Health, Principal Investigator at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Section Head, Department Head, and Director of Drug Metabolism Department at Glaxo, Inc., Distinguished Professor, Associate Dean (Research & Graduate Education, Entrepreneurial Development, and Global Engagement), and Interim Dean at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and Interim Director of the Eshelman Institute for Innovation.

Dhiren has published 169 papers and book chapters, co-edited two books, delivered 185 invited lectures, and is an inventor on several patents. He has trained and mentored more than 100 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members, visiting international scientists, and industry scientists. Dhiren served as a Co-Editor of Medicinal Research Reviews, on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, on scientific advisory boards of several biotech companies, and on advisory councils in the technology commercialization, global engagement, and global health fields. Dhiren co-founded a university startup company, Qualyst, Inc., Analytical Solutions, Inc., Tergus Pharma, and Sphaera Pharma. He has served on the Board of Qualyst and Tergus Pharma, and currently serves on the Board of Chesson Labs and Sphaera Pharma, USA. He is a recipient of the Sato Memorial Award from the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan, Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Institute for Chemical Technology, Bombay University, and is a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

After spending over four decades across the largest biomedical research institute in the world, the leading regulatory agency, a global pharmaceutical company, and the nation’s top ranked pharmacy school (UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy), Dhiren has decided to spend the next phase of his life serving underserved patients in Sub-Saharan Africa and improving their access to affordable, high-quality medicines.

In December 2019, he founded Med-Aditus International, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to establish a manufacturing entity for much needed medicines, train the workforce and to mobilize talented individuals with a passion for service.