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Principal Scientist - MedChem

Alameda, CA, USA | Exelixis, Inc.

  • Industry:
    Pharmaceutical / Biotech
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
  • Experience:
    5-7 years
    7-10 years
Job Description:
53 people have viewed this job

Company Description

Every Exelixis employee is united in an ambitious cause: to launch innovative medicines that give patients and their families hope for the future. In this pursuit, we know our employees are our most valuable asset. After operating in the challenging biotech sector for 25 years, we have a proven track record of resiliency in the face of adversity. The success of our lead product has provided a solid commercial foundation allowing us to reinvigorate our research efforts, and grow our team in areas such as Drug Discovery, Clinical Development and Commercial.

As we expand our global partnerships and further reinvest in R&D to help us discover the next breakthrough for difficult-to-treat cancers, we’re seeking to add talented, dedicated employees to power our mission.

Cancer is our cause. Make it yours, too.

Job Description

Seeking a highly skilled and motivated senior level medicinal chemist to join our small molecule drug discovery team.The ideal candidate will be an experienced chemistry team leader, overseeing the activities of a team of chemists on project related design and syntheses of target compounds. 



•Design, synthesis, purification and characterization of small molecule lead compounds

•Troubleshoot and optimize multi-step synthetic routes 

•Provide effective project leadership to chemistry team members

•Drive lead optimization efforts for medicinal chemistry projects from identification of HTS leads to drug candidate selection through the optimization of target potencies, selectivities and ADME/PK profiles

•Participation in group, project team and departmental research meetings

•Proper maintenance of laboratory notebooks in accordance with company policies and practices

•Compliance with safe laboratory practices and EH&S guidelines

•Contributes to the writing of technical documents, patents, scientific manuscripts, etc.


•As required per project needs and department growth


•PhD in related discipline with six to nine years of relevant experience in the pharmaceutical industry; or,

•Equivalent combination of education and experience.



•Experience managing chemistry projects and teams 

•Experience with target compound and synthetic pathway design

•Well versed in modern synthetic chemistry techniques, purification methods, and analytical techniques


•Proven track record of leading medical chemistry projects from HTS leads to the delivery of high-quality drug candidates as evidenced by publications and/or patents

•Excellent problem solving and SAR analysis skills

•Knowledgeable in all aspects of drug discovery and related disciplines

•Strong organic and medicinal chemistry bench skills 

•Solid knowledge of synthetic organic chemistry reaction mechanisms and reactivity 

•Independently creates hypotheses and designs compounds accordingly 

•Uses contemporary medicinal chemistry principles to drive science to key decision points

•Efficient use of scientific literature and chemical/scientific databases

•Good interpersonal skills, flexibility and works well within a team environment

•Excellent written and verbal communication skills



•Works in a fast-paced/small-team environment that is growing and evolving and which requires regular reprioritization of projects while adhering to timelines and achievement of deliverables. 

•Capable of sophisticated problem solving through in-depth analysis of data

•Comfortable and effective in a collaborative research environment

•Has an in-depth knowledge of the functional area.

•Exercises independent judgment in methods, techniques and evaluation of criteria for obtaining results.

Additional Information


The preceding job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification.It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities and qualifications required of employees assigned to the job.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.


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