Pharmacyclics, LLC

Head of Medicinal Chemistry

Sunnyvale, CA
Jun 27, 2018
Science/R&D, Chemistry
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Position Type
Full time

Pharmacyclics is committed to the development and commercialization of novel therapies intended to improve the quality and duration of life and to resolve serious unmet medical needs for cancer patients. Pharmacyclics is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company. Oncology is a key therapeutic area for AbbVie, with a portfolio consisting of three marketed products and a pipeline containing multiple promising new molecules that are being studied in more than 200 clinical trials for over 20 different types of cancer.

More than 1,200 Pharmacyclics and AbbVie research scientists, clinicians, marketing, operations and corporate professionals work in the San Francisco Bay Area. They combine their expertise in immuno-oncology, stem cells, and cell-signaling with their knowledge of bispecific antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), and covalent-inhibitor technologies to discover and develop novel cancer treatments. Together, we are striving to outsmart cancer.

To learn more about us, please visit us at

Pharmacyclics is seeking:

Head of Medicinal Chemistry

Pharmacyclics LLC, An AbbVie Company

Pharmacyclics is an AbbVie company focused on developing and commercializing innovative small-molecule therapies for the treatment of certain cancers and immune-mediated diseases. Our mission is to change the standard of care for the disease areas we treat or study to continually advance cancer care for patients. Pharmacyclics and its partner Janssen Biotech, developed and commercialize IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib), a first-in-class, oral, once-daily therapy that inhibits Bruton's tyrosine kinase, a signaling molecule critical for the survival and spread of malignant B cells. IMBRUVICA has four Breakthrough Therapy Designations and eight FDA approvals in six diseases.

When we place passionate, intelligent and innovative individuals within a culture that inspires their creativity and values their insights, amazing achievements continue to happen. That's how we do things at Pharmacyclics. After all, when a company is developing novel, life-changing therapies that are revolutionizing patient care, you need unique modes of action. In all we do, we enable the impossible and ensure that mediocrity is not an option. We strive to develop and commercialize novel therapies that make a dramatic, positive difference in the lives of patients. That takes bold vision and a well-defined mission. We create an environment that enables our employees to do the best work of their careers as they contribute their expertise toward developing cures for disease areas with significant unmet medical needs.

We are expanding a world-class medicinal chemistry team to drive innovation in small molecule oncology Discovery. The Head of Medicinal Chemistry will lead this expansion and manage medicinal chemistry team in support of small-molecule Drug Discovery. The Head will set strategy to achieve chemistry goals for multiple candidate-directed programs and for novel small molecule platform technologies and become a member of the PCYC Senior Discovery leadership team responsible for portfolio advancement and a member of the AbbVie Medicinal Chemistry Leadership Team. Department leadership responsibilities will include driving scientific/technical excellence, expanding medicinal chemistry capability, allocating resources across programs, identifying and filling gaps in technology and/or capacity, sourcing and overseeing external resources, and identifying and applying new technologies. The Department Head will line-manage leaders and their teams and foster scientific and professional development of staff. The individual will ensure scientific and operational excellence and the use of best practices across teams. As a scientific leader and therapeutic area medicinal chemistry expert with a proven track record of delivering high-value clinical candidates, the individual will share responsibility for the overall therapeutic area strategy, the delivery of clinical candidates and other top-level goals.

The ideal candidate should have a deep passion for drug discovery with a track-record of accomplishments in identifying small molecule clinical candidates for drug development programs, ideally in oncology indications. As a skilled organizational leader, this individual should be an efficient manager, an effective team builder and a productive collaborator who will provide strong organizational, technological and scientific leadership to the medicinal chemistry department to support lead generation, lead optimization, clinical candidate selection and the ensuing clinical studies. A strong track record on scientific and operational excellence is expected.


  • Use state of the art medicinal chemistry techniques to identify lead compounds and through lead optimization to deliver quality clinical development candidates

  • Collaborate with enabling chemistry technologies groups including Structure Based Drug Design, Cheminformatics and High Throughput Chemistry, as appropriate, in order to enable and accelerate medicinal chemistry programs through hit to lead (HtL) and lead optimization (LO) phases

  • Collaborate with dedicated DMPK, toxicology and safety pharmacology teams in support of Discovery programs. Expert use of multiparametric optimization and safety predictor tools in order to identify lead and candidate compounds with a high probability of clinical success

  • Continuously monitor external intellectual property landscape and attain strong intellectual property positions for Discovery programs

  • Direct and coordinate medicinal chemistry resources across programs

  • Identify and reduce gaps in technology and capabilities to accelerate HtL and LO studies

  • Identify, establish and maintain external resources to supplement internal resource capacities

  • Establish innovative research concepts and proposals to management

  • Implement productive interactions with consultants and collaborators

  • Coordinate the transition of new target programs from the Exploratory with in vivo PoC to LO

  • Allocate chemistry resources to ensure support for HtL / LO activities

  • Responsible for the compliance with applicable Corporate and Regional Policies and Procedures and with standard AbbVie protocols including laboratory safety, ELN data entry etc.

  • As a member of the Medicinal Chemistry Leadership Team, work to implement state-of-the art medicinal chemistry practices across the organization

  • Manage leaders and their teams by fostering scientific excellence and best practices and appropriately delegate and prioritize strategy and tactics with direct reports

  • Identify, recruit and develop key talents. Act as a mentor to direct reports and other high potential employees. Create a stimulating and innovative work environment that attracts, retains and develops top talents. Ensure that employees are developed to their full potential and assist them in identifying appropriate development opportunities within the organization. Commit to continuous learning environment to drive excellence.

  • Represent the function internally and externally at scientific meetings, advisory boards, expert panels.


  • PhD in Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry or related field with minimal of 15-year experience in biotech or pharma companies of increasing responsibility for small molecule drug discovery

  • Proven scientific leadership and track record of scientific innovation and accomplishment in medicinal chemistry, as evidenced in publication, intellectual property, and technology development.

  • Demonstrated success in delivering multiple small molecule clinical candidates into IND and through clinical development.

  • Proven leadership in science-driven drug discovery work and in operational excellence

  • Proven ability of global coordination/collaboration with internal/external teams, including effective collaboration with Biology, Biomarker, Pharmacology, DMPK, Safety/Toxicology, Formulation and Process Chemistry

  • Track record of developing efficient discovery processes and managing relationships with CROs.

  • Proven track record of managerial excellence, including leading a mid-sized medicinal chemistry team of > 10 people and managing cross-site collaboration in a biotech or pharma company.

  • Experience in strategic planning, project leadership, laboratory and budget management in a matrixed organization. Decisive problem solver with ability to balance creativity, innovation and probability of success.

  • Highly motivated and self-driven individual with

  • A desire to be part of a growing and dynamic company aimed at providing the Magic of Normal to cancer patients and their families.


Pharmacyclics is prepared to offer the successful candidate a competitive compensation and benefit package commensurate with the important of this position.