Principal Scientist, Medicinal Chemistry

Salt Lake City, Utah
As a Principal Scientist in our Med Chem Group, you’ll act as lead chemist on multiple projects.
Oct 09, 2018
Science/R&D, Chemistry
Required Education
Position Type
Full time

At Recursion, we combine experimental biology, automation, and artificial intelligence to quickly and efficiently identify treatments for human diseases. As a Principal Scientist in our Medicinal Chemistry Group, you’ll act as lead chemist on multiple programs supporting the selection of screening libraries, hit assessments, and lead optimization efforts. You will also seek out new ways to streamline the traditional medicinal chemistry discovery process by partnering with data scientists to develop predictive models to reduce the number of molecules required to deliver clinical candidates.


You will also contribute to our medicinal chemistry strategy and expansion of our small molecule libraries. In this newly-created position, you will play a critical role in driving external medicinal chemistry efforts to support discovery. You’ll report to the VP, Chemistry and will work with cross functional groups to contribute to project teams and deliver molecules to the clinic.

In this role, you will:

  • Advise - You will act as a medicinal chemistry subject matter expert internally and partner with program teams to deliver molecules to the clinic.
  • Collaborate - You will work with our Data Science and Software Engineering teams to evaluate strategies for AI-based SAR design.
  • Lead - As our company continues to grow, you will be part of a nimble, highly-efficient top talent chemistry team. You will lead medicinal chemistry efforts with CROs to outsource medicinal chemistry needs.
  • Mentor - You will provide mentorship and guidance to cross-functional partners and teams.
  • Question - Our data-driven approach and entrepreneurial culture support an environment where employees are expected to share ideas. You will be encouraged to challenge the status quo in drug discovery and think broadly about how we can apply our technology and remove the biases that come with traditional science.


  • Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry or Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry
  • 7-10 years experience in medicinal chemistry drug discovery with a strong record of productivity as demonstrated by patents/publications
  • Expertise as chemistry lead of drug discovery programs
  • Expertise in synthetic organic chemistry
  • Experience in hit identification and expansion, lead generation, and optimization
  • Experience with outsourced medicinal chemistry efforts
  • Demonstrable creative thinking skills, intellectual curiosity, internal motivation, and the ability to prioritize multiple projects and take calculated risks


  • Coverage of health, vision, and dental insurance premiums (in most cases 100%)
  • 401(k) with generous matching (immediate vesting)
  • Stock option grants
  • Two one-week paid company closures (summer and winter) in addition to flexible, generous vacation/sick leave
  • Commuter benefit and vehicle parking to ease your commute
  • Complimentary chef-prepared lunches and well-stocked snack bars
  • Generous paid parental leave (including adoptive)
  • Fully-paid gym membership to Metro Fitness, located just feet away from our new headquarters
  • New 100,000 square foot headquarters complete with a 70-foot climbing wall, showers, lockers, and bike parking


We start with various human cell types in our automated laboratory, where we perturb biology 100k different ways each week (e.g. model a disease of interest, add a chemical compound, or some combination of those). We image the resulting cells using high throughput microscopy, resulting in about 2 million new images or greater than 20 terabytes of data each week. These data are analyzed using computer vision and machine learning methods that help us measure how cell morphology changes in subtle ways in each biological context. We can answer direct questions (e.g. are there compounds that rescues a disease-specific set of morphological changes), and over time as our dataset has increased, we can ask more complex questions across biology. From the outset, our approach is agnostic to preconceived notions and dogma in biology, enabling Recursion to operate in novel target space. Potential  treatments from this platform are then evaluated by our discovery biology team, who develop a literature-based understanding of the disease and use traditional wet-lab approaches to confirm and prioritize the hits.


Recursion is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all applicable federal, state, and local fair employment practices laws. Recursion strictly prohibits and does not tolerate discrimination against applicants because of race, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, gender (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law.