Principle Scientist, Medicinal Chemistry

Palo Alto, CA
Aug 16, 2019
Required Education
Position Type
Full time

Primary Function:

The principle scientist in Medicinal Chemistry will serve as a chemistry team leader for Oncology and Inflammation programs, including both internal and external resources. He or She will play an important role in Zai’s small molecule drug discovery programs.

The candidate will report to the head of Medicinal Chemistry and collaborate extensively with DMPK and Biology teams. He or She will oversee outsourced activities and lead a small internal team.

Major Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Irenitiate and drive chemistry of one or more small molecule drug discovery projects. Investigate the feasibility of applying a wide variety of drug design principles and concepts to design new target molecules for lead discovery and lead optimization.
  • Closely follow emerging results of biological testing, ADME characterization, and other lead profiling assays; proactively propose new strategies and new target molecules to improve key drug attributes. Drive SAR optimization cycle to achieve project goals.
  • Work collaboratively with both internal and external teams to solve synthetic challenges and resolve project hurdles
  • Manage external chemistry resources by setting up priorities, monitoring progress, quality and timeline
  • Proactively seek out new information in the literature and incorporate into individual project(s) as well as the overall program
  • Be responsible for inventory upkeep, data tracking and archiving, and supply ordering
  • Participate in intellectual property analysis and contribute to patent generation and application preparation
  • Communicate effectively within project teams. Present chemistry strategy, plan and progress at project team meetings.
  • Aid in fostering a culture of authenticity, open communication, transparency, integrity, mutual respect, freedom to brainstorm and share thoughts and ideas


  • Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry and post-doctoral research on a synthetic or biological project; with good knowledge of modern synthetic methodology
  • 5+ years of research experience in a high-performing biotechnology environment and experience in lead identification and lead optimization. Familiarity with structure-activity relationships and structure-based design.
  • Good understanding of various scientific disciplines in addition to medicinal chemistry, including pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism, and toxicology, among others
  • Understanding of molecular attributes that can enhance success in early development and beyond
  • Demonstrated ability to resolve key scientific hurdles by effectively utilizing available information and technical expertise. Demonstrated project engagement skill.