Head of Target Discovery and Translational Research

Anywhere in the US
$140,000 to $170,000 commensurate with experience and qualifications
Oct 18, 2020
Required Education
Position Type
Full time

At the Chordoma Foundation, we do more than simply fund research; we take responsibility for catalyzing the discovery of better treatments by creating a research ecosystem conducive to progress and by proactively and comprehensively supporting high-impact research and drug development projects.

Building on recent research advances, the Chordoma Foundation is now seeking a therapeutically oriented scientist to lead the worldwide search for better treatments for this disease. As Head of Target Discovery and Translational Research you will:

  • Drive the discovery, validation and prioritization of therapeutic targets for chordoma through both academic collaborations and contract research
  • Generate preclinical data and disease insights to guide repurposing of existing drugs or combinations for chordoma, and/or the discovery and early clinical development of new drug candidates against chordoma-relevant targets
  • Collaborate with investigators and companies to plan and implement scientifically sound early stage clinical studies

In this position you will have a bird’s eye view over the entire chordoma research landscape and a wide-open opportunity to pursue the most promising science across a variety of domains, technologies and therapeutic modalities, unconstrained by academic or industry incentive structures. You will advance research both by supporting the work of academic investigators and companies, and – akin to a virtual biotech – by directing your own research using Foundation-owned biospecimens and disease models. And you will do so within a collaborative, constructive and mission-oriented research community focused on improving the lives of patients.

In time, you will become the world’s foremost expert on the biology of this disease, and will have an outsized impact on this burgeoning field. While only time and good science can tell which therapies will ultimately prove effective for chordoma, it is virtually certain that when they are found you will have had a significant hand in bringing them to fruition.


  • New full time position
  • Fully remote, open to candidates located anywhere in the U.S.
  • Travel required up to 20% of the time (outside of the pandemic once regular travel resumes)
  • Reports to the Executive Director
  • Manages multiple consultants and contract research service providers


  • Target Discovery:
    • Systematically gather and track evidence regarding potential therapeutic targets for chordoma
    • Promote basic research on chordoma by overseeing outsourced biospecimen, model and data repositories
    • Proactively initiate and support high-priority target discovery projects in collaboration with academic investigators and companies
    • Direct target discovery and validation research through contract labs using CF biospecimens and disease models
    • Oversee the CF Drug Screening Program, evaluating promising therapies and combinations in cell line and PDX models – including therapies nominated internally and by academic and industry collaborators
  • Translation:
    • Collaborate with the Foundation’s Head of New Drug Discovery to support preclinical development and evaluation of new drugs in partnership with academic and company partners
    • Work with the Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Boards to prioritize therapeutic agents – new and repurposed – to take forward into clinical trials
    • Oversee execution of preclinical experiments to enable and inform design of scientifically sound clinical studies (including efficacy, PK and/or PD studies)
    • Work with clinical investigators, consultants, and companies to design informative early stage clinical studies of new and repurposed drugs or combinations based on your knowledge of disease biology and the drugs’ pharmacological properties
    • Help bring high priority trials to fruition by recruiting clinical investigators and/or company sponsors as needed, providing grant support for investigator-initiated trials and/or supporting development of grant applications to other funders


  • Doctoral degree (PhD, MD/PhD or PharmD) with a focus on cell or molecular biology, computational biology, chemical biology, pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences or closely related area of study
  • At least seven years of post-doctoral work experience in oncology research; experience in industry preferred
  • Deep knowledge of cancer biology and the oncology drug discovery landscape
  • Expertise in designing and interpreting in-vitro and in-vivo experiments to support drug discovery and early stage clinical trials
  • Ability to interpret and derive novel insights from a wide variety of data types
  • Love of learning and an ability to rapidly assimilate new information about disease biology and relevant technologies
  • Experience supervising contract research providers, ensuring high standards of productivity and quality
  • Highly organized and able to successfully advance multiple projects in parallel
  • Excellent relationship management skills, with the ability to build and maintain effective partnerships and earn the trust and cooperation of researchers
  • An optimistic outlook and an entrepreneurial approach, with the ability to conceive of and implement new solutions or programs as needed
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including a strong ability to translate scientific concepts into terms understandable to business and lay audiences
  • Strong inclination to use technology to maximize efficiency


The Chordoma Foundation offers a competitive salary and benefits package including:

  • 100% employer-sponsored health insurance plan
  • Dental and vision insurance
  • Short and long-term disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • SIMPLE IRA with company matching
  • Holidays and paid time off

Other perks of this job include:

  • Substantial schedule flexibility
  • Significant visibility and network-building opportunities with premier scientists, companies and investors
  • Support for professional development, learning and skills building
  • Highly nimble, efficient and tech-enabled work environment
  • Opportunities to initiate, build and own new programs, projects and alliances
  • Personal connection with the patients and families whose lives your work will touch


The Chordoma Foundation is a nonprofit organization created by patients and families to be an agent of change on behalf of those affected by chordoma – a rare bone cancer of the skull and spine. We envision a future in which everyone diagnosed with chordoma is able to overcome their disease and maintain their quality of life. To realize this vision, we help patients and families dealing with chordoma take on their disease, armed with information from the world’s leading medical experts as well as support from a community of peers. At the same time, we help doctors, researchers, and companies work together to accelerate the development of better treatments for the disease. Since 2007, our work has enabled thousands of patients to get the care they need, produced the first published treatment guidelines for chordoma, and advanced research that has resulted in seven new clinical trials. Now, with a motivated community of patients, doctors, and researchers, and new, even more powerful drugs in development, we are on the cusp of changing the outlook for individuals with this disease. We are looking for passionate and entrepreneurial professionals to join us in this quest.