Director of Discovery Biology (Project Team Leader)

92130, San Diego
Apr 06, 2021
Required Education
Position Type
Full time

Do you want to be a part of a Team, passionate about what they do and the impact they will have on patients? Then, you’ll want to be a part of Kinnate Biopharma Inc. We are a small, but growing, biotech in the precision oncology space looking for equally dedicated, passionate, and nimble people to take on this journey with us! Our approach to research is unique. Our people are incredible at what they do as they support each other through every trial and triumph. Bring your passion! #patientsarewaiting!

Summary Description of Role:                                  

Kinnate is seeking a Director of Discovery Biology, with deep knowledge of cancer drug discovery and capability to be a Program Team co-Leader. The successful candidate will be responsible for collaboratively developing a biology strategy, and the needed assays and models that are relevant for well-defined target profiles across multiple programs. The role will lead a collaborative team of internal scientists to design, schedule and manage effective execution of experiments conducted at CROs that inform lead optimization and the characterize of development candidates.  The ideal candidate will have a strong background in cancer cell biology and in vitro pharmacology with a record of cross-functional, collaborative achievements to advance oncology research programs.


  • Co-lead high performing, collaborative drug discovery projects aiming to deliver small molecule therapeutics to treat cancer.
  • Develop effective biology strategies, and the needed assays and models to successfully drive drug discovery programs and therapeutic candidates to the clinic.
  • Develop appropriate counter screens and effective selectivity screens to proactively address key compound safety profiles and/or on-target, mechanism-based safety profiles.
  • Contribute to strategic research portfolio planning.
  • Spearheads the evaluation of new project opportunities, feasibility assessments, summary of competitive landscape in collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines.
  • Responsible for the planning, implementation, and management of internal and external resources for the support and advancement of one or more programs and work closely with external research collaborators to delivery on ambitious drug discovery milestones.
  • Ensure knowledge gained from biologic data is effectively integrated into project teams through efficient QC, data upload and collaborative interpretation.
  • Represents discovery projects at management meetings and to external stakeholders.
  • Collaborates with Project Management to develop timelines and budgets.
  • Ensures that team/CRO tasks are completed appropriately – establishes measurable research milestones.
  • Contributes significantly to the planning and preparation of documentation sections required for regulatory filings (e.g. INDs).
  • Author quality written records, documents, publications, and presentations.

Listed responsibilities are an essential, but not exhaustive, list of the expected initial duties associated with the position. The role will evolve over time and changes to individual responsibilities may occur due to business needs.


  • Ph.D. in Biology related field with 7+ years of industry experience in cancer drug discovery, or equivalent.
  • A strong record of individual, team-level and leadership contributions to successful small molecule drug discovery programs.
  • Demonstrated leadership of a high performing teams.
  • Deep scientific expertise in cancer biology and cellular pharmacology.
  • An outstanding record of quality publications, oral presentations, and contributions to key corporate documents (e.g. drug candidate nomination, briefing documents)
  • Experience characterizing selective target modulation and downstream MoA studies in appropriate cellular context and to ensure translation to relevant disease setting and potential target-based safety risks.


  • Ability to build strong relationships with co-workers of various backgrounds and expertise
  • Ability to function at a high level in a team setting whether leading the group or acting as an individual contributor
  • Values-based leadership consistent with Kinnate Biopharma’s Core Values
  • Engaged in the mission of Kinnate Biopharma and acting with Flexibility and Integrity.

Company Overview:

Kinnate Biopharma is driven by the urgency of cancer patients who need more effective therapies. We utilize our deep expertise in structure-based drug discovery, translational research and patient-driven precision medicine, which we refer to as our Kinnate Discovery Engine, to develop targeted therapies. Our lead programs include candidates in preclinical development for cancers that are driven by specific oncogenic alterations in either the BRAF kinase gene, or in the FGFR2 and FGFR3 kinase genes. To help move our programs forward, Kinnate has brought together a management team of precision oncology experts and scientific advisors who publish widely-cited research on topics relevant to the study and treatment of cancer and lead clinical units at experienced precision medicine cancer centers in the United States.

We recently closed our $276M initial public offering and are listed on Nasdaq. Prior to that, we closed three significant venture capital financings, including our $98M Series C round in July and August 2020 and our $74.5M Series B round in December 2019.  Kinnate has a passionate and seasoned Team, guided by industry leaders in precision medicine and drug discovery, developing a focused portfolio strategy, and leveraging unique team expertise.  Our Research and Development team is based primarily in San Diego, California and a portion of our management team is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  We are a small but growing precision oncology company with a bright future. 


Kinnate Biopharma Inc. is committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive company. We provide equal opportunity in the terms and conditions of employment for all employees and job applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or gender expression, national origin, disability or veteran status. Kinnate Biopharma Inc. also complies with all applicable national, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements of applicable law.

WHY POSITION IS OPEN:  New position to support expansion of the company’s operations