Head of Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Design

insitro inc
South San Francisco, CA
Oct 07, 2021
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
The Opportunity
Machine learning, integrated with data generation at scale, lies at the core of insitro’s approach to rethinking drug discovery and development. As Head of Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Design you will lead our oligonucleotide medicinal chemistry efforts, and in the process, help us transform how oligonucleotide drugs are designed, through the use of powerful predictive models, relating molecular structure to drug property, built through machine learning. You will couple these models with new ways of exploring and interrogating oligonucleotide molecular property space, achieving significant advances in the speed, scale and success rates of hit discovery and lead optimization. You will drive our oligonucleotide therapeutic design across a portfolio of therapeutic programs, delivering a stream of outstanding clinical candidates, and helping advance these into the clinic. 

You will work closely with world-class machine learning, data engineering, high throughput biology and translational science teams to grow our oligonucleotide drug design capabilities and scale our therapeutic portfolio. You will partner with therapeutic teams to design and execute research project plans which reflect insitro’s data science-led philosophy for oligonucleotide drug discovery. You will have demonstrated your ability to work in a highly cross-disciplinary, fast-moving and fluid environment, and will draw upon extensive experience driving oligonucleotide drug discovery projects forward. You will possess strong interpersonal and leadership skills, an ability to lead cross-functionally, a strong collaborative work ethic, ability to adapt to changing needs, and the capacity to multitask to meet key goals. Strong communication and presentation skills are essential to success in this position. Specifically, you will:

- Build and lead the insitro Oligonucleotide Therapeutic Design organization
- Drive all aspects of oligonucleotide drug design across our portfolio of therapeutic projects
- Lead oligonucleotide chemistry for oligonucleotide drug discovery projects, including conception, planning, design, execution, and troubleshooting of experiments to support pre-clinical evaluation of oligonucleotides and their transition into clinical development
- Define a new approach to oligonucleotide drug discovery, enabled by machine learning and both internal and external access to oligonucleotide molecular property data at scale
- Partner with colleagues in machine learning, data engineering, and high throughput chemistry groups to develop and expand our suite of in silico oligonucleotide drug design tools
- Partner with colleagues in translational science to formulate and execute therapeutic project plans through to clinical candidate delivery and beyond
- Oversee significant external CRO resources and ensure their efficient incorporation into our oligonucleotide drug discovery processes
- Represent insitro in interactions with strategic partners in all oligonucleotide drug design aspects of these collaborations
- Drive improvements in our overall oligonucleotide drug discovery process, finding efficiencies at every stage of our pipeline

You will be joining a biotech startup that has long-term stability due to significant funding, providing many opportunities for meaningful impact. You will work closely with a very talented team, learn a broad range of skills, and help shape insitro’s culture, strategic direction, and outcomes. Join us, and help make a difference to patients!

About You
- Ph.D. in a synthetic chemistry or computational chemistry discipline, or equivalent experience
- 10+ years of experience in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry, with 5+ years of direct experience in oligonucleotide drug design
- An outstanding scientific track record in your area of expertise
- Deep understanding of the oligonucleotide drug discovery process
- First-hand experience of leading multiple oligonucleotide drug discovery and early-stage development projects
- First hand experience in setting up and using CROs for oligonucleotide drug discovery
- Direct experience of building, scaling and leading an oligonucleotide drug design organization
- Extensive knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the use of in silico predictive models in oligonucleotide drug design
- Track record of discovering oligonucleotide clinical candidates which have progressed to human clinical studies
- Working knowledge of pre-IND oligonucleotide development phase
- Strong team/collaborative skills
- Demonstrated leadership abilities
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- A desire to transform oligonucleotide drug discovery and help patients

Nice to Have
- Familiarity with the application of machine learning methods to the oligonucleotide drug design space
- Experience in targeting oligonucleotides to specific cell types and intracellular compartments

Benefits at insitro
- Excellent medical, dental, and vision coverage
- Open vacation policy
- Team lunches (catered daily)
- Complementary onsite barista and snacks 
- Commuter benefits
- Paid parental leave
- Flexible work schedule (on site and remote)

About insitro
insitro is a drug discovery and development company using machine learning and data generation at scale to transform the way that drugs are discovered and delivered to patients. We rely on human genetic cohorts, human-derived cellular disease models, and high-throughput biology and chemistry to identify coherent patient segments, actionable therapeutic targets, and new or existing chemical matter. The goal is to deliver predictive insights to improve the probability of success and reduce the number of costly dead ends along the R&D journey. The company has established enabling collaborations with Gilead in NASH and Bristol Myers Squibb in ALS and is building a pipeline of wholly owned and partnered medicines leveraging its unique insights on patient biomarkers, targets, and molecules. insitro is located in South San Francisco, CA and has raised over $600M from top tech, biotech, and crossover investors since formation in 2018. For more information on insitro, please visit the company’s website at www.insitro.com.