Head of Liver Biology

San Francisco, CA
Apr 20, 2022
Science/R&D, Biology
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Bachelors Degree
Position Type
Full time
Are you ready for the challenge of driving all Gordian’s preclinical research on NASH therapeutics, and supporting the company’s platform, computational and executive teams with your expert knowledge about liver biology?
We’ve shown that our platform predicts preclinical and clinical physiological responses from in vivo screens in NASH mouse models. With your help, we’re ready to use the platform for discovery screens in the most realistic models of disease.

The Destination:
Gordian Biotechnology is a therapeutics company focused on diseases of aging, the major unmet medical need of our generation. Age-related diseases have complex causes that include interactions with the aged environment, and traditional ex vivo screening methods have failed to produce effective treatments.

To address this problem, Gordian’s platform delivers and tests hundreds of therapeutics in individual animals. We thus scale in vivo efficacy testing to cover every therapeutic target at the very beginning of the drug discovery process. This lets us choose targets that really impact disease biology, to develop and commercialize therapies for the world’s deadliest diseases, and eventually for the processes of aging itself. 

The Journey:
Our mission is audacious, and the path will be full of both challenges and excitement. Two things characterize the Gordian experience: 1) We work as a team, with ownership in our own roles and trust in each other. 2) We strive for extraordinary outcomes, and in doing so grow our skills and capability.

Team – Relying on each other begins with transparency. We set clear goals, visibly connecting individuals and teams to our company objectives. This empowers each of us to make autonomous decisions about our work, knowing how they will affect the bigger picture. Our communication happens out in the open. We give and receive feedback from a perspective of helping each other grow, share mistakes, and ask for help.
Extraordinary – Every day, we ask ourselves ‘could this process/outcome be even better?’. Knowing our overall mission, we do what we think helps us make the most progress, without asking for permission. We don’t shy away from big challenges or unknown territory, but find a way to excel. Our colleagues are amazing, both at what they do and as people. They inspire us to keep up, to not let them down, and be inspiring in return. 

Like any cutting-edge research environment, Gordian doesn't believe in a standard 9 to 5 day. We set ambitious project goals and support each other to meet them, while maintaining the balance individuals need to thrive and achieve excellence. Our team is geared towards helping each other out and maintaining a culture of intellectual and social fun. We like getting things done and keep standing meetings to a minimum. This year, in accordance with our unlimited vacation policy, each member took an average of 2.5 weeks of (offline) vacation, not including major holidays. We unwind with weekly team lunches, and support each others’ projects both experimentally and by ‘pre-mortem’ meetings to discuss possible failure modes and experimental design. 

If this environment sounds appealing, help us bring it to life. We are at the beginning of a long journey, and want both your ability and your personality along for the ride. Our culture is a source of great pride; it represents both who we are, and who we wish to be. You can dive deeper here: https://www.gordian.bio/s/Values.pdf

The Details:
Gordian aims to provide everything you need to thrive. Beyond our community and science, you’ll have enough equity to be a true stakeholder in the company, competitive salary, full health/dental/vision/life insurance, 401k with match, whatever vacation you need to be at your peak, remote work flexibility, and access to world-class mentors and advisors to support your professional growth. Our labs are in the Dogpatch, near UCSF Mission Bay. 
And you:
You have a history of successful execution, both in- and outside of your job description. You want a chance to do your best work, immerse yourself and excel, alongside people who will inspire you and whom you’ll be excited to spend your days with. 

You truly want to play a key role in an early-stage startup: A fast-paced environment full of both uncertainty and new challenges, demanding relentless resourcefulness.

You have experience managing time-sensitive projects, in collaboration with other specialists. You have deep expertise, and broad curiosity. You are excited to use cutting-edge technology to find the best therapeutic targets, and turn those into drugs. 

Your primary mission as head of liver biology is to design in vivo NASH target screens, nominate hits for drug development, and assist in the development of therapeutic candidates. You will dive deep into study designs to map a path from promising screen hits to candidates with strong in vivo validation. You will plan from first principles, not just industry customs, utilizing human data, non-rodent models, and experienced advisors, to ensure that your design maximizes confidence in the clinical success of our candidates. You’ll be thinking a lot about the metabolic, inflammatory, and fibrosis aspects of disease, and the role of different cell types. After researching and designing these experiments you will lead a small team to execute them to perfection. While leading this work, you will also use your knowledge of liver biology in collaboration with the rest of the company. For example, you will guide therapeutic library design for our discovery screens, and work with our computational team to keep learning from our massive datasets. You will stay abreast of clinical news and approaches in NASH, to give input on company strategy. And you will work with the platform team to use our screens to answer your questions about liver biology. 

Your primary concern at Gordian is: “How do I know that this is real and robust?”. We want both validation and elimination of screen hits to happen as early as possible. Gordian is unique in that our in vivo discovery delivers results at a far greater scale than even the largest pharma company. This means that we aren’t dependent on the success of a single target, but can survey the landscape of disease biology for the most promising target (or combination of targets) before moving to therapeutic development. You will work with our CSO and drug development team to focus the company’s attention on those targets with outstanding potential to treat disease and help patients.

Your first project will be to evaluate the pros/cons of different animal models and target cell types for our NASH therapeutic screens. After 1 month you will decide on the ideal setup, and 3 months later you’ll have completed logistics and experimental preparations. You will also add your disease knowledge to our proprietary data and analyses, to prioritize targets for our next discovery screen alongside the CSO. By 6 months you will have designed and prepared the experiments to generate in vivo proof of concept data for therapeutic efficacy of one or more targets/combinations, while the platform team prepares and executes the discovery screen(s). You’ll own the project logistics, optimize liver protocols, and play a key role in interpreting our multidimensional screen readouts to prioritize candidates for testing. You will drive these experiments forward with care and speed, and will start to collaborate with our drug development team as targets are tested and move towards lead optimization and IND-enabling experiments.

To pull this off you’ll draw on >3 years of experience and a broad knowledge of liver biology, ideally with an emphasis on metabolism and/or inflammation. You’ll need a strong foundation of animal work, with bonus points for experience with primate and/or human models. You have been the primary owner of multiple successful projects, and are comfortable thinking about scaling experiments to hundreds of samples over multiple person-days. Experience with NASH biomarkers, liver gene delivery, and/or working alongside drug developers or computational biologists are all pluses. Your title at Gordian will be senior scientist or director, depending on experience.