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Director, Small Molecule Biochemistry & Biophysics

Novo Nordisk
Lexington, MA
Start date
Apr 14, 2024

Job Details

About the Department                                                                                                                                     

Our Boston Research & Development hub, anchored in the greater Boston area, brings together the best minds in life science innovation. The teams located in facilities in Lexington, Watertown and Cambridge reflect the full R&D continuum, from early research through late-stage clinical development. Here, we are building for the future, creating a distinct R&D community based on collaboration, partnerships, and cutting-edge research across multiple modalities and therapeutic areas. We recognize that improving human health starts here and that patients rely on us. Our greater Boston R&D hub merges biotech speed and agility with large pharmaceutical company quality, resources,and stability, uniting the best of both worlds to develop new medicines for patients.

The Position

The Director of Small Molecule Biochemistry and Biophysics will be responsible for assisting in the development and expansion of the small molecule research unit at Novo Nordisk. He/She will have a mandate to contribute to building the team and improve operational efficiencies as well as implementing best practices.  He/She will be responsible, together with the LoB, for driving strategic decisions throughout the various stages of the small molecule drug discovery process from target identification all the way to IND filing. He/she will also be supporting external collaborations as well as leading the screening activities for small molecule internal drug discovery projects leveraging a highly outsourced CRO model.

Responsibilities include: contribution to recruiting and growing the team, guiding and mentoring junior staff; setting up the screening and Hit identification strategies for new programs; leading the assay development /validation processes, identifying  drugs mechanism of action, collaboratively interacting cross TAs within NN; leading and managing a number of contract research organizations (CRO) across the globe; supporting  the preparation of patents, reports, scientific publication and serving as functional expert in supporting IND filings.



Reports to Vice President (VP) of Small Molecule Research (SMR; GRT).

Will interact and closely collaborate with other Small Molecule Unit Scientists (medicinal chemists), Data Science & Innovation (DSI) computational chemists, Global Drug Discovery (GDD) biology, Global Drug Discovery and Safety (GDDS); Global Research Technologies (GRT).

Will lead and interact daily with biochemistry and biophysics CROs and Comp Chemistry CROs globally.

Will guide and interact with key partners through research collaborations (industrial and/or academic).


Essential Functions

  • Managing, coaching, and mentoring scientists across the discovery functions and LoBs in order to develop their skills and build  small molecule organizational capabilities
  • Enhance operational efficiency and implementing best practices within LoB
  • Critically evaluates project data while rigorously driving data-driven Go/No-go decisions, including the identification of resource constraints and bottlenecks
  • Make recommendations to senior leadership for budget oversight
  • Communicate project plans/priorities to management.
  • Lead functional groups for the development, validation, and implementation of biochemical & biophysical assays for small molecule screens and small molecule MoA.
  • Recruit, manage global CROs and external partners on a day-to-day basis to achieve project goals.
  • Develop and direct collaborations with external CROs performing assay development and transfer, library screening, and hit validation across projects
  • Has accountability for CROs timelines and data quality.
  • Effectively communicates and collaborates across global sites. Represents the organization through external communication of impactful scientific research in the form of presentation at external conferences and publication in scientific journals and patents. Proposes and oversees external collaborations.
  • Leader in the field of small molecule biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology and high throughput screening.
    Key  contributor to strategic decisions and the execution of drug discovery efforts.
  • Contributes subject matter expertise to develop the research agenda with a clear understanding of the link between scientific project goals and overall long-term business needs. Proposes new projects that support the strategic agenda and address gaps in technological capabilities and therapeutic areas.


Physical Requirements

Up to 5% international travel may be required.



  • Ph.D. in biochemistry and/or enzymology required
  • 15+ years of industrial biochemistry and enzymology experience
  • 5+ years of direct management experience preferred
  • 5+ years of leading biochemistry & biophysics in a hybrid model (managing CRO networks)
  • Experience managing, coaching, and mentoring scientists across the discovery functions and LoBs  in order to develop their skills and build organizational capabilities
  • Experience enhancing operational efficiency and implementing best practices within LoB
  • Experience developing and executing strategies to address key aspects of small molecule mechanism of action
  • Expert in enzymology, enzyme kinetics and current assay formats for multiple enzyme classes and protein-protein-interaction targets
  • Expert in Steady-State and pre-steady State kinetics to determine enzyme and inhibitor mechanism of action, HTS assay approaches utilizing spectroscopic methods, including FP, HTRF, alphaLisa and radiometric methods, Biophysical approaches- Biacore highly valued, ITC, MST, Additional Hit finding knowledge: DEL, ASMS and fragment based screening
  • Expert and hands-on experience with high throughput screening and hit validation techniques
  • Demonstrated highly successful project execution across disease areas using in-house and/or CRO resources leading to preclinical and clinical development candidates
  • Impeccable attention to detail; Maintain detailed documentation
  • Expert at writing IND reports and scientific papers
  • Broad experience with protein crystallography
  • Broad experience of recruiting, managing and working with CRO partners
  • Track record of innovation and impact on programs documented with co-inventorship on issued patents and authorship of publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Demonstrates excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office suite of products (Outlook, Excel, Word, PowerPoint)


We commit to an inclusive recruitment process and equality of opportunity for all our job applicants.


At Novo Nordisk we recognize that it is no longer good enough to aspire to be the best company in the world. We need to aspire to be the best company for the world and we know that this is only possible with talented employees with diverse perspectives, backgrounds and cultures. We are therefore committed to creating an inclusive culture that celebrates the diversity of our employees, the patients we serve and communities we operate in. Together, we’re life changing.


Novo Nordisk is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by local, state or federal laws, rules or regulations.


If you are interested in applying to Novo Nordisk and need special assistance or an accommodation to apply, please call us at 1-855-411-5290. This contact is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.


Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines, and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 54,400 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries. For more information visit

Our US Research & Development hub, located in the Greater Boston area, brings together the best talent to drive life science innovation. Located in Lexington, Watertown and Cambridge, our teams reflect the full scope of R&D, from early research through late-stage clinical development. We are building for the future by creating a distinct R&D community based on collaboration, partnerships, and cutting-edge research across multiple modalities and therapeutic areas. We recognize that improving human health starts here and that patients rely on us. By combining the speed and agility of biotech with the quality, resources, and stability of a large pharmaceutical company, our US R&D hub will benefit from the best of both worlds to develop new medicines that meet the needs of patients.


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75 Hayden Avenue

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