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Senior Scientist

Initial Therapeutics
South San Francisco, California
$151,200 - $184,800 per annum.
Start date
Jun 6, 2024

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TITLE: Senior Scientist, Tumor Biology

REPORTS TO: Executive Director Discovery Science

FLSA STATUS: Full-Time/Exempt

About Initial Therapeutics:

Initial Therapeutics is pursuing a bold and original mission: discovering and developing a new class of small-molecule medicines designed to halt pathogenic protein formation in the earliest stages.  Initial’s approach is unique and starkly differentiated from protein degradation and other interventions that recognize and tackle proteins only after they have been fully formed.

Initial Therapeutics was formed in 2020 and is currently operating in labs in South San Francisco, with a substantial (8- figure) Series A commitment.  Initial is founded by world-renowned scientists who bring relevant expertise and proprietary technology to enable them to address high-confidence, heretofore difficult-to-drug targets in cancer and neurodegeneration.  Screening of proprietary libraries is in progress.

Initial Therapeutics is founder-led and offers a dynamic start-up environment with a close-knit team of highly skilled, mission-driven professionals. We seek colleagues who are inspired to push the boundaries of small molecule discovery using novel approaches and who excel at identifying innovative solutions to challenging problems.

At Initial Therapeutics you’ll find a career where every day brings you adventures, challenges, and breakthroughs.  Join a dynamic, diverse, and growing team dedicated to developing transformative therapies that will revolutionize the future of cancer treatment and outcomes. Initial offers a competitive compensation and benefits package.

Position Summary:

We are seeking a highly motivated Senior Scientist of tumor biology with expertise in cell cycle regulation and signaling pathways to support our small molecule drug discovery efforts and efficiently progress into the clinic. This role is responsible for designing and executing cell-based and in vivo PD assays with a focus on quick win/fail early strategies and early proof of concept. The successful candidate will identify and validate cancer targets, have strong assay development skills to map out the mechanism of action (MOA), and generate high-quality data to support in-house oncology pipelines.  This scientist will also participate in and potentially lead drug discovery project teams.


Primary Responsibilities:

  • Independently devise, execute, and analyze hypothesis-driven in vitro cell-based assays to validate targets and early hits, support SAR, explore mechanisms of action and drug resistance, and drug combinations to advance oncology programs.
  • Routinely utilize broad technical expertise to develop and advance innovative in vitro or ex-vivo drug testing methods and analytical strategies to support Hit-to-lead and lead optimization programs to the IND filing.
  • Effectively communicate hypotheses and work plans, timely troubleshooting, establish assay protocols, deliver high-quality data, and be familiar with the database to meet project timelines and goals.
  • Establish and maintain collaborations with cross-functional teams such as in-vivo pharmacology, bioinformatics, and Chemistry to align on scientific rationales and data generation to support project advancement.
  • Stay up to date on emerging data and current trends in oncology drug discovery and tumor biology research to support oncology pipelines.
  • Makes effective and persuasive presentations on sensitive or complex topics to senior management, external customers, collaborators, and public groups.
  • Maintain accurate and well-organized laboratory records and notebooks, prepare technical reports, and present data in project team and company meetings.
  • Stay current on the latest scientific advancements and trends in molecular biology and oncology research.


  • A proven strong track record of publications and extensive experience in tumor biology and small molecular drug discovery is highly desired.
  • A strong expertise in cell cycle regulation and signaling pathways and a thorough understanding of genetics and ribosome biology are highly preferred.
  • Proficiency in emerging cell biology technologies towards novel experimental design, and strategy into action while employing strong consensus-building skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to design, execute, and mentor junior scientists in the creation of automated assays to support weekly SAR screening is required.
  • A thorough understanding of the small molecular drug discovery process, including target identification & validation, assay and drug screen scheme development, and PD marker discovery, etc. is required.
  • Sufficient experience in drug discovery and MOA mapping to serve as a biology core function at a project team and to communicate high-level scientific/assay strategies and deliverables to senior management is required.
  • Excellent problem-solving ability, drive for results, and a strong sense of urgency are critical, as well as the ability to communicate complex issues concisely and orchestrate plans to resolve issues and mitigate risks is required. Foster a science-driven, goal-oriented culture that values innovation, teamwork, agility, transparency, and accountability for the data.



Ph.D. in Cell Biology, tumor biology, or related fields with a minimum of 5 years of relevant industry experience in oncology drug discovery.

The preceding job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities and qualifications required of employees assigned to the job.


Vaccination Policy:
Initial Therapeutics requires employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Accommodation may be made for approved medical or religious reasons.


Salary Range:

The salary range for this position is $151,200 – $184,800 per year, for employees based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Compensation will be determined based on several factors including, but not limited to, skill set, years of experience and education.


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