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Scientist 2, Medicinal Chemistry

Chemistry | Berkeley, CA | Full Time

Job Description

Plexxikon, a member of the Daiichi Sankyo Group, is a leader in the discovery and development of novel, small molecule pharmaceuticals. The company utilizes its proprietary discovery platform to successfully develop a portfolio of competitively differentiated clinical and preclinical stage compounds in a number of therapeutic areas. Plexxikon’s most advanced program, Zelboraf™ (vemurafenib) was the first precision medicine to be approved for the treatment of BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma.   Plexxikon's demonstrated capability in discovery and early development uniquely positions the company to develop multiple commercial franchises for different therapeutic indications, and to create significant value for Plexxikon, Daiichi Sankyo and its collaborators.

Plexxikon's novel discovery approach, combined with experienced management and scientific teams, a broad network of scientific and clinical experts, and partnerships supporting later stage development, have been key drivers of the company's success since it began operations in 2001.  Plexxikon is a small business with approximately 70 employees based in Berkeley, California. 

The Scientist 2, Medicinal Chemistry position will be a critical part of Plexxikon’s Medicinal Chemistry team and will report directly to the Director of Medicinal Chemistry.  

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Initiate and execute the design, synthesis, purification and characterization of organic molecules via multi-step synthesis for evaluation as potential drug candidates
  • Propose and explore alternative synthetic routes and synthetic strategies, troubleshoot reactions and multistep reaction sequences
  • Contribute ideas for novel small molecules based on SAR, X-Ray crystallography and scientific literature
  • Maintain close collaborations with fellow chemists and researchers across disciplines in a team environment
  • Prepare and deliver scientific presentations and reports to communicate complex scientific problems and data to colleagues within and outside chemistry department
  • Maintain clear, detailed, and up-to-date records of research using electronic laboratory notebooks
  • Assume responsibility for maintaining laboratory equipment and facilitate their use by other chemists
  • Record, report and present experimental findings in departmental and company-wide meetings, communicate results to multi-disciplinary teams, generate standard operating procedures, prepare formal technical reports (including regulatory documents and publications) and study summaries, support overall laboratory efforts
  • Maintain a command of relevant scientific literature, identify emerging research trends, evaluate implications for internal projects, and leverage those insights to inform experimental design. 
  • Other duties as assigned

Position Requirements & Experience:

  • Doctorate degree in synthetic organic chemistry with at least 2 years of relevant research experience in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry
  • A track record of accomplishments (including literature publications) demonstrating technical proficiency, independent thinking and scientific creativity
  • Experience in design and execution of multistep synthesis; strong problem-solving skills 
  • Knowledge in structure-based drug design (SBDD) and skilled in improvement of activity and property through SAR study 
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work independently and effectively in a team-oriented, multidisciplinary environment
  • Effective in mining chemical and other scientific literature
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-pace, multi-disciplinary environment interacting with a diverse group of experts, comfortable with adjusting workloads based upon changing priorities and willing to take on new tasks, regardless of level or type of work, eager to be part of an organization to develop drugs for novel targets
  • Actively engaged in the thinking, creativity, rigor, experimentation, and collaborative approach to science, embracing the ideas and suggestions of others
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills are essential in this small,  collaborative work environment including demonstrable record of scientific presentations and publications

Plexxikon, an equal opportunity employer, is located in Berkeley, just off interstate 80.  We offer a chance to work with talented people in a collaborative environment and provide excellent benefits including health insurance, an annual performance bonus and long-term incentive program, generous time off and much more.   To learn more about Plexxikon, please visit our website at

As an equal opportunity employer, Plexxikon is committed to a diverse workforce. Employment decisions regarding recruitment and selection will be made without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, genetic information or characteristic, gender identity and expression, veteran status, or other non-job related characteristics or other prohibited grounds specified in applicable federal, state and local laws. In order to ensure reasonable accommodation for individuals protected by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Act of 1974, and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  For more information about equal employment opportunity protections, visit the EEOC.  

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