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Scientist, Assay & Screening

Research | 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, including two marketed drug. Zelboraf™ (vemurafenib) was the first precision medicine to be approved for the treatment of BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma; Turalio™ (pexidartinib) was the first FDA-approved therapy for tenosynovial giant cell tumor. 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. 


The Scientist will report directly to the Director of Assay and Screening. This is an exceptional opportunity to be a critical member of the research team in a successful biopharmaceutical company and bring drugs from ideas to the clinic.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Develop and execute appropriate in vitro screening strategies for small molecule hit discovery and lead optimization
  • Establish and perform novel functional and cell-based assays to assess the bioactivity of small-molecule drug candidates as potential therapeutic agents 
  • Research and champion novel small molecule drug targets, conduct proof-of-concept and feasibility studies
  • Work closely and collaboratively with scientists across organization including assay & screening, in vivo pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, translational and clinical research, provide expertise to project teams, play a key role in the initiation of projects and remain key contributors to project teams throughout the project lifecycle, 
  • Contribute substantially to research strategies and corporate goals
  • 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 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 and clinical concept development (e.g. rational combinations)
  • Other duties as assigned

Position Requirements & Experience:

  • PhD in an appropriate field (e.g. molecular/cellular biology) with at least two years of postdoctoral or industry experience
  • Highly motivated with proven record of scientific achievements (strong publication record)
  • Demonstrated experience in molecular/cell biology with a strong working knowledge of cell signaling and oncology
  • Significant laboratory research experience, proficient in standard biochemical, cellular and molecular techniques; experience with standard laboratory instrumentation and detection techniques, FRET, FP, fluorescence, luminescence, AlphaLISA/AlphaScreen technology, microscale thermophoresis, etc in drug discovery is desired
  • Experience with lab automation, robotics and drug discovery databases for data entry and analysis (e.g. ActivityBase, Spotfire, D360) is desired 
  • 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
  • Candidates must be authorized to work in the U.S.


Plexxikon is a Berkeley-based small business with approximately 65 employees, located just off interstate 80.  We offer a chance to work with talented people in a collaborative environment and provide top-notch benefits including health insurance, generous time off and much more.  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, applicants who require accommodation in the job application process may contact the careers email at for assistance.  For more information about equal employment opportunity protections, please view the ‘EEO is the Law’ poster. 


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