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Scientist I/II, Computational Chemistry

Computational Chemistry | South San Francisco, CA | Full Time

Job Description

Scientist I/II, Computational Chemistry 

Plexxikon, a member of the Daiichi Sankyo Group, is a leader in the discovery and development of novel, small molecule pharmaceuticals. The company has utilized its proprietary discovery platform to create a portfolio of clinical and preclinical stage programs in a number of therapeutic areas. Plexxikon’s most advanced program, Zelboraf® (vemurafenib), was the first oral targeted therapy for both metastatic and unresectable melanomas and is approved in over 60 countries worldwide.

Plexxikon's novel discovery approach, experienced management and scientific team, and partnerships that support later stage development, have been key drivers of the company's success since it began operations in 2001.

We are seeking a highly motivated computational chemist. The scientist will be a critical part of Plexxikon’s research team, contributing to multiple drug discovery programs, and will report to the Head of Structural Chemistry. This is an exceptional opportunity to gain experience in a successful biotech company.  


Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Apply computational strategies to generate structural hypotheses and assist in scaffold discovery and small molecule drug design
  • Develop and adapt new computational chemistry methodologies to improve productivity and accuracy and maximize the impact of protein-small molecule crystal structures
  • Influence discovery decisions and contribute significantly to corporate goals and project milestones   
  • Maintain close and effective collaborations with chemists and researchers across disciplines and serve as a resource for colleagues in a team environment
  • Maintain a command of relevant scientific and patent literature and evaluate implications for internal projects
  • Prepare and deliver scientific presentations and reports to communicate complex scientific problems and data to colleagues within and outside structural chemistry department
  • Maintain clear, detailed, and up-to-date records
  • Assume responsibility for maintaining structural bioinformatics and chemical modeling software and computational grid environment and facilitate their use


Position Requirements & Experience:

  • PhD in Structural Biology, Computational Chemistry, Pharmacology, or a closely related field with 2+ years experience in the research environment of a biotech or pharmaceutical company (candidates in postdoctoral training will also be considered)
  • Experience with iterative structure-guided lead generation with track record of success
  • In-depth knowledge of the principles of protein structure and medicinal chemistry and broad experience in late stage lead optimization of ADME/Tox properties
  • Experience with combinatorial library design, 3D pharmacophore/docking approaches, molecular dynamics simulations, free energy methods, QM/electronic structure calculation, and small molecule conformational analysis
  • Programming experience in Perl, Python, Java, and/or C/C++
  • A track record of accomplishments (including patent and literature publications) demonstrating technical proficiency, independent thinking and scientific creativity
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work independently and effectively
  • Effective in mining computational, chemical and other scientific literature
  • Exhibit flexibility and adaptability as projects and goals shift
  • Demonstrated ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills


Plexxikon, an equal opportunity employer, is located in South San Francisco. 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.

If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, please submit your resume or CV, cover letter and salary requirements.   All submissions will be evaluated and interviews will be conducted for those applicants who most strongly fit our needs. If you are not contacted for an interview, your resume will remain on file and active for available positions for a period of one year.

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