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Scientist, Structural Biology

Structural Biology | South San Francisco, CA | Full Time

Job Description

Scientist, Structural Biology


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 first marketed drug, 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 South San Francisco, California.


We are seeking a highly motivated structural biologist who is interested in drug discovery.  This position will be a critical member of the Structural Chemistry and Informatics team.  This is an exceptional opportunity to gain experience in structure-guided drug discovery in a successful biotech company.  



  • Carry out high throughput crystallization, synchrotron data collection and processing
  • Determine and interpret crystal structures of protein-ligand complexes, with emphasis on high quality ligand fitting
  • Collaborate closely and effectively with protein chemists, chemists and researchers across disciplines and serve as a resource for colleagues in a team environment
  • Prepare and deliver scientific presentations and reports to communicate structural findings to colleagues within and outside structural biology department
  • Influence discovery decisions and contribute significantly to corporate goals and project milestones
  • Maintain a command of relevant scientific literature, research and mine public domain structure data, and evaluate implications for internal projects
  • Assume responsibility for maintaining laboratory equipment, facilitate their use by other scientists, and maintain clear, detailed, and up-to-date experimental records
  • Conduct other duties as assigned


Position Requirements & Experience:

  • PhD in Structural Biology
  • 1-3 years post-graduate experience in independent research which may include post-doctoral training (new PhD with exceptional qualification will also be considered)
  • Extensive experience with macromolecule crystallization, synchrotron X-ray diffraction data collection, data processing, and structure determination and refinement
  • Understanding the principles and familiar with various phasing (MAD/SAD/MR) methods, density modification and model building techniques, refinement, and structure validation methods
  • Expert knowledge on protein purification, protein sample characterization and protein construct design for crystallography
  • In-depth knowledge of the principles of protein structure, conformational dynamics, protein-ligand interactions, and implications for drug design
  • Highly motivated and able to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Demonstrated technical proficiency, scientific creativity, and problem-solving ability

Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills are essential in this collaborative work environment

  • Desire to learn and tackle new challenges is imperative