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Sr. Scientist/Associate Director/Head of Structural Chemistry

Chemistry | South San Francisco, CA | Full Time

Job Description

Sr. Scientist/Associate Director, Head of Structural Chemistry


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.  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.  Plexxikon is a small business with approximately 70 employees based in South San Francisco, California.


We are seeking a highly motivated structural biologist and a leader of the structural chemistry team.  This position will be a critical member of the multidisciplinary team reporting to the Sr. Director, Research Planning. This is an exceptional opportunity to contribute and impact drug discovery and development in a successful, fast-paced biotech company.  



  • Set vision and strategy for the structural chemistry team to impact, drive and accelerate discovery programs
  • Lead a highly motivated team of scientists with expertise in structural biology (NMR and X-ray crystallography) and computational chemistry
  • Collaborate closely and effectively with multifunctional teams, including Medicinal Chemistry, Assay and Protein Chemistry to develop and implement strategies to advance discovery programs
  • Manage synchrotron data collection with CRO partners
  • Allocate appropriate resources to ensure timely achievement of corporate goals and project milestones
  • Determine and interpret crystal structures of protein-ligand complexes, with emphasis on high quality ligand fitting and guidance to chemistry design
  • Prepare and deliver scientific presentations and reports to communicate structural findings to colleagues within and outside structural chemistry department
  • Maintain a command of relevant scientific literature, research and mine public domain structure data, and evaluate implications for internal projects


Position Requirements & Experience:

  • PhD in Structural Biology with 6+ years of experience in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry
  • 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
  • In-depth knowledge of the principles of protein structure, conformational dynamics, protein-ligand interactions and implications for drug design
  • Demonstrated technical proficiency, scientific creativity, and problem solving ability
  • Enthusiastic and high energy leader with strong ability to build productive relationships with scientists in the structural chemistry department as well as cross-functionally to enable high performance and team success
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills are essential in this collaborative work environment
  • Desire to learn and tackle new challenges is imperative