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Medicinal Chemistry Team Leader, Drug Discovery Unit

Drug Discovery Unit
Dundee, UK
£41,526 - £49,553
Closing date
29 Aug 2021
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Job Details

Medicinal Chemistry Team Leader, Drug Discovery Unit, University of Dundee

We are offering an enthusiastic and experienced Medicinal Chemist the chance to join the dynamic, multidisciplinary Drug Discovery Unit as a Team Leader.

With your experience gained in the Biotech/Pharma industry or similar, you will lead a talented team of chemists, set and monitor project objectives, and drive interactions between multiple disciplines, and use your experience of multiparameter optimisation to design new molecules to tackle major global diseases.

The Drug Discovery Unit is a fully integrated, Biotech-style drug discovery operation with a remit to complement Biotech/Pharma activities by tackling early-stage small molecule drug discovery across a range of therapeutic areas. We work to Biotech philosophy and standards, incorporating dynamic, goal driven project management based on target product profiles and compound selection criteria. Our projects and skillsets cover all aspects of early drug discovery, from hit identification, through lead optimisation to candidate selection. Our experienced team, many of whom have a background in Biotech/Pharma, works in a state-of-the-art building with cutting-edge equipment and automation for drug discovery. Take a virtual tour of our labs and facilities.

Joining us offers you the opportunity to grow your expertise and track record through delivering drug candidates that address global diseases. You will develop your partnership-building skills and widen your global scientific presence and contacts by collaborating with leading academic groups, biotech and pharma companies, and charities. You will also contribute more broadly through wider leadership activities, helping to drive innovation and best practice for drug discovery approaches of a leading university-based drug discovery group. Our busy public engagement programme offers an opportunity to gain new skills and inspire people beyond the Drug Discovery Unit with the work you do.

Your primary responsibilities:

  • Work within interdisciplinary teams and actively contribute to drug discovery projects at all stages, ensuring key milestones and objectives are met.
  • Lead hit validation/hit to lead/lead optimisation medicinal chemistry projects through the application of multiparameter optimisation, to identify suitable compounds demonstrating appropriate pharmaceutical properties and efficacy in appropriate disease models.
  • Lead a team of medicinal chemists, setting individual objectives, supporting career development and monitoring performance.
  • Presenting summary data, key findings and conclusions to relevant individuals/groups.
  • Write reports, presentations and publications as required.
  • Oversee outsourced chemistry.

Knowledge, qualifications, skills and experience:

  • Candidates must be professionally qualified with a BSc or PhD in a chemical science related discipline with subsequent substantial relevant drug discovery experience in the Biotech/Pharma industry.
  • Be able to evidence managing successful drug discovery projects and people.
  • Demonstrable expertise in the concepts and practice of all aspects of drug discovery.
  • Demonstrable initiative, and strong interpersonal, time management, organisational and communication skills.
  • An ability to work flexibly and to meet project milestones.

The post is available immediately. Salary will depend on experience but will be in the range £41,526 - £49,553. You will be offered an open-ended contract.

The Drug Discovery Unit operates on an external funding basis. The Principal Investigators within these units are highly successful in securing external funding for their multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative research and activities.

Facilities and environment

The DDU is a dynamic and multidisciplinary group of ~130 scientists with broad expertise across the drug discovery disciplines. The unit is housed in a state-of-the-art building and has cutting-edge equipment and automation to deliver pre-clinical and clinical candidates.

The DDU is part of the Wellcome Centre for Anti-infectives Research (WCAIR). There is a very interactive and open culture amongst WCAIR’s 170 scientists, with many collaborations between the different groups. There are also many opportunities for sharing and exchanging ideas such as weekly seminars, pizza lunches, 6-monthly symposia and an annual retreat.

WCAIR and the DDU are embedded in the School of Life Sciences which has been consistently rated ‘5-star’ by the UK national Research Assessment Exercise. Dundee has twice been named ‘the best place to work in Europe’ in a poll of scientists conducted by The Scientist magazine. You can go on a virtual visit of our labs here and further details for School of Life Sciences facilities and support for staff.

Dundee lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty, including large sandy beaches and the Scottish Highlands less than an hour away. The city has lots to offer with fantastic attractions such as the striking V&A Dundee, the Dundee Rep, Dundee Contemporary Arts and more. The University of Dundee embraces diversity. We have family-friendly policies, staff support networks for BME, disabled and LGBT+ staff, membership of Athena SWAN and Stonewall, as well a full range of disability services to create an enjoyable and inclusive place to work. Read more about the rewarding work and life environment in Dundee.

The School of Life Sciences has received the Athena SWAN Silver Award which recognises the promotion of gender equality and has made further commitment to advancing inclusive culture, which supports and encourages all under-represented groups.

As an internationally diverse institution, we welcome job applicants from all countries and nationalities. The School of Life Sciences is proud to employ staff from over 40 different nations.


The Drug Discovery Unit was established in 2006 to translate world-class biology research in to new de-risked targets and candidate drugs.

The initial focus was on Diseases of the Developing World, in which the University has an outstanding international reputation.

Our Innovative Targets Portfolio (ITP) can accept high quality, commercially viable projects in any therapeutic area as long as the approach is novel, the project addresses unmet medical need and the pathway to the clinic is clear. 

We are also developing an Antibacterial Drug Discovery Accelerator working in collaboration with senior investiagtors across the UK and beyond to create a step-change in the discovery of new antimicrobial drugs.

We seek to identify novel therapeutic targets and mechanisms of disease and aim to deliver pharmacological lead compounds with supporting data in an animal and/or tissue model of disease.

Our strategy taps into a wealth of world-class academic research that is of tremendous industry interest in the current market but has, until recently, remained untranslated.

We are housed within purpose built facilities at the University of Dundee School of Life Sciences.

Find Us
School of Life Sciences
University of Dundee
Dow Street
United Kingdom
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