Principal Scientist, Medicinal Chemistry Job

Date: Jul 17, 2019

Location: London, ENG, GB

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Requisition ID: CHE006380

MSD is a global health care leader with a diversified portfolio of prescription medicines, vaccines and animal health products. The difference between potential and achievement lies in the spark that fuels innovation and inventiveness; this is the space where MSD has codified its 125-year legacy. MSD’s success is backed by ethical integrity, forward momentum, and an inspiring mission to achieve new milestones in global healthcare.


MSD is on a quest for cures and is committed to being the world’s premier, most research-intensive biopharmaceutical company. Today, we’re doubling down on this goal. Our research division is a true scientific research facility of tomorrow and will take MSD’s leading discovery capabilities and world-class small molecule and biologics R&D expertise to create breakthrough science that radically changes the way we approach serious diseases.


Our opportunity to excel depends on the integrity, knowledge, imagination, skill, diversity and teamwork of people like you.  To this end, we strive to create an environment of mutual respect, encouragement and teamwork.  As part of our global team, you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with talented and dedicated colleagues while developing and expanding your career.


We are currently recruiting a Principal Scientist to join MSD’s chemistry team at the Crick Institute in London.  Here, you will participate in a vibrant culture connecting with leading academic and biotech research centers. Beyond local internal connections, the role will be expected to operate in a highly collaborative environment, partnering with peers at other locations in the United States. You will be able to supplement your research activities by taking advantage of the technologies and capabilities of this wider company network of sites.


The successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary, highly collaborative discovery team to invent novel medicines.  He/she will be responsible for defining project strategy and driving execution, as well as for scientific mentoring and technical training of team members.  In this role, the incumbent will contribute to the overall scientific deliverables of the research site by reviewing program and chemistry strategies across the site in appropriate forums.  In addition, he/she will lead or participate in cross-functional teams to deliver on global scientific objectives.  The candidate will utilize innovative synthetic and medicinal chemistry problem-solving skills coupled with analysis of diverse data sets to build structure-activity relationships.  He/she will help to identify and validate new biological targets, as well as design and synthesize high quality molecules in target validation, hit-to-lead, and lead optimization projects.  Furthermore, he/she will be responsible for collaborative engagement with the external scientific community including conducting due diligence review of potential licensing opportunities.  To accomplish the above, the successful candidate must have excellent interpersonal, cross functional collaboration and communication skills, in addition to rigorous scientific thinking.


Role Responsibilities:

  • Define project-related medicinal chemistry strategy and, in conjunction with other MSD leaders, define overall strategy for drug discovery projects from Target ID to hit identification to candidate nomination.

  • Promote and maintain the highest levels of excellence in medicinal and synthetic chemistry, with a personal commitment to extend and develop knowledge and expertise.

  • Lead and/or contribute to cross-site functional goals within chemistry.

  • Provide day to day technical guidance to a small team of medicinal chemists.

  • Use timely decision making to ensure focus and delivery of key objectives.  Promote high levels of productivity and urgency, leading by personal example.

  • Foster collaborations within global MSD and with academia to help ensure that the Chemistry group operates. at the highest levels of scientific excellence in both medicinal and synthetic chemistry.

  • Where required, contribute to the critical evaluation and selection of new targets.

  • Contribute to the strategic planning, compiling and writing of chemical patent protection.

  • Publish science in high quality journals and publications.

  • Give presentations on MSD projects both at internal science meetings and externally at conferences.

  • Maintain the highest levels of Health and Safety across the chemistry group.


Education Requirements:


  • A PhD in synthetic organic chemistry required.


Skills and Experience Required:

  • A minimum of 8 years of relevant industry experience in drug discovery.

  • A track record of delivering high quality candidates into development; ideally including direct accountability for project leadership.

  • A strong knowledge of medicinal chemistry design principles, including structure-based drug design and the influence of physiochemical properties.

  • Experience of working across multiple target-types and gene families.

  • Experience in synthesis, purification and analytical characterization including HPLC, MS, NMR, and biophysical methods.

  • A good understanding of the related scientific disciplines that are pertinent to drug discovery and early development (e.g. pharmacology, cell biology, chemical biology, ADME, formulation, hit discovery, large scale synthesis, structural biology, drug safety/toxicology, IP).

  • An understanding of the process of finding new drug discovery targets and how chemical biology can contribute to target identification and validation.

  • A good knowledge of the latest innovations and technology in medicinal chemistry, synthetic chemistry and chemical biology, and an openness to explore new methods for drug discovery.

  • A creative and strategic thinker who can enthuse the chemistry group and beyond with innovative and winning ideas.

  • The ability to thrive on increasing levels of responsibility.

  • Effective communication skills, both verbal and written.

  • The ability to influence and drive change at all levels and across disciplines.

  • Collaborative, with the ability to work well as part of a team.

  • Track record of training and mentoring of team members in synthesis and drug discovery.

  • The ability and desire to foster academic networks such that MSD remains an outward looking organization that can exploit the world’s best scientific thinking.

  • Strong record of publication in peer reviewed journal and patents.

  • The ability to work flexibly across the portfolio.


Your role at MSD is integral to helping the world meet new breakthroughs that affect generations to come, and we’re counting on your skills and inventiveness to help make meaningful contributions to global medical advancement. At MSD, we’re inventing for life.



MSD is not accepting unsolicited assistance from search firms / recruitment agencies for this employment opportunity.  Please, no phone calls or emails.  All resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at MSD via email, the Internet or in any form and/or method without a valid written search agreement in place for this position will be deemed the sole property of MSD.  No fee will be paid in the event the candidate is hired by MSD as a result of the referral or through other means.


Job: Chemistry
Other Locations:
Employee Status: Regular
Travel: Yes, 10 % of the Time
Number of Openings: 1
Shift (if applicable):
Hazardous Materials:
Company Trade Name: MSD

Job Segment: Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Scientific, Toxicology, Biotech, Science, Engineering

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