Principal Scientist, Computational Chemistry Job

Date: Feb 13, 2019

Location: London, ENG, GB

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Requisition ID: CHE006382

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.


MSD is establishing a new state-of-the-art life early science & innovation sciences research facility in London. With a mission of turning breakthrough science into meaningful and impactful medicines, the research focus is cellular ageing and mechanisms of homeostasis and resilience, the basis of some of the most challenging diseases facing our ageing population.


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 seeking a highly motivated and exceptional Computational Chemist (Principal Scientist) to join MSD’s Chemistry Modeling and Informatics group based 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 report to the Head of Chemistry in the UK and join a multidisciplinary, highly collaborative discovery team to invent novel medicines.  In this role, he/she will be responsible for driving compound design strategy as well as for scientific mentoring and technical training of team members.  In addition, 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 apply advanced computational techniques and develop innovative computational methods to help identify and validate new biological targets, as well as design 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.  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:

  • Collaborate within interdisciplinary discovery teams to invent new medicines, define project strategy, and drive execution.

  • Apply a breadth of informatics and modeling techniques to accelerate the evolution of drug discovery leads to drug candidates in a hypothesis-driven manner.

  • Use timely decision making to ensure focus and delivery of key project objectives. 

  • Promote high levels of productivity and urgency, leading by personal example.

  • Lead and/or contribute to cross-site functional goals within Global Chemistry Modeling and Informatics.

  • Foster collaborations within the global MSD network and with academia to help ensure that the Chemistry Modeling and Informatics group operates at the highest levels of scientific excellence.

  • Continue research in areas of molecular modeling relevant to drug discovery and maintain an external scientific presence through authoring significant scientific publications and presentations.




Education Requirements:


  • A PhD in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biophysics or equivalent is required.  A degree with a computational chemistry emphasis is preferred.


Skills and Experience Required:

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

  • Experience with Linux and high-performance computing.

  • A strong knowledge of the latest innovations and technology in computational chemistry, and an openness to explore new methods for drug discovery.

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

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

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

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

  • A good understanding of the related scientific disciplines that are pertinent to drug discovery (e.g. chemistry, pharmacology, chemical biology, ADME, structural biology & drug safety/toxicology).

  • 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 multidisciplinary team.

  • Track record of training and mentoring team members in the application of Modeling and Informatics techniques in 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.

  • Multiple publications and external presentations demonstrating creative application of computational chemistry approaches to problems of biological interest.

  • The ability to work flexibly across the portfolio.


 The following skills may be advantageous:

  • Ability to effectively apply molecular modeling packages such as MOE, Schrodinger, and OpenEye tools and applications.

  • Scripting and programming expertise in languages such as Python and Perl.

  • Experience applying computational methods such as molecular dynamics, quantum chemistry, and machine learning to problems of pharmaceutical interest.


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, Biochemistry, Toxicology, Biotech, Scientific, Science, Engineering

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