Coronavirus Portfolio leader in the Drug Discovery Unit

Reference: SLSC0727

Salary: Grade 9 (£52,560 – £59,135)

Closing date: Thursday, May 28, 2020

We are seeking a highly motivated and expert medicinal chemist for a key leadership role. The successful applicant will lead our coronavirus drug discovery programme, setting strategy, and ensuring goals and milestones are met. The appointee will lead, and drive interactions between the programme’s medicinal chemists, biologists, computational chemists and the drug metabolism & pharmacokinetics experts within the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) team. The successful applicant will use organisational and scientific “know-how” to successfully manage the broad range of collaborations (with both industry and academia) required to progress a portfolio of hit and lead optimisation projects towards candidate nomination for pre-clinical development. They will oversee the appropriate accessing of the in vitro assays (biochemical, cell based and high content); secondary/ functional studies; toxicological screening (in vitro); chemistry outsourcing and animal models of disease required to support progression of a portfolio of small molecule drug discovery projects.

The DDU  is a fully integrated drug discovery organisation based within a world class Life Sciences research environment. Its remit is to complement BioPharma activities by tackling both neglected diseases (e.g. leishmaniasis, TB and malaria) and validating novel drug targets across a range of therapeutics areas. The DDU works to Biotech style philosophy and standards incorporating, dynamic, goal driven project management based on Target Product Profiles and Compound Selection Criteria. The project goals will range from quality leads demonstrating disease model proof of concept, through to pre-clinical candidates.

The successful applicant will be required to report (verbally and written) on progress both internally, and to collaborators and funding agencies, and where required, will also be expected to co-ordinate drafting of patents with the University of Dundee Intellectual Property Office. Where opportunities exist, they will co-ordinate the writing of scientific publications and make presentations at external scientific conferences.

In addition to leading a project, they will contribute more widely to the DDU through wider leadership activities, helping to drive innovation within the drug discovery process and best practice.

It is envisaged that significant international travel will be required to fulfil this position.

The post is available for an immediate start. Salary will depend on experience but will be between £52,560 – £59,135.

Required attributes

  • Candidates must be professionally qualified with a PhD in a chemical science related discipline
  • Substantial experience of medicinal chemistry in the BioPharma industry or professional drug discovery environment
  • Substantial experience of leading successful medicinal chemistry projects in the BioPharma industry or professional drug discovery environment
  • Having a key role in taking a project(s) through preclinical candidate selection to clinical candidate selection
  • Demonstrable expertise in the concepts and practice of medicinal chemistry
  • Understanding and appreciation of the drug discovery process, including the interactions between biology, drug metabolism & pharmacokinetics, computational & structural biology and medicinal chemistry
  • Expertise in synthetic chemistry route design
  • Evidence of your expertise through patents, papers and significant contribution to the delivery of preclinical candidates
  • Ability to take the initiative
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and presentation skills
  • Experience of leadership of multi-disciplinary teams
  • Experience of successful working with collaborators and/or in consortiums
  • Excellent time management, organizational and communication skills
  • A demonstrable ability to work flexibly and to meet project milestones

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


The diversity of our staff and students helps to make the University of Dundee one of the top universities in the UK. Family friendly policies, staff support networks for BME and LGBT staff, membership of Athena SWAN and Stonewall, as well a full range of disability services, create an enjoyable and inclusive place to work. The University of Dundee has received the Athena SWAN Bronze 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.

Dundee, set on the east coast of Scotland, lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty, including large sandy beaches and challenging hills. Dundee is also a vibrant cultural centre. Home to the new V&A Dundee, which opened in September 2018 and has received over 1 million visitors; the Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre; Dundee Contemporary Arts; MacManus Gallery and many individual artists.