University of Dundee

Medicinal Chemistry Team Leader

Drug Discovery Unit
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Friday, January 7, 2022
Grade 9 (£53,348 - £60,022)

Grade 9, Salary dependent on experience, in the range (£53,348-£60,022); Open ended contract. Potential option to work remotely.

The Drug Discovery Unit is passionate about tackling unmet medical need for globally important diseases that kill millions of people across the world every year and damage the economies of many countries.

Established for over 15 years, The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), School of Life Sciences ( is a rare, university-based, fully integrated, Biotech-style drug discovery operation with an annual turnover of ~£12M and 130 dedicated scientists, many with a Biotech/Pharma background. The DDU’s remit is to complement Biotech/Pharma activities by tackling early-stage small molecule drug discovery across a range of therapeutic areas. The DDU has leading scientists, state-of-the-art technologies, purpose built laboratories, and key therapeutic expertise in a range of diseases. The DDU develops first-in-class differentiated therapeutics and collaborates with many of the world's top pharmaceutical companies. Our outputs include new drug candidates and validated novel drug targets for major infectious diseases, e.g. leishmaniasis, malaria and TB, as well as cancer and neurodegeneration. The DDU has also contributed to the establishment of 7 new companies.

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 working in biotech, pharma or academia/research institutes, you will lead a talented team of chemists, set and monitor project objectives, drive interactions between multiple disciplines, and use your experience of multiparameter optimisation to design new molecules to tackle major global diseases.

Joining us offers you the opportunity to -

  • Grow your expertise and track record through delivering drug candidates that address global diseases.
  • Develop your partnership-building skills and enhance your global scientific presence and contacts by collaborating with leading academic groups, and biotech and pharma companies.
  • Contribute more broadly through helping to drive innovation and medicinal chemistry best practice within a leading university-based drug discovery group.
  • Continue your personal leadership development through participation in the DDU career development programme
  • Take part in our busy public engagement programme to gain new skills and inspire people with the work you do.

The post is available immediately on an open-ended contract. Salary, dependent on experience, will be in the range £53,348-£60,022. As a University we are currently exploring more flexible working options with our staff and for this specific role we are open to discussing the possibility of remote working within the UK as appropriate.

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.

Your primary responsibilities:

  • Work within interdisciplinary teams and drive 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 applying multiparameter optimisation, to identify suitable compounds demonstrating appropriate pharmaceutical properties and efficacy in appropriate disease models.
  • Lead a medicinal chemistry team, setting 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.

Required 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 Biotech/Pharma industry or similar drug discovery experience.
  • Demonstrable expertise in concepts and practice of all aspects of drug discovery, particularly in medicinal and synthetic chemistry design.
  • Understanding and appreciation of the drug discovery process, including the interactions between biology, drug metabolism & pharmacokinetics, computational & medicinal and chemistry structural biology.
  • Evidence of managing successful drug discovery projects and people in the BioPharma industry or a professional drug discovery environment.
  • Demonstrable strong initiative, and interpersonal, time management, organisational and communication skills.
  • A demonstrable ability to work flexibly and to meet project milestones.

Desirable attributes

  • Experience of leadership of multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Experience of successful working with collaborators and/or in consortiums.

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 ( and further details for School of Life Sciences facilities ( and support for staff ( .

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 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.

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. Read more about the rewarding work and life environment in Dundee (

The Closing Date is 7th January 2021.

For further information or to apply for this position please click here