Associate Director/Director of Chemistry

Madison, Wisconsin
Competitive starting salary and very comprehensive benefits package.
Jan 10, 2019
Mar 11, 2019
Job Type
Full time

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking an exceptional, innovative, and highly motivated Associate Director/Director of Chemistry to apply fundamentals of synthesis and medicinal chemistry toward the optimization of chemical matter to advance our portfolio of drug development programs. They will join the Head of WARF Therapeutics to provide scientific project leadership and expertise in small molecule drug discovery from target validation through to clinical candidate nomination utilizing a virtual drug discovery model. The ideal candidate will collaborate across many organizations including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF, contract research organizations (CRO’s), and biopharma companies to execute on the pipeline objectives.

This is a truly unique and highly visible career opportunity for a proven professional to contribute to the design and building of the WARF Therapeutics organization.  They will leverage WARF’s long history of successfully commercializing pharmaceuticals, to create a pipeline of pre-clinical assets that will be partnered with biotechs, VCs and large pharma companies. As the pharmaceutical industry increasingly looks to academia to provide high-quality drug candidates to novel validated targets, WARF has funded and is committed to sustaining a significant drug discovery and pre-clinical development capability to address this need. 

The Associate Director/Director of Chemistry core responsibilities include:

·        Design novel molecules with the goal to optimize on-target potency, selectivity, physical chemical properties, as well as ADME properties.

·        Integrate complex data sets across multiple research disciplines to evolve medicinal chemistry strategies.

·        Apply inter-disciplinary knowledge of drug discovery to effectively design in vivo experiments (PK/PD, efficacy, and toxicology).

·        Facilitate the coordination of internal university and external resources (CRO, CSO, CMO) to perform screening, medicinal chemistry, bio-analysis, drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and toxicology for programs under development. Manage resources and reprioritize in response to data or other influences.

·        Collaborate with colleagues on WARF’s technology commercialization, legal, new ventures and investment teams to assess human therapeutics opportunities, develop project plans for human therapeutics innovations, implement development strategies with internal and external partners, and maximize the value of WARF’s human therapeutics portfolio.

·        Contribute to the preparation of various technical and administrative reports, including those required for marketing and licensing, in compliance with government laws and regulations.

·        Interact effectively with University academic and administrative staff, attorneys, and business professionals in order to facilitate complex collaborative relationships.

·       Collaborate with the Head of WARF Therapeutics to manage and support the activities of WARF Therapeutics’ Advisory Board and Governance Board.


A PhD in Chemistry with 7 years of industry drug discovery experience is preferred but exceptional candidates with a Master’s degree in chemistry with 12 years of comparable work-relevant experience in the field will be considered. Expertise in small molecule drug discovery including high throughput screening, hit-to-lead optimization, establishment of PK/PD/efficacy relationships, and preliminary toxicology studies. Track record of driving discovery programs to key pre-clinical Go/No-Go decision points; from target validation, hit-to-lead, lead optimization and including clinical candidate nomination. Extensive experience in modern synthetic methodologies with application to a broad range of molecular classes. Broad expertise successfully prosecuting a range of biological target classes and therapeutic areas. Demonstrated competency in hypothesis-based medicinal chemistry, structure based drug design, and application of computational modeling. Extensive experience interfacing with and providing scientific guidance to CRO partners, proven ability to work efficiently in a virtual model. Knowledge of IP protection, specifically as related to therapeutics. Highly self-motivated, independent, and detail-oriented professional with ability to work under pressure and tight deadlines. Ability to independently solve problems, to think critically and creatively as part of a fast-paced research team. Excellent written and oral presentation and communication skills, especially to key internal and external stakeholders, e.g., faculty, senior leadership, vendors and potential partner companies. Ability to interact effectively in both academic and corporate cultures.  

To apply: Qualified individuals interested in this opportunity are required to submit a cover letter and resume as one document via the online career portal within the career section at:

About WARF

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is the private, non-profit foundation established to perform the technology transfer and commercialization function for the world-class research developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founded in 1925, WARF is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to investing in research and making a difference—for the researcher, the university, commercialization partners and the world. WARF’s mission is to promote, encourage and aid scientific research by patenting and licensing university inventions, playing an active role in UW–Madison spinoff companies, and managing an endowment to support the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment. WARF also manages the Town Center within the Discovery Building, which provides platforms for hands-on activities that link scientific research and the general public, offering a window on the real-time process of discovery. For additional information, please visit:

WARF supports an inclusive and diverse environment and offers competitive salary and benefits.