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Project Leader – IRBM, Medicinal Chemistry Unit – Ref. 180 A

October 19th, 2022

Position: Project Leader – IRBM, Medicinal Chemistry Unit – Ref. 180 A

IRBM is an innovative contract research organization working across all aspects of drug discovery and early development for different modalities – small molecules, peptides, RNAs and antibodies. We foster collaborations with organizations from the pharmaceutical, biotech and academic sectors to accelerate drug discovery from target validation and hit identification to candidate nomination. Our 200 plus-strong, multidisciplinary teamwork at a state-of-the-art R&D facility near Rome where projects are carried out “under one roof” enabling rapid cycle times and close integration of the scientific teams. IRBM’s scientists have discovered several drugs that are on the market, and more than 25 compounds have gone into clinical testing. The company was founded in 2010, as a spin-off from Merck & Co. Now in our 12th year as an independent research organisation, we have laid the foundations to become a global centre for excellence in all aspects of drug discovery and early development.

Job Description

IRBM is seeking an experienced and highly effective, medicinal chemistry Project Leader who will devise and implement modern strategies to advance our small molecule drug discovery projects. High creativity, adaptiveness and an innovative mindset are required as IRBM’s targets are not restricted to enzymatic inhibitors but cover the full range of modalities such as iPPIs, covalent inhibitors, degraders and RNA interacting molecules. The individual will report to the Director of Medicinal Chemistry and oversee 1 to 3 projects spanning form the Hit Identification to the Candidate Nomination.
The successful candidate will be responsible for managing all aspects of the discovery efforts including leading a team of medicinal and synthetic chemists, encouraging their creativity, developing their competences, coordinating the interactions in a multi-disciplinary environment, ensuring that the projects meet the agreed timelines and presenting the progress and future steps of the project.
IRBM Project Leaders are a pivotal part for our success in generating next generation medicines.

Key responsibilities

  • Responsible for the effective management of 1 to 3 small molecule drug discovery projects in line with agreed objectives and timelines.
  • Accountable for the implementation of the Med. Chem. Strategy. Analysis of the experimental data, to allow identification of the issues and subsequent prioritisation. Design the adequate strategy to address swiftly the existing problems and required goals, progress the project to meet the deadlines.
  • Dynamically interacting with the other disciplines to enable programme advancement.
  • Ensure that the key compounds are generated and adequately tested to allow the correct decision taking.
  • Lead their team by example and demanding excellence in performance at all levels of the project.
  • Encourage the team members to be innovative, to actively participate in the med chem design process and in drafting efficient synthetic routes. Support the constant scientific development of the team.
  • Encourage regular reviews of the synthetic and medicinal chemistry literature to identify new, potentially useful synthetic approaches and keep up with latest design strategies.
  • Produce high quality reports and/or presentations to present clearly the results and the selected strategies to progress the project. Adapt the presentations to the selected audience (internal audience or meetings with customers).
  • Assist the Business Development team in drafting high quality scientific proposals suggesting the adequate resources and timelines to meet the desired objectives of potential customers.

Competencies & skills

  • Extensive knowledge of medicinal chemistry including but not limited to, clustering and triaging of hits, hit expansion, multi-parameter optimisation of the selected chemical series, taking in account DMPK data, diverse biological and biophysical data, structure-based design and awide range of in silico techniques that will have been applied to the project
  • Extensive organic chemistry knowledge. Actively support the team to design efficient synthetic routes adapted to the stage of the project.
  • Ability to apply a “knowledge-based” approach to a target. Assessment of the freedom to operate on a given chemical series and identification of a clear IP strategy.
  • Strong problem-solving aptitude
  • Ability to balance r time between lab and desk-based tasks.
  • Good interpersonal skills, flexible and works well within a team environment
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills (in English) are required
  • Good organisational skills to coordinate the task with the other departments


PhD in Chemistry or Medicinal Chemistry +5 to 10 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical industry with a proven track record to progress projects towards candidate nomination.

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