Drug Discovery in LA or NC..Location, Location, Location (Does it matter?)

Ah, for those moments when your mind just drifts off (for a millisecond) and you think what other wonderful opportunities there are out in the real world for careers in our strange pharma/ biotech industry…you have to hand it to the automated recruiter emails for entertainment value (far more interesting than the spam conferences in China with 1000 key note presenters).

Today I was faced with a conundrum, emails of potential opportunities in RTP, NC and then Los Angeles, CA. No idea of what the companies are or if that matters in the big scheme of things. But they make for interesting reading – surely 1000’s of others also have now seen them too (if not drop me an email and I will send the contact details along for free – no finders fee!!).

Here goes the RTP opportunity first. (note the typos – are their own)

Director Drug design and development,

Lead several functional teams supporting drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, lead identification, drug design, pharmacology, feasibility and support to early stage development transferring small molecules with overall strategic responsibility for shaping and designing new chemical entities.
***   Experience leading cross functional project teams.
***   8+ years leading the design and synthesis of biologically active low molecular weight compounds.
***   Thorough familiarity with structural based drug design, molecular dynamics, molecular docking, quantitative structure activity relationships, pharmacodynamics, and chemoinformatics.
Work along side our industry recognized, Ivy League personnel in this highly visible position. Top base salary to $200,000 and added incentives including extensive perquisites and significant upside potential stock participation.

and 4 hrs later the LA opportunity

Computational Chemist

Seeking Ph.D to join multidisciplinary team applying drug discovery computational methods for designing and developing new molecules to function as inhibitors to biological channels for the purpose of developing novel therapeutics.
***   Conduct virtual ligand screening and ligand-based drug design.
***   Implement computationally driven lead optimization.
***   Apply knowledge in molecular dynamics, homology modeling, quantum mechanics, cheminformatics and ADMETox-QSPR to problem solving and objective achievement.
***   Structure-based drug design.
***   Program analytical and modeling software.
***   Support and interface with synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, biochemistry, physical chemistry and analytical chemistry.
Advance rapidly in this highly visible position. Top compensation package including stock with well recognized star in the growing pharmaceutical industry and the ability to work with award winning professionals in a forward thinking environment focused on employee advancement.

Are these positions really that different – the first has a pretty good salary for NC..the second lists no salary and could be pretty junior level (clue: Advance rapidly in this highly visible position – which means you will be first in first out if anything happens to the cashflow).

Lead several functional teams supporting drug discovery” a euphemism for work with CRO’s in China, India, Russia and anywhere else.

Now I have to admit that I have never seen a job posting that lists  “Work along side our industry recognized, Ivy League personnel”. In this day and age does such snobbery really matter when people just want to do what they trained for decades to do. Ivy league or no Ivy league personnel, for me the school is insignificant, do the personnel have a clue? Do they have honesty and integrity (?) and of course the ability to do drug discovery..I digress.

The other thing that struck me was that both of these opportunities could be done in one’s home office – Both positions seem to be heavy on comp chem or cheminformatics.. who needs to be physically located in RTP or LA? If you really think about the huge growth in chemistry data on the web and all the available computational tools for drug discovery, I am pretty sure everyone will be just doing drug discovery on their own and shipping the compounds to test to China as a matter of course in the very near future (before the end of 2012). This should provide some encouragement for those laid off with a little cash in the kitty, although the thought of sending dollars to a CRO has to hurt. There is definitely an opportunity here for all the ex-pharma bio and chemistry hackers to disrupt the way we do drug discovery in the USA. Forget relying on all those academic HTS screening centers, Pharma is going to be coming back to you pretty soon if you can find a gem of a molecule, maybe one they discarded..oh and do it in your basement for old times sake.

Could these job postings be the last gasps from a dying breed? I hope not because they livened up my day after preparing slides for the ACS next week.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>