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Associate Principal Scientist, Cheminformatics/Computational Chemistry, Oncology Chemistry

Location Waltham, Massachusetts, United States Job ID R-063727 Date posted 05/21/2020

Associate Principal Scientist, Cheminformatics/Computational Chemistry, Oncology Chemistry

As a Computational Chemist inAstraZeneca Oncology R&D in Boston you’ll play an important role in using machine learning techniques to advance new oncology drug projects to make a positive impact on patients’ lives. This is a hands-on discovery research position within a world-leading global medicinal chemistry group with a history of delivery and innovation. At AstraZeneca we work together across global boundaries to make an impact and find answers to challenges. We do this with the upmost integrity even in the most difficult situations because we are committed to doing the right thing. We continuously forge partnerships that help pursue world-class medicines in new ways, combining our people’s exceptional skills with those of people from all over the globe.

We are a global, innovation-driven, integrated biopharmaceutical company. Our mission is to make a meaningful difference to patient health through great medicines that bring benefit to patients and add value to society. We discover, develop, manufacture and market prescription medicines for important areas of healthcare, which include some of the world’s most serious illnesses: cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases.  We are driven by a shared goal to make a positive impact on the lives of patients with these serious diseases. Oncology is a core therapy area and growth platform at AstraZeneca and our vision is to deliver life-changing medicines that improve outcomes for patients most in need.

In addition to our passion for the discovery of innovative new medicines, we understand the importance of flexibility in our work-life environment and we offer a wide variety of benefits, services and programs that provide our employees the resources they need to pursue not only their work goals but also their life goals.  We are dedicated to building strong research teams that embrace the diversity of talents of team members and allow the larger group to grow and learn together to accomplish our collective goal to improve human health.

Job Description

We are currently recruiting a cheminformatician/computational chemist to join our multidisciplinary oncology team.  The successful candidate will support project teams from target identification through lead optimization and ultimately drug candidate selection.  The candidate is expected to be a motivated and independent researcher with experience in applying machine learning techniques to medicinal chemistry challenges.  The qualified candidate will be creative and detail-oriented with a passion for drug discovery.  The candidate will work collaboratively with medicinal chemists and project teams to design compounds with improved potency, selectivity, functional activity and/or ADMET properties. As an active member of design teams, the candidate will apply their computational chemistry skills and will use broad insight into other disciplines as a core part of their role.  Additionally, the candidate will be accountable for devising, championing or developing state of the art computational chemistry techniques that solve key problems for project and chemistry teams. 

Core Accountabilities:

  • You will simultaneously impact multiple discovery projects by efficiently and pro-actively applying a wide variety of computer-aided drug design approaches, assisted by Machine Learning, where it is applicable.

  • Using machine learning and statistical modelling, you will work in drug discovery projects, and with platform capability teams, to curate and analyze complex datasets and identify and deliver solutions for addressing key chemical/biological questions.

  • You will seek to establish academic collaborations to access and drive the forefront of machine learning science as it applies to medicinal chemistry

  • The candidate will be expected to plan, write and publish high quality scientific papers and present work both internally and externally

  • In addition, you will act in accordance with all AstraZeneca policies on personnel, safety/health/environment regulations, best laboratory practice, and Code of Conduct.

Education and Experience:

You have a PhD, or equivalent, in chemistry, computer science, statistics or other life sciences disciplines, and at least 5 years applying your skills within the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Expertise in one or more of the core machine learning areas such as: ANNs, SVMs, Bayesian approaches, Markov models, Gaussian processes, reinforcement learning, deep neural networks, game theory, decision theory, probabilistic rule-based learning.

  • Candidates should have a deep understanding of the physical chemistry of intra- and intermolecular interactions

  • Excellent awareness of current developments in computational chemistry, medicinal chemistry and cheminformatics techniques and the ability to identify opportunities to advance the science in this field

  • Expertise in using and improving computational software as well as knowledge in scientific computing, and programming skills (e.g. Python, C++, Java)

  • Strong written and oral communication skills, and a track record in publishing work in peer-reviewed journals

  • Ability to work well in multi-disciplinary teams


  • Leads by example with research integrity and work ethic
  • Is reliable, showing commitment to team goals and timelines
  • Shows respect for colleagues and passion for learning. Readily acquires new skills and techniques.
  • Proactively shares expertise and ideas, demonstrates flexibility and open-mindedness
  • Able to effectively work in a team and to communicate with colleagues at all levels. Is candid and honest in discussions
  • Has a 'can do’ attitude, maintains consistent work level and motivation despite negative results
  • Entrepreneurial – seeking out improved solutions to challenging problems

Next Steps – Apply today!

To be considered for this exciting opportunity, please complete the full application on our website at your earliest convenience – it is the only way that our Recruiter and Hiring Manager can know that you feel well qualified for this opportunity.  If you know someone who would be a great fit, please share this posting with them.

AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorisation and employment eligibility verification requirements.

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