Associate Director/Director, Molecular and Cellular Oncology

About Ikena
Ikena Oncology (NASDAQ: IKNA) is a targeted oncology company focused on developing cancer therapies targeting key signaling pathways that drive the formation and spread of cancer. Ikena is advancing five programs that include four product candidates in either clinical development or IND-enabling studies and has a global strategic collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb.

Role Description
This position is within our Discovery Biology team, a highly dynamic group whose mission is to discover, evaluate, and develop novel therapeutics. As an experienced industry project leader and people manager, this individual will bring to bear their expertise to lead and help guide the Ikena drug discovery engine and support our novel targeted small molecule programs.


  • Provide oncology pathway biology expertise to lead and support Ikena’s small molecule discovery and development programs
  • Define small molecule mechanism of action cross comparing to genetic perturbations to enable translational biomarker and candidate patient population identification
  • Design and execute focused cancer biology research that helps define potential clinical paths of development candidates
  • Oversee and conduct in vitro pharmacology efforts in-house and at CROs
  • Direct, manage, and empower a group of PhD and non-PhD level scientists
  • Work closely with the internal team and CROs to develop medium-to-high throughput cell-based assays to facilitate compound screening, characterize compounds and support medicinal chemistry efforts
  • Lead internal experimental design and assay development and the interpretation of results
  • Independently communicate results to cross-functional project teams and update senior management on overall project strategy and goals
  • Support the organization by maintaining a work environment focused on scientific integrity and fosters learning, open communication, and collaboration


  • PhD in biology, molecular & cellular biology, chemical biology, or related field
  • Minimum of 8-10 years of hands-on cell biology experience following post-doctoral training with prior experience in target discovery and cancer biology in the biotech or pharma setting
  • Strong laboratory expertise pertaining to cancer cell biology and oncology-relevant signal transduction pathway biology
  • Understanding and demonstrated performance in all phases of drug discovery from initial screening to development candidate
  • Experience in leading PhD level scientists
  • Outstanding communication, writing, and presentation skills is a must
  • Highly organized with demonstrated success in leading projects and interacting with cross functional teams
  • Experience in managing research in an externalized setting
  • Experience with small molecule drug development and IND submissions

Personal attributes: team oriented, goal-driven, organized, highly collaborative, open-minded, data-driven, creative, persistent in the face of obstacles and uncertainty, flexible, self-aware of strengths and weaknesses, objective in the evaluation of data and strongly optimistic about overcoming challenges.

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