Associate Director/Principal Scientist, Medicinal Chemistry

About Ikena Oncology
Ikena Oncology, headquartered in the biotech hub of Boston, Massachusetts, is a clinical-stage biotechnology company that discovers and develops patient-directed, biomarker-driven therapies. We are committed to leveraging our unique understanding of the complex biologic pathways that drive the formation and spread of cancers to discover and develop novel, patient-directed therapies. Ikena is dedicated to bringing next generation oncology therapies to patients suffering from cancer.

We have assembled an experienced and well-respected team of drug hunters, translational researchers, and entrepreneurs drawn from many of the largest innovators in biotechnology, supported by top-tier investors and partners, as well as world-class advisors who all share a singular goal: to develop novel, patient-directed therapeutics for patients battling cancer.

Job Overview
Ikena Oncology is seeking an accomplished medicinal chemist with small molecule drug discovery experience in an industry setting to aid and support new program initiation, lead optimization, and development candidate selection. The successful candidate will bring a sense of urgency and commitment to help Ikena Oncology deliver on our goal to deliver novel targeted therapeutics to patients. This drug hunter will apply her/his expertise, knowledge, experience, and imagination in the art of medicinal chemistry to our small molecule drug discovery programs.


  • Contribute to strategy and goals for Ikena’s small molecule drug discovery programs, working within cross-functional team
  • Prioritize and direct medicinal chemistry activities, managing external chemistry resources to ensure timeline adherence and alignment with project goals
  • Build, critically interpret, and react to structure activity relationships incorporating physicochemical properties, biochemistry and cell assay, ADME/PK, and pharmacological readouts
  • Assist in the preparation of intellectual property documents, board of director (BOD) updates, and external presentations and publications
  • Update and maintain Ikena’s drug discovery informatics platform
  • Help build the scientific reputation to the outside community with conference presentations and publications


  • Ph.D. in organic or medicinal chemistry with 8+ years of relevant industry experience or Master’s degree with 12+ years of relevant industry experience, preferably in small biotech
  • Experience in overseeing and directing lead optimization activities at CROs
  • Experience in project and/or people leadership preferred
  • Proven track record of moving drug discovery programs efficiently to development candidates
  • Experience utilizing and managing drug discovery informatics solutions (e.g. CDD)
  • A clear and effective communication style to disseminate project data and medicinal chemistry approach to both internal and external colleagues
  • A good understanding of oncology biology and pharmacology principles

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 obstacles.

Application Form

Our supportive work environment fosters creative thinking and freedom of expression.