Senior Director, Medicinal Chemistry

Boston, MA
Our mission is to make biology easier to engineer. Ginkgo is constructing, editing, and redesigning the living world in order to answer the globe’s growing challenges in health, energy, food, materials, and more. Our bioengineers make use of an in-house automated foundry for designing and building new organisms. Today, our foundry is developing over 40 different organisms to make different products across multiple industries.

As the Senior Director of Medicinal Chemistry, you will leverage your international reputation for medicinal chemistry, passion for natural product chemistry and mechanisms, and the capabilities of the Ginkgo foundry to advance new natural product classes to the clinic. We seek a “drug hunter” and medicinal chemistry team leader (internal and external efforts) advancing complex molecules to the clinic with a focus on infectious disease and semi-synthetic approaches. We are convinced that a leading synthetic biology company can be the most compelling organization to drive semi-synthetic approaches in complex scaffolds where chemical tractability is low, and we are employing an interdisciplinary approach across the chemistry-biology interface to optimize Nature’s most value molecules at scale and with unparalleled speed.


    • Natural products “drug hunter” and team leader (internal and external efforts) advancing complex molecules to the clinic emphasis on infectious disease and semi-synthetic approaches.
    • Execute a hybrid (on-site and externalized) chemistry plan to advance Ginkgo’s natural product chemistry platform.
    • Collaborate with synthetic biologists for an interdisciplinary approach to establish complex natural product structure-activity relationships. Utilize orthogonally-reactive chemical handles that are present within natural product molecules.
    • Program leadership, people and budget management.
    • Shepherd compounds as they advance through a screening funnel, ultimately delivering families of molecules with requisite target binding properties and eADME profile.

Desired Experience and Capabilities

    • PhD in synthetic organic chemistry with at least 15 years of experience leading a medicinal chemistry program from hit to lead, lead optimization, and preclinical development.
    • Demonstrated chemistry leadership through clinical development, ideally with at least one approved drug discovered.
    • Medicinal chemistry thought leader as evidenced by publication and patent record. 
    • Experience with semi-synthesis and total synthesis of complex natural products.
    • Experience driving a virtual drug discovery campaign with external CROs.
    • Coordination of ADME/DMPK and in vitro/vivo pharmacology. Interpretation of data as a means to inform subsequent versions of molecules.
    • Extraordinary communicator within the organization and to Ginkgo’s commercial partners.  
To learn more about Ginkgo, check out some recent press:
Ginkgo, a Boston biotech venture, is a magnet for VC money (Boston Globe)
The Life Factory: Synthetic Organisms From This $1.4 Billion Startup Will Revolutionize Manufacturing (Forbes)
The engineering of living organisms could soon start changing everything (The Economist)
Synthetic Bio Pioneer Ginkgo Raises $290 Million in New Funding (Bloomberg)
Ginkgo Bioworks raises $350 million fund for biotech spinouts (Reuters)
Ginkgo Bioworks Is Turning Human Cells into On-Demand Factories (WIRED)
Can This Company Convince You to Love GMOs? (The Atlantic)
This food tech startup just raised $90 million to make it easier to invent new plant-based meats (Fast Company)

We also feel it’s important to point out the obvious here – there’s a serious lack of diversity in our industry and it needs to change. Our goal is to help drive that change. Ginkgo is deeply committed to diversity, equality, and inclusion in all of its practices, especially when it comes to growing our team. We hope to continue to build a company whose culture promotes inclusion and embraces how rewarding it is to work with engineers from all walks of life. Making biology easier to engineer is a tough nut to crack – we can’t afford to leave any talent untapped.

It is the policy of Ginkgo Bioworks to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and employment applicants.