Director of R&D, Innovation & Partnerships

Location: This role is not open to remote applicants and would require relocation to Seattle, WA.

A-Alpha Bio Summary

A-Alpha Bio is an early stage and rapidly growing drug discovery company headquartered in Seattle, WA. We are enabling the next generation of high-impact therapeutics with synthetic biology and machine learning. We partner with leading pharma and biotech companies to enable the discovery of antibodies, molecular glues, and other protein interaction-related drugs.

Role Description

A-Alpha Bio is seeking an experienced and highly motivated Director of R&D to lead a team of Scientists responsible for the execution of internal R&D initiatives and external partnerships. The Director of R&D will be responsible for the development, prioritization and management of complex internal R&D initiatives involving synthetic biology, protein engineering, antibody engineering, drug discovery, and machine learning. The role will also work closely with the Project Management and Business Development teams to determine feasibility, bandwidth constraints, ownership and execution of external partnerships and collaborations. Success in this position requires the ability to prioritize based on key strategic objectives, synthesize complex issues into actionable solutions, and effectively and persuasively communicate to diverse stakeholders including the executive team and Board of Directors. The ideal candidate will have significant management experience in a highly technical environment and must be passionate about being a strong advocate for their team. This position will report directly to the Chief Technology Officer.


  • Grow and manage a high performing R&D team consisting of Engineers, Scientists, and Research Associates across synthetic biology and drug discovery fields
  • Represent the R&D team in cross-functional project teams and with the executive team
  • Challenge team think, proactively anticipate risks, and develop mitigation strategies
  • Work closely with CTO, CEO, and business development to ensure alignment of technology development plan and corporate strategic and operational plans
  • Lead meetings to prioritize, refine and execute R&D initiatives
  • Work closely with Head of Technical Ops to prioritize technology transfer initiatives
  • Coordinate the planning of effective experiments and priorities with the Data Science & Production teams
  • Participate in the publication of research papers and in the filing patents
  • Obsess over innovation and think years into the future


  • Ph.D. in Life/Chemical/Physical/Engineering Sciences
  • Direct experience in several of the following areas: antibody or protein engineering, drug discovery, NGS-based assays, synthetic biology, data science and machine learning
  • Impressive technical track record at leading pharma/biotech companies
  • 5+ years of industry experience and 3+ of management experience
  • Strong interpersonal and verbal / written communication skills
  • Strong problem-solving skills and creativity
  • Experience directly leading and managing R&D teams in a cross-functional and fast-paced environment
  • Experience managing, collaborating with and recruiting top-tier scientists

Preferred Qualifications

  • Industry experience in a fast-growing biotechnology startup

We offer competitive compensation including a pay package, benefits, and equity in a fast-growing start-up. Job title will be set based on experience and track record, so we encourage applicants with a wide range of backgrounds to apply.  

About A-Alpha Bio

A-Alpha Bio is an early-stage biotechnology company combining synthetic biology and machine learning to dramatically improve the discovery of high-impact therapeutics. We believe that abundant high-quality data is critical for understanding biology and curing disease – and synthetic biology is our catalyst. Our proprietary AlphaSeq platform uses genetically engineered cells to quantitatively measure millions of protein interactions – from which we generate high-resolution models of biology.

In 2018, we spun out of the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design and Center for Synthetic Biology – both fantastic communities of brilliant and highly entrepreneurial scientist. Initial financial support came from the National Science Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a seed round in September 2019 led by OS Fund. Since the company’s inception, we have focused on partnering with pharmaceutical companies to discover and optimize drugs for therapeutic areas ranging from infectious disease to cancer. We are growing rapidly, and new members of the team should expect a fast-paced and highly dynamic work environment. We are building a diverse, meritocratic, and supportive team that values hard work, creativity, transparency, individual and team growth, flexibility, and kindness.

A-Alpha Bio is headquartered in Seattle at Fluke Hall, a startup incubator operated by the University of Washington (although, we will be moving soon!). While the startup lifestyle occasionally requires grueling hours, we strongly value the need for a work-life balance and time out of the lab/office. We are fortunate to be situated in a region that is renowned for its premier outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, kayaking, and sailing. At A-Alpha, you’ll find many who love the outdoors, but also gamers, bakers, photographers, brewers, jetsetters, animal lovers, and artists. Whatever your passions, you belong at A-Alpha Bio.

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