Associate Director, Medicinal Chemistry

Who we are:

  • atai Life Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel treatments (both psychedelic and non-psychedelic) for mental health disorders so that everyone, everywhere can live a more fulfilled life. We are developing psychedelic and non-psychedelic compounds and cutting-edge digital therapeutic tools. We are excited about anything that might mean a true leap forward for patients. We have offices in Berlin, London, New York, Boston, and San Diego (and our office culture is important to us). Check out our website here.


What is the role (purpose)

We are looking for an inspired, patient-focused, highly motivated Associate Director, Medicinal Chemistry who is willing to solve the unmet healthcare needs of neuroscience. Impact millions of people suffering from neural disease. Please apply now and harness your skills and inventiveness to help make meaningful contributions to global medical improvement. The Early Development team is one of the Research Units in the R&D organization at Atai Life Science, and it is the engine that fuels the development of new GPC’s therapeutics concepts through rigorous evaluation and creative ideation and is responsible for the discovery of novel approaches & targets to treat Neural diseases, especially using psychedelic drugs.


What you will achieve:

As an Associate Director of Medicinal Chemistry, you will assume instantaneous duty for leading and/or supporting early discovery projects in a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and scientifically driven environment, interacting with scientists across the platform, research unit, subsidiary companies like Entheogenix, Viridia, Empathbio, TryptogeniX, Invyxis, and the broader R&D organization.


  • Lead medicinal chemistry project spanning multiple platforms and managed internal-external drug discovery and development projects and academic collaborations.
  • As a medicinal chemistry project lead, participate in IP discussion and ensure IP filing.
  • Leading many MedChem programs in collaboration with subject matter experts, curating, analyzing, and delegating the large data set.
  • Works directly with discovery chemistry, in vitro/ in vivo pharmacology, CMS, DMPK, and consultant to compile and present project progress reports in the team meeting.
  • Work closely with project managers with project scheduling and prioritizing projects; excellent in using Microsoft Project to create Gantt charts and demonstrate expertise with other scheduling tools and methods.
  • Active participation in teleconferences in support of assigned projects.
  • Experience in working with a team having contractual and financial commitments related to assigned projects, deliverable dates, billing, milestones, and invoicing.
  • Broadmindedness for working flexibly, stress, ambiguity, and applying different approaches to changing work demands.
  • Analysis of scientific literature, providing timely updates in real-time on areas of interest and managing active database subscriptions.
  • Analysis and data management experience required.
  • Monitors and evaluates project plans to ensure no deviations from the established statement of work. 
  • Works closely, communicates, and meets with Study in vitro and in vivo pharmacologist, and subject matter experts (SMEs) from project set up to project closure/he or she will facilitate regular discussion about project status, and issues.
  • Build relationships & collaborate with scientific leaders, academic partners, CROs/vendors, and health authorities.

Who will be successful in this role:

  • Ph.D in Chemistry or a related life science discipline, post-doc preferred, and 7+ years’ experience
  • Or MS/PharmD with 12+ years’ experience in Drug Discovery
  • Must have four years of biotech/pharmaceutical industry experience
  • Expert in curating extensive data set and delegating and identifying the key issues
  • Advanced project and program management skills and a background in psychedelic/neuroscience are desirable but not required.
  • Extensive drug development experience, preferably advancing several molecules from basic research to clinic and supporting early discovery activities.
  • Strong scientific background and experience working/leading medicinal chemistry program, a good understanding of in vitro and in vivo pharmacology assay, and DMPK.
  • Preferred experience working/supporting GPCR's, receptors-based targets, especially in the field of neuroscience.
  • Strong communication skills: the ability to influence and inspire, preferably experienced in navigating and influencing large, highly complex, global matrixed environments with and without authority.
  • Experience in identifying and advancing preclinical targets, performing peer review, and engaging internal and external partners.
  • Experience with leading internal and external preclinical projects in pharma or biotech environment, neuroscience/psychedelic preferred.
  • Proficient with standard office products including Excel, Word and PowerPoint, and web browsing tools.
  • Ability to adapt to changing priorities, strong work ethic, and desire to carry out independent hypothesis generation and testing.
  • Demonstrated capability to work effectively in fast-paced team/matrix environments, sense of urgency with flexibility, and adaptability to organizational change and business priorities.
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities and demonstrate sound business judgment and influence without direct authority to deliver cross-functional projects effectively.
  • Actively contribute to your projects' strategic direction and goals and resolve scientific and technical challenges using knowledge and subject matter expertise.

Those who succeed at atai will be strongly aligned with our values:

  • Conscious Care: We take every action in service of our ultimate goal: to heal mental health disorders for all while caring for ourselves and our team.
  • Innovative Entrepreneurship: We are “loosely coupled but tightly aligned” as we strive for excellence over perfection, fast and focused to accelerate innovation for patients.
  • Constant Collaboration: individuals and teams work together with good humor and no drama, valuing different perspectives and diversity of thought, background, nationality, and style.
  • Radical Responsibility: We take full responsibility for our circumstances. We grow and learn from failures

To succeed in this specific role, the following will also be important: 

  • High Standards / Excellence: Expects personal and team performance to be nothing short of the best.
  • Proactivity: Intuitively chooses to act with high impact without being told what to do. Brings new ideas and initiatives to the company.
  • Attention to detail: Does not let important details slip through the cracks and derail a project. Knows when not to apply the 80/20 rule (e.g., external vs internal presentations and other written material)    

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