Job Description. 

Cajal is seeking a Head of Chemistry - Drug Discovery, motivated by Cajal’s mission to develop new medicines for patients with neurodegenerative disorders. Our team members thrive on getting things done, and eagerly navigate the uncertainty of an ever-changing and fast-paced environment in a pre-clinical biotech company.  

As Head of Chemistry at Cajal, you will lead the company’s chemistry efforts from tool compound development to fully integrated medicinal chemistry (hit ID → lead op → drug candidate). You will also be a key member of Cajal’s leadership team, helping determine and set the overall strategic direction of the company.


  • Aid in selection of targets and mechanisms for drug discovery programs.
  • Design, execute, analyze, interpret, and present experiments to measure and optimize pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and lead a portfolio of programs through the various stages of drug discovery (lead ID → lead optimization → drug candidate).
  • Act as a bridge between Preclinical Biology (Target Discovery / Validation) and Clinical Development groups. 
  • Help recruit and mentor chemists and possibly in vitro & in vivo pharmacologists.
  • Manage a network of external partners and CROs to support ongoing programs.
  • Interact with external thought leaders, including advisory boards, to support drug development efforts.
  • Actively participate in strategic planning, internal and external partnering, and financing discussions, as well as presentations to the Board of Directors

This job might be great for you if you have:

  • PhD with strong background in Chemistry (experience with neurodegenerative disease is a plus).
  • 5+ years of small molecule drug discovery experience within industry. 
  • Track record of advancing small molecule discovery programs from hit ID to lead op to DC.
  • Demonstrated ability to evaluate, interpret, and present complex scientific data, deep knowledge of PK/PD, particularly in the CNS.
  • A talent for building and maintaining high-performing teams, with a focus on developing leaders on all levels.
  • Experience leading CROs and other external consultants.
  • Excellent knowledge of the competitive environment for drugs and relevant biological pathways in neurodegeneration and related therapeutic areas.
  • The energy, flexibility, and resourcefulness to both lead a big-vision strategy and be hands on.
  • Are science- and data-driven, detail-oriented and thrive in a highly collaborative, team-oriented startup environment.


Cajal is a well-funded team of experienced scientists looking to solve one of the most vexing problems in drug discovery: how to model and treat complex diseases of the brain. We are applying high throughput microscopy, functional genetic screening, and multi-omics approaches to identify new drug targets and therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases.  This is a rare opportunity to lead at an early stage, well-funded biotechnology company developing next-generation therapies.

Medical, dental, & vision coverage for employees and their families with competitive compensation based on experience level. Cajal Neuroscience is an equal opportunity company. We believe we are a team of people first, and we do our best to make sure all of our team members feel supported and connected at work. Come join us in our newly designed offices in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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