Variant Bio is a Seattle-based biotech company entering a rapid growth stage having closed a $105mm Series B financing in the fourth quarter of 2021. The company was started because we believe that human genetics has the power to transform drug development. We are working towards developing therapies to improve global health by studying the genes of people who are outliers for medically relevant traits. To facilitate this, we have built proprietary genomics and phenotyping platforms that allow us to dramatically reduce the cost of genomic studies and identify genetically-validated targets for therapeutic development.

Our team of geneticists, medical researchers, biologists and drug hunters continue to advance multiple projects through internal target validation and lead optimization efforts in relentless pursuit of translating human genetic insights into life-saving therapies.

All of our studies are co-designed with local partners: community groups, academics, and hospitals around the world, and we built Variant Bio from the ground up with ethics at its foundation. We recognize the contribution of our partners through an industry leading benefit-sharing program that dedicates 4% of our revenue and equity value to support local healthcare, sustainable development, education, research, and capacity-building initiatives. Through the Affordable Medicines Pledge we acknowledge that the communities who contributed data that led to the discovery of these new drugs have an equal and reciprocal right to share in the benefits, both financial and social.

Variant Bio is an equal opportunity employer that guarantees a work environment that respects and values diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

Job Description

We seek a highly motivated and collaborative (Associate) Director - Medicinal Chemistry to join our team at our laboratories based in Seattle, WA. The (Associate) Director will lead our chemistry efforts and be responsible for defining, directing and executing preclinical medicinal chemistry efforts across multiple programs and stages at Variant Bio. Reporting to the VP, Therapeutics Discovery, this person will define the med chem strategy for preclinical discovery programs and direct internal and external chemistry resources. The ideal candidate will have experience in hit finding approaches, lead identification, lead optimization and progression of development candidates to IND-enabling studies with small molecules. Exceptional  leadership, communication skills, the ability to lead efforts independently, propose innovative solutions, and work with a multidisciplinary drug discovery team of DMPK, biologists and pharmacologists are key attributes for this position. We also seek creative thinkers, agile learners and candidates with an unwavering willingness to do what is necessary to help build the company and mature a human-genetics-backed therapeutic pipeline. Our current disease areas of interest include kidney disease, fibrosis, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disorders.


  • Lead preclinical in vitro and in vivo medicinal chemistry efforts and define program strategies in collaboration with biology and DMPK leads for multiple discovery programs
  • Manage and mentor members of the internal and external chemistry team
  • Propose and coordinate medicinal chemistry efforts using physical chemical properties, molecular modeling, computational chemistry, biochemical, pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, efficacy and CMC-based data to design and synthesize potential development candidates
  • Guide and represent medicinal chemistry and R&D strategy, including implementing enabling technologies such as structural biology, modeling, ML and new hit-finding and optimization approaches
  • Be an active team player, working hand-in-hand with colleagues in DMPK, biology and pharmacology and maintain a collaborative R&D team environment
  • Contribute to, write and review patent applications, keeping abreast of new applications in relevant fields
  • This role is based in Seattle, and the candidate may spend a portion of their time in the lab, conducting or directing chemistry experiments 


  • Ph.D. or M.Sc. in synthetic organic chemistry (methodology development or total synthesis) and a minimum 8 years of experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • A proven track-record of medicinal chemistry drug-discovery experience in a pharmaceutical or biotech environment, ideally have worked on multiple drug discovery programs and brought several small molecules to a DC or IND-stage
  • Ability to lead an internal and external team, direct preclinical programs and represent program strategy at scientific and leadership meetings
  • Extensive  knowledge of modern synthetic organic chemistry techniques
  • Knowledge of modern medicinal chemistry aspects, including interpretation and application of SAR, DMPK, biology and pharmacology principles to design small molecule drug candidates
  • Excellent people skills and an ability & willingness to work on a multidisciplinary R&D team
  • Independent, creative, detail-oriented, and a critical thinker 
  • Experience integrating modern med chem computational tools such as SciFinder, Vortex, and PyMOL
  • Compelled by the company’s mission of great science, a strong ethical stance, and benefit sharing

What We Offer

  • Opportunity to be part of a startup entering a rapid growth phase grounded in ethics. 
  • Competitive salary and equity packages as well as a 401(k) plan that includes an automatic 3% employer contribution. 
  • Comprehensive benefits including medical, dental and vision with 100% of monthly employee premiums paid for by the company. 
  • Flexible paid time off to help employees obtain a healthy work-life balance. 
  • Company paid professional development opportunities to encourage career progression. 
  • Orca Card provided by the company for work related transportation. 
  • Centrally located Eastlake, Seattle location in a new Alexandria building with modern facilities, including a gym.

Anticipated annual base salary for this position is $170,000 - $225,000 plus up to 10-20% bonus and an options package, for total compensation of up to $187,000 - $270,000, plus equity options.

The annual salary range above is based on the responsibilities and qualifications listed above. Individual salary will depend on job-related knowledge, skills, and experience.

Don't meet every single requirement but are excited to join the Variant Bio team? If your past experience doesn't align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to apply anyway. You may still be the right candidate for this or other roles.

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