Director of Small Molecule Drug Discovery

Req ID:  139323

Saffron Walden, GB, CB10 1XL Harlow, GB, CM19 5TR

For 70 years, Charles River employees have worked together to assist in the discovery, development and safe manufacture of new drug therapies. When you join our family, you will have a significant impact on the health and well-being of people across the globe. Whether your background is in life sciences, finance, IT, sales or another area, your skills will play an important role in the work we perform. In return, we’ll help you build a career that you can feel passionate about.

Job Summary

Charles River is seeking a Director of Biology to join our Small Molecule Drug Discovery division within Discovery UK. This recently formed cross discipline business unit of around 230 scientists is a truly integrated drug discovery division, responsible for progressing small molecule projects from hit identification to pre-clinical candidate nomination and beyond, in partnership with clients. The required candidate will be an experienced, highly motivated drug discovery expert who can provide high level scientific, strategic and people leadership to the role and enable the delivery of projects across a range of therapeutic areas and phases of drug discovery. Experience of cross discipline collaboration within projects will be an advantage, as the Director will have the opportunity to influence broadly as part of a multi-disciplinary leadership team. 


Job Purpose 

The Director of Biology will manage a group of around 50 scientists within the Small Molecule Drug Discovery division, working across two UK sites (Cambridge and Harlow). Our biology teams work on projects covering a range of therapeutic areas including: oncology, inflammation, cardiovascular, metabolism and CNS diseases and are responsible for activities such as assay development, molecular and cellular biology and biomarker assay development. 
The role will involve line leadership of multiple teams, working with Associate Directors and Group Leaders to drive high performance through effective objective setting, coaching, motivating and empowering staff at all levels. A passion for personal development of self and others will be required and opportunities for cross discipline line management will also be available.


Scientifically the role will involve ensuring high quality and effective delivery on project objectives and managing scientific and business aspects of client relationships, including acting as Charles River’s representative on Joint Steering Committees. The successful candidate will also be involved in aiding Business Development activities to identify new clients and collaborations. These activities will include meeting potential collaborators and preparing scientific presentations which outline Discovery’s capabilities and expertise. 


As a senior biologist within the division, the Director will be a key driver of the scientific direction and strategic vision for small molecule Biology operations, proactively identifying new areas for growing capabilities and/or to make process efficiency gains and implementing solutions.  The successful candidate will work closely with Biology Directors across other divisions in the UK and Europe who are focussed on disease biology, HTS and advanced modalities.

Main Responsibilities

  • Management of a group of around 50 scientists, including direct line management of other managers and Research Leaders. Opportunities for biology only or cross discipline line management can be considered.
  • To lead, manage and develop the personnel within the group and the Small Molecule Drug Discovery division as a whole.
  • To be responsible for the leadership and/or scientific oversight of projects ensuring effective integration across disciplines and efficient delivery of project objectives.
  • To ensure a high level of scientific standard is maintained on all projects 
  • Review of interpretation of data, review of reports and ensuring delivery of presentations internally and at project meetings with collaborators.
  • To ensure projects meet the company’s goals in terms of resource utilization and revenue / Operating Income (OI) generation
  • To ensure that biology capabilities and expertise are aligned with current and future business needs, contributing recruitment activities, and identifying and implementing new technologies and creative approaches to increase effectiveness as required 
  • Ensuring that the division complies with company and statutory health and safety regulations. 
  • Maintain an up-to-date understanding of scientific developments within the appropriate fields.
  • Provide scientific support to Business Development activities aimed at identifying new collaborations and promote high scientific visibility of CRL Discovery capabilities  

Candidate Profile

  • Ph.D. or BSC + several years of directly relevant industry experience.
  • Extensive biopharmaceutical/CRO industry experience, preferably across a range of therapeutic areas.
  • Broad experience of the management, mentoring and scientific direction of scientists within project teams with proven ability to manage across disciplines
  • Experience of moving small molecule projects through major milestones and able to communicate confidently and concisely with clients via teleconferences, presentations and written reports.  
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to clearly communicate scientific objectives and project results.
  • A dynamic and flexible approach towards achieving client-based objectives and meeting challenging deadlines is required.
  • Expertise in one or more frequent platforms used in drug discovery across a range of therapeutic areas or disease specific knowledge

About Discovery
Discovery from Charles River is industry-proven in the successful development of novel therapies, with over 350 patents and 80 preclinical drug candidates delivered to our sponsors in the past 17 years. Backed by more than 650 scientists, our comprehensive, integrated portfolio employs the latest technology and platforms to provide chemistry, biology, and pharmacology services that support clients from the earliest stages of hit identification all the way through to IND. Our client-focused, collaborative approach creates true partnerships that anticipate challenges, overcome obstacles, and move us forward together on the journey of getting new drugs to market.


About Charles River
Charles River is an early-stage contract research organization (CRO). We have built upon our foundation of laboratory animal medicine and science to develop a diverse portfolio of discovery and safety assessment services, both Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and non-GLP, to support clients from target identification through preclinical development. Charles River also provides a suite of products and services to support our clients’ clinical laboratory testing needs and manufacturing activities. Utilizing this broad portfolio of products and services enables our clients to create a more flexible drug development model, which reduces their costs, enhances their productivity and effectiveness to increase speed to market.


With over 17,000 employees within 90 facilities in 20 countries around the globe, we are strategically positioned to coordinate worldwide resources and apply multidisciplinary perspectives in resolving our client’s unique challenges. Our client base includes global pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, government agencies and hospitals and academic institutions around the world. And in 2019, revenue increased to $2.62 billion.


At Charles River, we are passionate about our role in improving the quality of people’s lives. Our mission, our excellent science and our strong sense of purpose guide us in all that we do, and we approach each day with the knowledge that our work helps to improve the health and well-being of many across the globe. We have proudly supported the development of ~85% of the drugs approved by the FDA in 2019.