Position Description

Associate Scientist, Discovery Chemistry
Location San Francisco
Requisition Number 5125-192-2020
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Nektar Therapeutics has an exciting opening for an Associate Scientist to join our Discovery Chemistry group. We are seeking a talented synthetic, organic chemist to support the company’s research and development efforts to create high value therapeutics to address unmet medical needs.

The successful candidate will be responsible for:

  • Leading in the execution of design, synthesis, purification and characterization of bioactive small molecule compounds and their polymer conjugates via appropriate linkers.
  • Participating in the development of Nektar’s polymer conjugation technology.
  • Facilitating the design of new bioactive compounds/conjugates by interacting with other chemists and biologists to optimize DMPK, in vitro, and in vivo pharmacology properties.
  • Carrying out laboratory experimentation to define new chemical routes to active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates, and scalable, cost effective processes.
  • Participating in industrial route realization, including empirical route evaluation, process development, and technology transfer.
  • Monitoring and evaluating tasks to meet project time frame.


The successful candidate will:

  • Independently design drug-like molecules and safely apply practical synthetic techniques to efficiently deliver compounds/conjugates for biological testing.
  • Define and work on problems in which analysis of data requires an in-depth evaluation of various factors.
  • Independently develop approaches and experiments to address complex problems with sound judgment, using multiple data sources and drawing general, non-obvious conclusions.
  • Plan and coordinate activities with other team members and will actively participate in the implementation of change when required.
  • Lead in the use of professional and scientific concepts to contribute to the development of company concepts and principles to achieve objectives in creative and effective ways.
  • Serve as an in-house consultant for organic and medicinal chemistry techniques, including SAR analysis discussion.  
  • Interface with various departments, customers and partners, putting work practices into context with larger teams.
  • Write reports and protocols and participate in the development of patent applications.

The successful candidate may:

  • Assist with implementing organizational systems, identifying capital equipment, and projecting near-term resource requirements.
  • Manage and/or provide guidance to junior scientific staff, providing training as needed, and ensure adherence to company policies and quality requirements.
  • Act as an internal spokesperson on corporate research/technology/development and advise senior management.  May independently represent the Company to outside organizations, when appropriate.

Minimum Qualification Requirements

A PhD in a scientific discipline is required with a focus in Organic or Medicinal Chemistry highly desirable. Experience in polymer conjugation chemistry is a plus. A minimum of one year work experience in a research and/or development environment is preferred. Post-doctoral work may serve as experience. Exceptional non-PhDs with demonstrated capabilities and/or significant experience may also be considered.

The successful candidate must be willing and able to:

  • Demonstrate hands-on technical proficiency, scientific creativity, collaboration with others and independent thought.
  • Demonstrate independent problem-solving capabilities and sound judgment.
  • Demonstrate strong organizational skills.
  • Demonstrate expert knowledge in scientific principles and concepts with sustained performance and accomplishment.
  • Work as part of a team, demonstrating good interpersonal skills.
  • Clearly communicate scientific information, both written and oral, with the ability to present technical information to both technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Demonstrate good computer skills Working knowledge of ChemDraw, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and CambridgeSoft ChemOffice is required.



We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against applicants due to race, ethnicity, gender, veteran status, or on the basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class. Nektar Therapeutics will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories in the manner proscribed by the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance.

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