Research Associate, Medicinal Chemistry

Chemistry · Vancouver, British Columbia
Department Chemistry
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Mid-level


Chinook Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing precision medicines for patients with kidney diseases.  We apply our proprietary research platform to discover and develop therapeutics with novel mechanisms of action against key kidney disease pathways. The development focus is on rare, serious disorders with clear unmet medical needs and defined and rapid clinical development opportunities.  Our lead program, atrasentan, is a late-stage clinical program for the treatment of primary glomerular kidney diseases planned to move into a phase 3 trial for IgA nephropathy in 2021. We are also advancing CHK-336 towards a planned IND in 2021 for an ultra-orphan kidney disease.  In addition, our pipeline has several other internal programs at the validation and lead optimization stages and we are also evaluating business development opportunities for early and late-stage clinical assets to enhance the pipeline.


Chinook launched in 2019 with a $65 million Series A financing from leading healthcare investors Versant Venture, Apple Tree Partners and Samsara Biocapital, and recently announced a proposed merger with Aduro Biotech, Inc., which we expect to close in 2020.  Chinook will be the surviving company following the merger and will trade on Nasdaq.  Concurrent to the merger, we also recently announced a private placement financing of $106 million from leading healthcare investors including EcoR1, OrbiMed, and others. Upon both transactions closing, Chinook is expected to have at least $275 million in operating capital.  Chinook currently has approximately 45 employees and is based in Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC.



Chinook Therapeutics has an opportunity for an energetic and collaborative medicinal chemist to support the design, synthesis, characterization and analysis of small-molecule therapeutic compounds. This is a great role for a highly motivated, independent chemist who is willing to learn and take on responsibilities associated with the drug discovery process.  The Research Associate will be able to work collaboratively in a team environment and effectively communicate her/his ideas both orally and in writing. This person will be working together with members of the chemistry department and individuals in biology/DMPK/pharmacology with the goal of developing precision therapies to help patients with kidney diseases.


Responsibilities Include:

  • Design, research, synthesize, purify, analyze and characterize small molecule compounds using modern, multi-step, synthetic organic chemistry techniques. 
  • Learn to design molecules with appropriate medicinal chemistry properties through a growing understanding and application using modern medicinal chemistry techniques, including physical chemical properties, molecular modelling and computational chemistry to design more potent analogs.
  • Become familiar with reviewing, analysing and utilizing biochemical, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data.  Begin to apply these concepts, with coaching from senior team members, in order to design and synthesize more efficacious therapeutic analogs. 
  • Participate in interdisciplinary research and development projects working with chemists, biologists, pharmacologists and DMPK colleagues.
  • Learn to search, analyze, prepare and review patent applications.
  • Maintain a safe lab environment and work within defined safe laboratory practices. 


Education, Experience and Skills:

  • M.Sc. degree from a recognized university, specializing in small-molecule synthetic organic chemistry with methodology development or total synthesis experience. Recent graduates are encouraged to apply, although the ideal candidate will have some industrial medicinal chemistry experience.
  • B.Sc. degree with 3 plus years’ experience in synthetic / medicinal organic chemistry, ideally in a biopharmaceutical environment.
  • Excellent understanding and technical capabilities in synthetic organic chemistry techniques and procedures, including:
    • <10 mg to >100 g scale reaction synthesis
    • Multi-step organic synthesis (3-10 steps) and synthetic route optimization
    • Purification of novel small molecules by flash chromatography, HPLC and crystallization
    • Characterization of novel small molecules with LCMS, 1D and 2D NMR.
  • Experience in using online chemical search tools, such as SciFinder.
  • Modern synthetic organic methodology development experience as demonstrated by publication record in major peer-reviewed journals.
  • Good oral and written communication skills in English, with the ability to present, explain and summarize scientific research and research progress.


Chinook is an Equal Opportunity Employer and we do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, place of origin, religion, family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and disability or any other federal, state, provincial or local protected ground.

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  • Location
    Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Department
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience