Thursday, January 31, 2013

An ad for a Pfizer "design chemist" position

On LinkedIn, an ad for a Pfizer CVMED design chemist:
Responsibilities  
The Cardiovascular Metabolic and Endocrine (CVMED) Design Chemist provides scientific leadership in the medicinal chemistry group aligned to the CVMED Research Unit (CVMED RU). This individual is responsible for leading the medicinal chemistry effort on 2-3 projects within the CVMED RU in collaboration with the CVMED Biology Group and synthetic chemistry.  
An outward looking focus is important given the network of resources within World Wide Medicinal Chemistry (WWMC) that will be leveraged to advance CVMED programs. These include, but are not limited to, structural biology, computational chemistry, chemical biology, drug safety and drug metabolism.  
Collaboration with additional external academic collaborators will be necessary to advance the CVMED portfolio and drive discipline excellence within the CVMED RU and WWMC. This design chemist will be responsible for all of the molecular design for their assigned programs and will be directly accountable for their designs advancing projects from exploratory stages to delivery of clinical candidates that survive to positive proof of concept (POC). The design chemist is also accountable for working with synthetic chemists to ensure that design and synthetic excellence drive appropriate selection of target compounds and speed to FIH. (emphasis CJ's) The design chemist is accountable for driving a strong scientific agenda wherein internal research capabilities are integrated with a broader research network to drive new thinking and capabilities in design.  
Qualifications Doctoral level degree, or equivalent with at least 5 years experience in the
pharmaceutical industry and 3 years experience leading design efforts on a project. 
Strong working knowledge and track record of delivery in drug discovery - from exploratory chemistry to clinical testing. 
The role is located in Cambridge, Mass and will require visits to the Groton Connecticut sites for face to face meetings. The frequency of these visits will be 6-12 times per year. 
I've expressed my skepticism about these positions before. (I've seen 200-foot separations between managers and workers cause communication issues; a 2 hour drive?) That said, there are a lot smarter people than I who will be filling these positions; I sincerely hope they can succeed. 

Readers, what do you see in all of this? 

14 comments:

  1. the people won't be smarter, they will just be bigger blowhards.

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  2. I know several chemists in both design and synthesis. None of them think that this is a good idea or will be fruitful going forward. They are all just waiting for the next abrupt change in direction.

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  3. It is hard to believe that anyone, given the Pfizer track record for layoffs would accept a position there. How desperate do you have to be?

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  4. Well, for what it's worth, they pay really well and have good benefits. So there's that.

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    Replies
    1. ...except for that "giving your 401k match in company stock" thing. That's freakin' lunacy.

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    2. With the stock as low as it has been, it might not been a bad investment, especially with all the changes they are going to be making in the next few years, splitting of their Animal Heath and potentially splitting the new drug side from the established drugs. Wall St seems to be liking both moves...

      Bottom line, it's free money because they certainly don't *have* to do it...

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  5. I know this group well (and thankfully no longer work for Pfizer)--Tim Rolph is running the show there, and may the Flying Spaghetti Monster bless the poor soul who actually takes this job. Several of their very good chemists, both "design" and "bench" designees, have left voluntarily rather than deal with Tim and Pfizer management.

    If they wanted to have a CVMED chemist on staff with a strong track record of delivering drug candidates to the clinic, probably would have been a good idea to, I don't know, *be really nice to the ones they already had*. Just a thought.

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  6. One person, no matter how smart a medicinal chemist, is not going to generate the same diversity of ideas for targets that a group of several scientists could come up with. Does a wider diversity of target ideas lead to a better drug candidate? That would be difficult to prove, but it seems reasonable to me.

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  7. I agree, totally dumb strategy. It is a fad, just like combi-chem. Only this strategy is laregly resonsible for the destruction of med-chem in the US.

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  8. At first, I was going to dismiss it outright. But then thinking about it, it's not that different from an academic total synthesis group where the prof is busy never steps into the lab and sees you only once a month. They broadly direct your project and tell you which molecule you should be making. Then maybe the molecule gets passed on the the biological folks. The problem is, that I don't think you would want to trust K.C.N. with coming up with drug candidates for Pfizer just on his own in the office. Maybe not even if he had lots of experience in the drug industry; I'm sure he's a consultant for the industry already though.

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  9. "An outward looking focus is important given the network of resources within World Wide Medicinal Chemistry (WWMC) that will be leveraged to advance CVMED programs"

    That's fantastic! If the author been able to add "paradigm" and "synergize" it would have been worth an A in buzzword class (satisfactory completion of pie chart class reqd...) in MBA school.

    Not at all related: http://jobs.merck.com/job/Upper-Gwynedd-2013-MMA-Summer-Intern-Job-PA/2113083/. What's MRK doing hiring MMA fighters?

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  10. Maybe I'm not reading this right, but they want one person to be the sole designer for all the med chem strategy for two to three projects simultaneously?

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like a lot of work, don't it?

      What do we think a position like this pays? This has gotta be like a R5/R6 position, yes? So 120k? (A WAG.)

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    2. uncle sam: K.C.N. doesn't do any consulting for pharma

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