Director, Discovery Chemistry
Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
 Waltham, MA

Position Summary:

The Director of Discovery Chemistry will lead Apellis' discovery efforts into identifying, synthesizing, and screening new drug candidates to move into translational development. The incumbent will be expected to explore novel technologies and classes of molecular therapeutics, develop assays to screen compounds of interest, work to optimize early molecular leads into promising clinical candidates, establish collaboration with key academic researchers and internal experts, and support the development of these new molecular entities on their path toward clinical trials. He or she will be an integral part of a dynamic discovery and translation team at Apellis and will be expected to work closely in cross-functional teams to bring a cutting-edge chemistry perspective to discussions and problem-solving.

Key Responsibilities Include:

  • Design new molecules to modulate the activity of specific biological targets
  • Design screening strategies to identify promising molecular leads from available libraries
  • Manage external collaborations to synthesize molecules of interest at a research scale to allow screening and characterization
  • Optimize promising molecular leads along critical parameters to generate drug candidates to be moved into translational development
  • Design and conduct in-house experiments (such as solubility and stability) as needed to accelerate early development of promising molecular leads
  • Establish partnerships with external researchers, contract research organizations, and consultants as needed to support ongoing projects
  • Contribute as part of cross-functional teams as required
  • Other duties as assigned

Education, Registration & Certification:

  • PhD Degree in Chemistry or a related field


  • 12 years of relevant academic or industry experience

Skills, Knowledge & Abilities:

  • Solid organic chemistry background with experience in optimizing drug candidates through medicinal chemistry
  • Demonstrated ability to leverage Structure-Activity Relationship tools and concepts to design molecules with desired bioactivity
  • Experience with late stage drug development is a plus
  • Ability to think out of the box and challenge established notions
  • Demonstrated skills in project and program management
  • Demonstrated complex problem-solving ability and sound judgement ability
  • Strong leadership, team building, organizational, communication and interpersonal skills
  • Comfortable working independently with minimal supervision
  • Highly organized, results driven, problem solver
  • Superior written and oral communication skills and the ability to work across different levels of management

Physical Demands and Work Environment:

This is largely a sedentary role; however, some filing is required. This would require the ability to lift files, open filing cabinets and bend or stand on a stool, as necessary.

This job operates in a professional office environment and routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets and fax machines.

Travel Requirements:

  • Expected travel to the Company's headquarters.
  • Additional travel may be required

Benefits and Perks:

Apellis offers a great benefit package which includes: health insurance with full premium coverage, 401K with company match, paid time off (PTO), long- term disability insurance, life insurance and more!

Company Background:

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapeutic compounds to treat disease through the inhibition of the complement system, which is an integral component of the immune system, at the level of C3, the central protein in the complement cascade. We believe that this approach can result in broad inhibition of the principal pathways of the complement system and has the potential to effectively control a broad array of complement-dependent autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

EEO Statement:

Apellis is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all applicable federal, state and local fair employment practices laws. Apellis strictly prohibits and does not tolerate discrimination against employees, applicants or any other covered persons because of race, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy), gender (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender or transsexual individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, past, current or prospective service in the uniformed services, genetic information, marital status, AIDS/HIV status, smoker/nonsmoker, and occupational pneumocononiosis or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local law.

Other Duties:

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.