(Senior) Vice President, Therapeutic Discovery



South San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Thursday, January 4, 2024

The Opportunity

insitro is pioneering a new approach to drug discovery and development, enabled by the use of advanced machine learning to interrogate large amounts of cellular, molecular and clinical data to increase the probability of clinical success. The insitro platforms are generating new therapeutic discovery programs in neurological, metabolic and proliferative disease across a range of fit-for-purpose modalities (small molecule, oligonucleotides, biologics) with both internal capabilities and partners. We are looking for a data-driven Therapeutic Discovery leader, who will guide our molecular strategies and preclinical drug discovery, and ensure that we optimally use our machine learning capabilities both to increase the success of our preclinical programs and to accelerate them.


  • Oversee multi-modality therapeutic discovery:
    • Reporting to the CSO, you will lead a team of drug discovery professionals in areas including: medicinal chemistry; DNA-encoded chemical library design, synthesis and screening; complex biologics (including antibody-drug conjugates, ADCs); oligonucleotides; analytical sciences; PKDM; protein sciences and structural biology.
    • Partner with Therapeutic Areas, Technical Operations, Preclinical & Clinical Development to develop indication strategies
    • Support drug discovery project teams to advance internal therapeutic leads and backups into IND-enabling studies and FIH trials.
    • Engage with Pharma, Biotech and provider partners to prosecute collaborative drug-discovery programs
  • Guide strategy on molecular design and technology:
    • Collaborate with diverse teams, including machine learning scientists, bioinformaticians, and statisticians, to develop advanced capabilities that can replace laboratory experimentation with modeling and simulation.
    • Identify and access/internalize relevant technologies that can accelerate drug discovery and translational success
    • You will foster collaborations with external partners, key opinion leaders, and academic institutions to enhance our scientific knowledge.
  • Collaborate on company strategy and communications:
    • Provide scientific leadership and strategic input across all stages of drug development, from target identification to post-marketing activities
    • Work with other company leaders to guide our corporate strategy, bringing in perspectives on therapeutic modalities, tractability of drug development and manufacturing strategies
    • Partner with Corporate Development and Strategy on new partnership plans and in-licensing/out-licensing activities
  • Broader communication:
    • Communicate our clinical strategy and progress to stakeholders, including the board of directors, investors, and regulatory agencies

About You

  • Scientific experience
    • Graduate degree in a relevant molecular discipline (organic, oligonucleotide or peptide chemistry; protein engineering)
    • 15+ years of experience in therapeutic discovery within the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry, with a record of successful early development candidates.
    • You have played a role in the design and execution of multiple drug discovery programs ideally across more than one therapeutic area relevant to insitro (oncology, neuroscience, metabolic disease)
    • Experience with multiple therapeutic modalities with a strong foundation in all aspects of synthetics drug discovery.
    • Interest in and exposure to the latest computational and data science methods
    • Appreciation for human genetics and its use in target identification or validation
  • Leadership/personality traits
    • You have a quantitative mindset, and a history of collecting and using data in clinical development
    • Track record in building a high-performance team, with experience at the executive level
    • You can work across departments and with colleagues from very diverse backgrounds
    • Attitude consistent with a small startup environment, including urgency, effort, and the desire for success
    • You are able to explain complex medical and scientific concepts to diverse audiences.
    • Demonstrated strategic thinking and a visionary approach to medical leadership in the context of AI-driven drug development.
  • Nice to have
    • Significant strategic role in at least one NME that has obtained full regulatory approval (BLA or NDA)
    • Experience in company building and the establishment of significant drug discovery capabilities

Compensation & Benefits at insitro

Our target starting salary for successful US-based applicants for this role is $300,000.00 - $360,000.00. To determine starting pay, we consider multiple job-related factors including a candidate's skills, education and experience, market demand, business needs, and internal parity. We may also adjust this range in the future based on market data.

This role is eligible for participation in our Annual Performance Bonus Plan (based on company targets by role level and annual company performance) and our Equity Incentive Plan, subject to the terms of those plans and associated policies.

In addition, insitro also provides our employees:

  • 401(k) plan with employer matching for contributions
  • Excellent medical, dental, and vision coverage (insitro pays 100% of premiums for employees on our base plans), as well as mental health and well-being support
  • Open, flexible vacation policy
  • Paid parental leave
  • Quarterly budget for books and online courses for self-development
  • Support to occasionally attend professional conferences that are meaningful to your career growth and development
  • New hire stipend for home office setup
  • Monthly cell phone & internet stipend
  • Access to free onsite baristas and cafe with daily lunch and breakfast
  • Access to free onsite fitness center
  • Commuter benefits

insitro is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.

We believe diversity, equity, and inclusion need to be at the foundation of our culture. We work to bring together diverse teams–grounded in different expertise and life experiences–and work even harder to ensure those teams thrive in inclusive, growth-oriented environments supported by equitable company and team practices. You can expect equitable treatment, respect, and fairness throughout the interview process.


About insitro
insitro is a drug discovery and development company using machine learning (ML) and data at scale to decode biology for transformative medicines. At the core of insitro’s approach is the convergence of in-house generated multi-modal cellular data and high-content phenotypic human cohort data. We rely on these data to develop ML-driven, predictive disease models that uncover underlying biologic state and elucidate critical drivers of disease. These powerful models rely on extensive biological and computational infrastructure and allow insitro to advance novel targets and patient biomarkers, design therapeutics and inform clinical strategy. insitro is advancing a wholly owned and partnered pipeline of insights and therapeutics in neuroscience, oncology and metabolism. Since launching in 2018, insitro has raised over $700 million from top tech, biotech and crossover investors, and from collaborations with pharmaceutical partners. For more information on insitro, please visit www.insitro.com.