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Lilly Principal Research Scientist-Medicinal Chemistry in San Diego, California

At Lilly, we unite caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We are a global healthcare leader headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our 35,000 employees around the world work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to our communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. We give our best effort to our work, and we put people first. We’re looking for people who are determined to make life better for people around the world.

The Discovery Chemistry & Technologies organization within Lilly Research Laboratories is seeking a highly skilled and experienced scientist and teammate to join the Medicinal Chemistry group located at the Lilly Biotechnology Center, San Diego, CA. We're looking for a leader in Medicinal Chemistry. If this sounds engaging, apply today!

Some skills you'll use every day:

  • Keep safety as your top priority at any time, striving to maintain a strong safety culture.

  • Formulate hypothesis, design and synthesize novel small molecules to engage disease modifying targets and contribute significantly to the advancement of drug discovery programs from early lead generation to submission of candidate drugs to the clinic.

  • Use world-class structure-based drug design technologies and partner with expert colleagues in computational chemistry and biophysics to characterize protein-ligand interactions and gain key insights supporting de-novo molecular design.

  • Optimize lead compounds to improve potency, selectivity, physicochemical properties and DMPK to meet the desired target product profiles required to invent high-quality medicines.

  • Deliver high laboratory synthetic productivity to inform fast-paced SAR iterations through proposal and execution of synthetic routes.

  • Team up with colleagues specialized in high-throughput automated synthesis, route optimization and scale-up to improve the overall efficiency and productivity of the group.

  • Reach out across teams to interact and collaborate with scientists in areas like pharmacology, translational science, ADME and toxicology to address specific program needs, increase your overall business understanding and provide them with Medicinal Chemistry perspectives.

Do you have scientific creativity and ability to work independently solving problems through experimental design, analysis of complex data sets and mechanistic insight? We want you on our team!


PhD in Organic, Medicinal Chemistry or closely related field with >5 years after education/postdoctoral training in small molecule organic synthesis and synthetic methodology or MS in Organic or Medicinal Chemistry or related field with >10 years of demonstrated experience as described.

Additional preferred skills:

  • Strong Synthetic Organic Chemistry skills with extensive working knowledge of modern synthetic chemistry methodologies, experimental work, isolation/purification techniques and structural analysis of synthetic organic molecules. Ability to maintain awareness of the latest literature of chemical transformations.

  • Robust track record of scientific contributions including peer reviewed publications, patents and presentations.

  • Excellent English language oral and written communication skills, ability to engage highly effectively as teammate in a multidisciplinary and international environment.

  • Proficient use of Microsoft Office applications as well as Scifinder, Reaxys or other scientific data tools to identify relevant scientific literature.

  • Strong work ethic. Scientific curiosity. Can do, will do attitude.

  • Medicinal Chemistry expertise in pharmaceutical, biotechnology or academic environments, with solid understanding of the following areas of Drug Discovery will be highly valued:

  • Structure-based drug design.

  • Lead optimization to improve potency, selectivity and properties of compounds.

  • Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics problem solving.

  • Computational chemistry tools and methods.

  • Biophysical techniques such as X-ray crystallography.

  • Command of scientific informatics and data visualization tools (e.g. StarDrop, TIBCO Spotfire, KNIME) to undertake computationally enabled multi-property optimization approaches will be advantageous.

  • Lead projects and/or initiatives, coordinating multiple scientific activities and team members simultaneously across various geographies or subject areas.

Lilly is an EEO/Affirmative Action Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, protected veteran status, disability or any other legally protected status.

As a condition of employment with Eli Lilly and Company and its subsidiaries in the United States and Puerto Rico, you must be fully COVID-19 vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination satisfactory to the company. If you would like to request an accommodation for medical or religious reasons, you may do so at

At Lilly we strive to ensure our employees are part of a team that cares about them and our shared purpose of making life better for those around the world. How do we do this? We continue to look for ways to include, innovate, accelerate and deliver while maintaining integrity, excellence and respect for people. We hope that you seek to join us on our journey as we create medicine and deliver improved outcomes for patients across the globe!