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Principal Research Scientist, Drug Discovery



We are seeking a candidate with a "Drug Hunter" persona possessing historical experience in pharmaceutical drug discovery. The scientist is expected to work independently but in close cooperation and in consultation with AcuraStem leadership and other scientists. The scientist is responsible for development and execution of bioassays and pharmacology of AcuraStem's ALS program. This position will play a key role in AcuraStem's therapeutic discovery and development process. The efforts will include working with key opinion leaders to advance disease-related target engagement and efficacy investigations, ultimately driving to clinical candidate and indication selection. The scientist will be expected to assist in the preparation/submission of multiple grant proposals and also prepare full manuscripts for publication based upon his/her research results. The scientist will be expected to establish and maintain institutional IRB/SCRO protocols as well as develop new animal and IACUC protocols. We are seeking a team player who is persistent and tenacious, with an objective to complete experimental plans with high quality, on time, and on budget. The ideal candidate should be extremely well organized in order to document and communicate experimental results clearly and concisely. The candidate will be expected to provide regular updates, documentation, and communication of project results to senior leadership. The successful candidate will be responsible for performing cell maintenance, expansion, and genetic modification of cell models (including stem cells) using viral vectors or other gene-editing methods. A proven record with stem cell culture techniques is important. Prior experience in using pluripotent stem cells is a plus. The candidate must be already approved to work in the USA.



  • Advance the AcuraStem laboratory infrastructure for target identification, assay development, pharmacology, and lead optimization of AcuraStem's lead ALS program.
  • Develop strategy for implementing translational research approaches that interface collaboratively with contract research organizations (CROs) (Preclinical Development, Chemistry, and Clinical teams). These efforts would include in vivo PK/PD studies, design and synthesis of compounds, and development of clinically translatable biomarkers.
  • Provide day-to-day scientific, technical, and organizational leadership within the research team, advancing IP considerations to ensure optimal long-term patent protection around compounds as well as novel technologies.
  • In collaboration with the team, create assays and qualification workflows for drug discovery programs, including routine compound testing of specificity, potency, and pharmaceutics with operational excellence.
  • Possess keen strategic and technical expertise, with experience working in a highly matrixed organization interfacing with external partners and company founders. Mentor and lead 2-5 staff internally. Oversee coordination of CROs to ensure timeliness and progression of projects are in line with project plans. Balance workflow and department resourcing on platform expansion versus product focus in real time based on strategic direction and priorities set by company management.
  • Develop a culture of accountability, transparency, results, innovation, and collegiality within the research organization by establishing performance expectations and hiring and developing top talent to achieve organizational delivery goals. Through the leadership of others, ensure employees are appropriately trained, following corporate policies, SOPs, and practices without compromising quality.
  • Present results at scientific meetings and in publications of peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Review technical publications, articles, and abstracts to stay current on drug research developments.
  • Travel as needed to establish and manage key external drug discovery partnerships and technology expansion relationships at CROs and partner labs.


Education/Skill/Experience Requirements

  • PhD, with expertise in neurobiology, preferably translational biology, and a minimum of 8 years’ industry experience post PhD
  • Demonstrated leadership or key involvement in drug discovery and development processes
  • Demonstrated success delivering therapeutic candidates into development
  • Expertise in multiple neuroscience areas. ALS experience also strongly preferred
  • Demonstrated project team leadership in a matrixed environment; small company and/or start-up experience preferred


Job Type




$90,000.00 to $140,000.00 /year


Job Location

Monrovia CA, 91016