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Lead Chemist



San Carlos, CA, USA
Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2023

Elegen is blazing a path towards a biology-based economy with a highly innovative approach to DNA synthesis that delivers an industry leading length of 7kb in 7 business days with a 99.999% per base accuracy. Our multidisciplinary team of best-in-class biologists, chemists, hardware, and software engineers apply cutting-edge technologies and methods to solve critical bottlenecks in synthetic biology workflows to help our customers in pharma, biotech, agbio, and biomanufacturing streamline their work and realize the full potential of programmable biology.

We are seeking a highly skilled and experienced Lead Chemist to oversee solid-phase DNA synthesis process development on our proprietary hardware. The successful candidate will be responsible for leading the chemistry team, working independently in a laboratory environment, collaborating effectively with other functional teams, and providing strategic input to the management team. This role also involves contributing to brainstorming discussions within the R&D department.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Oversee the chemistry team and provide development strategy to the management team:
    • Manage a team of chemists engaged in oligo synthesis and related research activities, ensuring adherence to project resource and timelines.
    • Provide mentorship, guidance, and technical expertise to the chemistry team, promoting their professional growth and development.
    • Communicate experimental plans, progress, and results effectively to the project team.
    • Provide development strategies for chemistry to the management team, contributing to the overall R&D direction.
  • Optimize oligo synthesis chemistry on our proprietary hardware:
    • Implement innovative approaches to enhance the efficiency, yield, and overall quality of synthesized oligonucleotides.
    • Enlarge parameter windows to ensure reproducibility and reliability against protocol and instrument variation.
  • Optimize cleave, deprotect, and purification workflows:
    • Devise and characterize an efficient and reproducible workflow for cleaving and deprotecting protected oligos from solid supports, ensuring compatibility with downstream applications.
    • Develop and characterize a robust purification method in a well plate format.
  • Develop a set of analytical methods to characterize synthesized oligonucleotides:
    • Establish analytical methods such as HPLC, LCMS, sequencing, and spectrophotometry to accurately characterize the yield, purity, and side products of synthesized oligonucleotides.
    • Develop a rapid QC method for synthesized oligonucleotides to ensure consistency across machines, locations, and time.
    • Implement rigorous statistical analysis to ensure reliable and reproducible data interpretation.

  • Lead development of solid supports for our proprietary oligonucleotide synthesis hardware:
    • Define requirements for solid support and ensure a long-term supply.
    • Oversee optimization of the functionalization chemistry of solid supports to improve the yield and efficiency of synthesized oligonucleotides.
    • Develop quality control (QC) and preparation protocols for solid supports to meet the hardware’s requirements.

Essential Qualifications and Experience:

  • PhD in synthetic organic chemistry or equivalent experience.
  • In-depth knowledge of general chemistry principles, solid-phase synthesis, and instrumental analysis techniques (e.g., HPLC, LCMS, sequencing, spectrophotometry).
  • Extensive experience in solid-phase oligonucleotide synthesis.
  • Proficiency in designing and executing hypothesis-driven experiments.
  • Proficiency in data aggregation and analysis using rigorous statistical methods.
  • Strong leadership skills with the ability to provide strategic guidance.
  • Proven ability to oversee and manage a chemistry team.

Preferred Qualifications and Experience:

  • Prior experience with polymer bead surface chemistry and functionalization
  • Experience with high throughput oligo synthesis (>10,000 unique oligos per run)
  • Experience with microfluidics is a plus.
  • Proficiency in programming is a plus.

Note: This job description outlines the primary duties and requirements of the position but is not exhaustive. Other tasks and responsibilities may be assigned as needed.

Salary and Benefits:

The annual base salary compensation for this role, if based in California is: $145,000 - $230,000. Compensation may be different in other locations. Final compensation also includes bonus, equity and benefits. Specific offer packages are determined by multiple factors, including candidate skill, experience, expertise, and location.

✓ Healthcare ✓ Dental ✓ Vision ✓ Learning Allowance

✓ 401K ✓ Flexible PTO ✓ Short Term Disability ✓ Fitness Allowance

About The Company:

Founded and led by Dr. Matthew Hill and located in San Carlos, CA, Elegen is well-capitalized by top life science investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, 8VC, and KdT. The company is advised and staffed by leading biotechnology scientists and entrepreneurs, including Dr. Marc Unger, inventor of the Nanoflex™ valve, and former CSO of Fluidigm. Dr. Hill has a PhD from Stanford and a proven track record of advancing innovative technologies from invention to commercial success. Over eight years in his previous role as VP of R&D at a leading molecular diagnostics company, he co-invented and launched five precision molecular diagnostic products, including a best-in-class noninvasive prenatal test used by millions. These products earn more than $350 million per year in revenue and enabled an IPO.

Elegen is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Elegen provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic characteristics, or any other category protected by law. All applicants have rights under the following Federal Employement Laws: