Senior Principal Scientist, Computational Chemistry

Boston, MA, USA Req #34
Friday, May 21, 2021

Xenon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:XENE) – a biopharmaceutical company with operations in Vancouver, BC, Canada and Boston, MA, USA – is advancing an exciting pipeline of therapies for neurological disorders, with a particular focus on innovative treatments for epilepsy. Xenon has a number of promising therapeutics in clinical development, valuable collaborations with pharmaceutical partners, and innovative early-stage research underway and also has a strong balance sheet to support its continued growth in 2021 and beyond.

We are a collaborative, ambitious, and driven team with a common mission to improve the lives of patients with neurological disorders. Creating a healthy and productive work environment is a priority, and we understand the importance of investing in our employees’ growth and development. We support charities and volunteerism, knowing that when our people contribute to their local communities, they are gaining new experiences and becoming even better leaders. Xenon’s employees are smart, passionate, and driven by their incredibly important work to discover, develop and deliver new medicines for patients in need. We are looking for talented and determined individuals who thrive in a fast-paced and dynamic work environment to join our team during this transformative time for the company.

We are seeking a Senior Principal Scientist, Computational Chemistry to join our team. This individual has expertise in molecular modeling, computer aided drug design, virtual screening, as well as the development of in silico models to guide drug design. This individual has solid theoretical and practical knowledge of molecular modeling, chemoinformatics, virtual screening, QSAR, and data mining. A keen interest in hypothesis-driven drug discovery, strong problem solving skills, and the ability to work in a team environment by engaging with cross-functional scientists are key elements of the role. The Senior Principal Scientist has a track record of accomplishments which demonstrates technical proficiency, independent thinking, problem solving ability, and scientific creativity. Importantly, this individual has excellent communication & interpersonal skills. This position will be located in either the Vancouver, BC or Boston, MA locations.


  • Devise computational strategies to support small molecule design and optimization.
  • Improve the quality of drug design by introducing computational chemistry methodologies to enhance the utility of X-ray/cryoEM/homology structures, small molecule molecular modeling, in silico modeling, chemical library design, data mining and chemoinformatics.
  • Closely collaborate with Xenon’s medicinal chemists and cross-functional scientists.
  • Closely collaborate with Xenon’s IT group to identify appropriate computational chemistry software and hardware for use in preclinical programs.
  • Contribute to Xenon’s computational chemistry strategy.
  • Provide guidance, support, and training in areas of molecular modelling.
  • Present research to colleagues within and outside the Chemistry Department and Drug Discovery group.
  • Develop strategies to enhance our drug design capabilities, identify quality chemical leads for new projects, and develop high quality candidates for clinical development.
  • As needed, supervise and develop junior computational chemists.
  • Recruit, lead, direct, develop, coach and evaluate direct reports, if any, in accordance with the Company’s Human Resource policies and practices.


  • PhD in Computational Chemistry (or equivalent) with a minimum of 7+ years of related experience.
  • Demonstrated significant impact on drug discovery programs through his/her support of biology and chemistry functions.
  • Broad understanding of medicinal chemistry as it applies to lead optimization and Hit-to-Lead campaigns.
  • Good multitasking ability to support multiple programs simultaneously.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Expertise in structure and ligand-based design.
  • Experience with molecular dynamics simulations is preferred.
  • A keen interest in hypothesis driven drug discovery, strong problem solving skills and the ability to work in a team environment by engaging with cross-functional scientists are key elements of the role.
  • Demonstrated impact on Hit-to-Lead campaigns via design of compounds and triaging of screening results are considered a plus, particularly in the area of ion channels.

To apply, click Apply Now to create a candidate profile and complete the job application. We thank all applicants for their interest; however, due to the volume of applicants, only those chosen for an interview will be contacted.