Lead Optimization Latin America Project Coordinator

Rio de Janeiro / São Paulo, Brazil
[Closing date: 30 November 2015]




Lead Optimization Latin America (LO LA) Goals:

Initial optimization of high throughput screening hits to deliver compounds that satisfy in vitro potency, in vivo efficacy, DMPK profile, safety and early CMC requirements. These improved compounds could provide the basis for full lead optimization projects.  If optimized leads are identified further work to support preclinical and clinical studies could be requested.


LO LA Project Coordinator Role:

Key duties will include (60%):

  • Single proactive, point of contact for all project related science and process issues.
  • Principal role to support DNDi LO LA consortium.
  • Liaise with LO US & LO Aus coordinator on shared resources, scheduling etc.
  • Ensure regular, clear communication between all consortium members to manage efficient flow of information and materials in support of DNDi projects.
    • E.g. API synthesis timelines to allow ordering of animals for in vivo efficacy & parallel pk studies and ensuring timely development of bio-analytical methods (ordering internal standards etc. as needed).
  • Coordinate contributions from partners for protocol generation.
    • Ensure scientific leaders understand project needs for any particular study (in vivo efficacy, DMPK, toxicology,..) and play a proactive role in quickly and efficiently agreeing an appropriate study protocol.  Arrange TC’s both before & after the study is completed.
  • Liaise with bio-analytical teams to ensure transparency and consistency in approach:  is the best, most appropriate method being used? Which partner is running the BA method and is any technology transfer required between groups or from other DNDi partners?
  • Ensure a high level of engagement of scientists with DNDi projects to design appropriate experiments and protocols, complete the work and then provide not only the data but also expert commentary, analysis and suggestions.
  • Arrange LO LA monthly TC and quarterly F2F meetings and be able to provide updates on on-going work and take actions to arrange further studies as requested by the team.  Invite key team members to the TC as appropriate to discuss recent/future studies.
  • Track screening requests & provide feedback to DNDi & partners on progress.
  • Manage (with UNICAMP) the LO LA chemistry inventory.
  • Check data quality and ensure that this is uploaded into ScienceCloud in a timely manner and in the correct folders
  • Provide and update a clear list of consortium members with contact details.  This should include in vitro and in vivo leads in DMPK, chemistry, in vitro & in vivo biology, toxicology, bioanalysis, formulation, finance, chemical development & manufacturing etc.
  • Ensuring agreements, contracts, quotations, projects and invoices are prepared and accurately labeled in accord with DNDi finance and legal requirements.
    • Protects organization’s value by keeping information confidential.

Further duties involved (40%):

  • Assisting the Head of Drug Discovery and  Regional Medical Director in a regional ‘landscape’ review of scientific and technical capabilities of research groups (academic and industrial/CRO) who may be willing and able to join LO LA to fulfill the needs for Biology, DMPK, Drug safety & toxicology, formulations and solid form, and other specialist services.
  • Participate to regular Monthly Regional Team Meetings
  • Participate on the elaboration of the Regional Strategic Plan (3 years) and Action Plan (1 year)
  • As member of the regional R&D team the LOLA Project Coordinator will also have an active participation within DNDi in issues and discussions not restricted to the LO activity
  • Locates or proposes potential opportunities by contacting potential partners; discovering and exploring network contacts.
  • Develops negotiating strategies and positions by studying integration of new initiatives with DNDi strategies and operations; examining risks and potentials; estimating partners’ needs and goals.


  • Reports to Medical Director of DNDi Latin America
  • He/she will work in close collaboration with the Head of Drug Discovery (Geneva) and with regular contacts with regional R&D team

Essential requirements:

  • BSc/Msc and ideally PhD qualifications in a relevant drug discovery science e.g. Biology, Chemistry, DMPK, Formulation and Material Sciences or Toxicology.
  • Good appreciation of cross-disciplinary nature of drug discovery.
  • Fluent written & spoken Portuguese & English.
  • Able to work flexible hours to accommodate teleconferences with partners in Europe, Americas, Asia, & Australia.
  • Sense of business development and legal practices
  • The ability and sufficient self-confidence to understand and influence the multi-discipline and multi-site drug discovery projects.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with coworkers, managers and stakeholders.
  • Ability to think strategically and objectively and with creativity and innovation

Desirable requirements:

  • Some pharmaceutical industry experience or placement/training.
  • Experience of working on a multidisciplinary project.
  • Working in and organizing a project team.
  • Diplomacy and excellent interpersonal communications skills.
  • Strong leadership and hands-on approach to expand relationship with partners
  • Knowledge of landscape in the region

Working Terms and Conditions:

– Workplace: Either Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo (with flexibility for national and international trips)
– Type of contract: Contract (50% time) – part time.
– Contract duration: December 2016 (with possibility of extension of duration and/or working hours)
– Start date: December, 2015
– Motivated and qualified candidates are highly encouraged to send their CV along with a personal statement to aleal@dndi.org by November 30th, 2015.
– Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.