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Postdoc Fellow - Photoredox Catalysis

Saffron Walden
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP

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AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for some of the world's most serious diseases. We're proud to have a unique workplace culture that inspires innovation and collaboration. We believe in the potential of our people and you'll develop beyond what you thought possible.

The new R&D Oncology organisation brings together early and late oncology teams, from discovery through to late-stage development, with oncology specific Regulatory and Biometrics groups.

You'll be in a global pharmaceutical environment but also exposed to strong rigorous academic science. For example, every postdoc has an external academic mentor to ensure we are working and publishing at the highest level in a field. What's more, you'll have the support of a leading academic advisor, who'll provide you with the guidance and knowledge you need to develop your career.

The AZ oncology medicinal chemistry group in Cambridge, UK is a dedicated and successful team of scientists who push the boundaries of science to deliver life changing medicines for patients. Our state-of-the art research centres provide an ideal location to gain experience of research in the pharmaceutical industry. This position provides opportunities to interact daily with synthetic, medicinal, computational and analytical chemists within the oncology group. In addition, collaboration with the academic co-supervisor Professor Andrew D Smith (University of St. Andrews) will provide unique insight and mentorship.

Despite extensive advances in the construction of C-C bonds through cross coupling strategies, the construction of carbon-carbon sp3-sp3 bonds in the context of highly functionalised, heterocycle containing molecules remains a challenge for medicinal and synthetic chemists. Improved attrition rates of drug candidates containing high sp3 content has been demonstrated in drug development, attributed to enhanced physical properties such as solubility as well as improved selectivity gained from accessing a wider range of three-dimensional space.

The goal of this research project is to enable the synthesis of asymmetric carbon-carbon bonds on complex substrates using photoredox catalysis. You'll develop a catalytic system that can affect an asymmetric intramolecular cyclisation forming carbon-carbon bonds using highly functionalised heteroaryl precursors to construct sp3 rich 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-membered rings. In addition to the discovery of new catalytic systems that promote novel bond forming reactions, you'll inspire and influence internal chemists to use the promise of the catalysis through interactions with internal project teams. You'll have the opportunity to impact synthetic strategies employed in current medicinal chemistry projects. Wider impact on the external chemistry community will occur via conference presentations and publications in high-quality peer-reviewed journals.

Education and Experience required:


• PhD in organic chemistry with an emphasis on synthetic methodology development and/or execution of complex multi-step reaction sequences in the total synthesis of natural and non-natural products

• Demonstrate understanding of mechanistic organic chemistry and reaction kinetics

• Excellent up-to-date knowledge of synthetic literature

• Passion for laboratory-based research and experience with common analytical techniques in a synthetic organic chemistry laboratory, including NMR, HPLC, GC and MS

• Exhibit a strong scientific track record

• Demonstrated excellence in theoretical and practical synthetic chemistry

• Strong interpersonal, organisational and communication skills

• Evidence of working collaboratively in a scientific environment

• Evidence of high productivity


• Experience of novel reaction discovery and optimisation

• Demonstrated experience in asymmetric catalysis reaction optimisation and development

• Knowledge and experience of photoredox catalysis

Skills and Capabilities required:

• Independently generate and test new hypotheses via appropriate reaction design and data interpretation

• Conduct goal-oriented research in an efficient, safe and practical manner

• Willingness to share expertise, ideas and results

• Ability to present results at scientific conferences and publish research in high quality, peer-reviewed journals

• Self-motivated, analytical thinker with critical problem-solving skills

• The ability to work collaboratively with other experts across various disciplines to achieve goals

This is a 3-year programme. 2 years will be a Fixed Term Contract, with a 1-year extension which will be merit based. The role will be based in Cambridge, UK, with a competitive salary on offer. To apply for this position, please click the apply link below.

Advert opening date - 15th November 2019 / Advert closing date - 13th December 2019

AstraZeneca is an equal opportunity employer. AstraZeneca will consider all qualified applicants for employment without discrimination on grounds of disability, sex or sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity leave status, race or national or ethnic origin, age, religion or belief, gender identity or re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, protected veteran status (if applicable) or any other characteristic protected by law.

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