Lead Data Scientist - Peptide Design

Novo Nordisk A/S
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Job Description

About the Department

The Molecular AI team is part of Novo Nordisk’s Computational Drug Design (CDD) area where we apply and develop state of the art capabilities in predictive science, AI/ML and structure-based drug design. Scientists within CDD collaborate seamlessly with teams across the globe to invent better molecules faster. With an unbiased approach to drug modalities, in-house access to the newest screening techniques, and world-class experimentation, we have a wealth of opportunities to impact our pipeline and ultimately save and improve patient lives. We work in multidisciplinary, highly collaborative discovery teams both locally and across Novo Nordisk’s global network to invent novel medicines by applying advanced computational techniques and developing innovative computational methods. We engage in external collaborations to ensure access to cutting edge research and technology. 

Molecular AI is working to establish ourselves as global leaders in the research, development, and application of small molecule, peptides and RNA. We support cutting-edge research projects and develop innovative technologies in this field. We foster strong collaborations with Research Chemistry within our Global Research and Technology (GRT) organization and the Dicerna Transformational Research Unit (TRU). With a team of scientists located in both Denmark and the United States, we strive to deliver the latest advancements in small molecules, peptides and RNA to benefit patient health and global medicine.

We believe in the value of a diverse and inclusive culture. Together, we build and grow talent to ensure the development of new solutions. The team is comprised of collaborative, diverse and passionate people who have a true sense of pride in their work. We are committed to helping each other grow, and we are driven by the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people living with chronic disease. Everything we do starts and ends with the patient. And, while changing the future of chronic disease treatment, such as diabetes and obesity, is no easy task, we also recognize the importance of an enjoyable workplace, which is why we’ve cultivated a culture of fun, ingenuity, and innovation. Our competitive compensation package and support of a healthy work-life balance all add to a best-in-class employee experience.

Please note we are open to hiring at senior title commensurate with experience and alternative location for this position can be our Seattle, WA facility

The Position

The Lead Data Scientist – Peptide Design will be a critical team member of Molecular AI and contribute to the research team's effort towards exploring and creating new technology and continuing to be a world leader in peptide drug design. The ideal candidate will have a deep knowledge and experience in both advanced computational drug design methods and peptide therapeutic development. The successful candidate should have a high degree of proficiency in Python (or other scientific programming), machine learning libraries, Cheminformatics tools, and cloud computing and be responsible for developing complex workflows to support the selection, design and optimization of peptide modalities and formulations. Furthermore, the candidate will show initiative in recognizing and addressing unmet scientific needs using internal and external data and the desire to grow outside their comfort zone.


The Lead Data Scientist – Peptide Design reports to the Associate Director of Molecular AI. They will have close interactions with scientists and experts within Research Chemistry. Additional internal partners include data scientists, specialists, engineers, software developers, technology scouts & partnership developers and others across US and Denmark. External relationships include commercial and academic collaboration partners.

External relationships include commercial and academic collaboration partners.

Essential Functions

  • Scientific work:
  • Contribute to on-going portfolio projects within multiple therapy areas
  • Design and optimization of drug candidates using advanced computational techniques as a member of therapeutic project teams.
  • Development of innovative computational methods for peptide modeling
  • Deliver state of art methodologies and capabilities to the design and optimization of therapeutic peptides by applying bio/cheminformatics techniques, the latest machine learning and AI algorithms
  • Work with ML scientists and engineers to guide the development of our ML models
  • Conceptualize approaches, identify capability gaps, and set goals within peptide drug design.
  • Represent Molecular AI as a technical/scientific lead on cross-functional research teams that include discovery, development and research IT organizations
  • Provide leadership and mentor more junior computational scientists 
  • Maintain a well-documented, reusable codebase, and traceable model history 
  • Generate IP and participate in the drafting of patent filings 
  • Maintain scientific and technical expertise through familiarity with scientific literature and attending conferences 
  • Collaborative teamwork:
  • Work closely with Therapeutic areas, Research Chemistry and Biophysics and Formulations teams to drive discovery and development efforts 
  • Actively participates in cross-functional teams to develop AI and ML solutions
  • Actively participates in virtual global team meetings regularly
  • Achieves business goals, shares learnings, knowledge and skills and promotes cross-functional teamwork
  • Drive the evaluation of external and internal capabilities and facilitate collaborations with external partners
  • Present your results to an interdisciplinary team of experimental, modeling scientist and machine learning colleagues at company meetings and strategic program readouts 

Physical Requirements

  • Physical Requirements up to 10% overnight travel required.


  • Master’s degree or PhD preferred. Degree within chemistry, computational chemistry, molecular biology or a related quantitative discipline preferred; Minimum of bachelor’s degree required.
  • Master’s degree with 5+ years’ relevant experience, or PhD with 4+ years’ relevant experience OR a bachelor’s degree with 8+ years’ relevant experience can be considered
  • Relevant experience includes a combination of :
  • Drug discovery experience in the field of peptide therapeutics within industry or academics (industry preferred)
    with data management and science tools such as Jupyter Notebook, Matlab, R Studio, etc.
  • Specific experience with peptide design using conformational analysis, amino acid monomers, in silico mutation, property prediction or similar
  • Evidence of creative application of computational approaches to problems of pharmaceutical interest
  • Experience with Python (or other scientific programming) to curate and analyze data at scale and to implement new metrics to predict and select peptide designs
  • Modeling software packages (e.g. Schrodinger, Rosetta, similar)
  • General molecular modeling techniques (docking, molecular simulation, homology modeling, quantum mechanics, ligand- and structure-based design)
  • Experience with peptide structure-based design methods.
  • Experience with QSAR, machine learning, deep learning
  • Ability to perform in-depth data analysis and present results and conclusions to engineering and leadership teams.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Detail oriented with strong documentation skills
  • Examples of your work, such as GitHub repository or publications that can showcase your skill 
  • Preferred experience includes:
  • Research experience related to ultra large library design – highly preferred.Prior experience with macrocyclic design – highly preferred.
  • In-depth knowledge of peptide therapeutic drug design and development methods.
  • Strong domain knowledge in machine learning (Deep Learning, Embeddings, Reinforcement and Transfer Learning) and algorithmic analysis of data
  • Experience working with cloud services such as AWS S3, EC2, and Lambda Functions.

We commit to an inclusive recruitment process and equality of opportunity for all our job applicants.

At Novo Nordisk we recognize that it is no longer good enough to aspire to be the best company in the world. We need to aspire to be the best company for the world and we know that this is only possible with talented employees with diverse perspectives, backgrounds and cultures. We are therefore committed to creating an inclusive culture that celebrates the diversity of our employees, the patients we serve and communities we operate in. Together, we’re life changing.

Novo Nordisk is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by local, state or federal laws, rules or regulations.

This position is part of a job family. As a result, this position can be filled with varying job titles depending on experience. The ranges for the job titles are the following - 

  • Lead Data Scientist - 121,050 - 160,000
  • Sr Lead Data Scientist- $150,000 - 200,000

    Base compensation is determined based on a number of factors. In addition, this position is part of the Annual Performance Incentive Plan. The role may also be eligible for a long-term incentive bonus depending on level and other Company factors.

Employees are also eligible to participate in Company employee benefit programs including medical, dental and vision coverage; life insurance; disability insurance; 401(k) savings plan; flexible spending accounts; employee assistance program; tuition reimbursement program; and voluntary benefits such as group legal, critical illness, identity theft protection, pet insurance and auto/home insurance. The Company also offers time off pursuant to its uncapped sick time policy, flex-able vacation policy, and parental leave policy.

If you are interested in applying to Novo Nordisk and need special assistance or an accommodation to apply, please call us at 1-855-411-5290. This contact is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.

Company Info.

Novo Nordisk A/S

Novo Nordisk A/S is a Danish multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Bagsværd, Denmark, with production facilities in eight countries, and affiliates or offices in five countries.

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    2880 Bagsværd, Denmark
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