Associate Director, Assay Development



South San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2024

Cytokinetics is a late-stage, specialty cardiovascular biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing first-in-class muscle activators and next-in-class muscle inhibitors as potential treatments for debilitating diseases in which cardiac muscle performance is compromised. As a leader in muscle biology and the mechanics of muscle performance, the company is developing small molecule drug candidates specifically engineered to impact myocardial muscle function and contractility.

Associate Director, Assay Development

We are seeking a talented & motivated individual to provide scientific, technical & people leadership in the development of functional and binding assays to support the identification, characterization & profiling of novel small molecules with various modes of action at therapeutic targets of interest. The ideal candidate will have a thorough theoretical & practical understanding of drug-receptor theory and will have hands-on experience leading a productive team focused on the design & development of novel cell-based and protein-based assays. The successful candidate, reporting to the Head of Biology Technologies, will lead the Bioassay & Profiling team and will partner with colleagues in protein sciences, biology and chemistry to implement assay strategies for a diverse portfolio of targets


  • Define assay strategies to enable high-throughput screening and rigorous compound profiling during the lead identification and lead optimization stages of drug discovery
  • Collaborate with colleagues in protein sciences, biology and chemistry regarding plans for the acquisition or de novo generation of key cellular, protein & chemical reagents
  • Lead from the bench to investigate the technical feasibility of novel assay approaches and establish proof-of-principle for questions around target biology & cellular signaling pathways. Translate knowledge gleaned into actionable plans for development of panels of high-throughput, kinetic and endpoint assays employing various modes of fluorescence and luminescence detection
  • Manage and mentor a team of scientists and ensure successful portfolio advancement by establishing priorities, setting timelines and monitoring progress with a sense of urgency across multiple projects simultaneously
  • Oversee and guide the development, optimization and validation of robust, target-relevant cell-based and protein-based assays to enable characterization of ligand binding activity and assessment of downstream functional consequences of target engagement
  • Establish high standards for assay performance and ensure collection, analysis, interpretation & communication of reproducible, high-quality in vitro pharmacological data to advance our understanding of structure-activity relationships and mechanisms of action of novel chemical series, including bi-specific molecules
  • Maximize lab productivity and throughput by streamlining assay processes & workflows, by leveraging the capabilities of automated instrumentation & liquid-handlers and by optimizing informatics systems & internal databases for managing large volumes of data
  • Document accurate records of experimental procedures, results & data analysis and present findings & interpretations to cross-functional project teams, research leadership and at external conferences, when appropriate
  • Prospect for novel assay approaches and maintain current knowledge of advances in enabling technologies & assay platforms


  • PhD in pharmacology, physiology, biochemistry or a related scientific discipline with 8+ years of meaningful & impactful experience in the pharmaceutical / biotechnology industry
  • Broad experience in the development of 96- & 384-well, plate-based fluorescent & luminescent activity assays for rigorously interrogating the in vitro pharmacology of a wide variety of molecular targets, including membrane proteins such as receptors & transporters as well as soluble proteins such as enzymes & transcription factors
  • Experience in the development and execution of high-content, cellular-imaging, flow-cytometry or quantitative immunoassays is a plus
  • Hands-on experience in operating and training others in the operation of modern assay technologies including multimodal plate readers (eg, Envision, PheraStar), kinetic plate readers (eg, FLIPR, FDSS) and automated liquid-handlers (eg, Bravo, Tempest, Echo), both as standalone systems and when integrated on automated platforms
  • Previous experience in managing or mentoring others and contributing to their success is required
  • A critical thinker with strong theoretical background in drug-receptor theory and skilled in its reduction-to-practice in the laboratory. Well-versed in experiment design with ability to analyze, interpret and contextualize large volumes of complex in vitro pharmacological and mechanistic data
  • Highly-organized, detail-oriented and productive with excellent problem-solving & communication skills coupled with an ability to meet deadlines in collaboration with colleagues in multiple disciplines including protein science, structural biology and chemistry

Actual salary at the time of hire may vary and may be above or below the range based on various factors, including, but not limited to, the candidate’s relevant qualifications, skills, and experience, as well as the service line and location where this position may be filled.

Salary Pay Range
$180,000$220,000 USD

Our employees come from different backgrounds, and we celebrate those differences. We are looking for the best candidates for our open roles, but do not expect applicants to meet every qualification in order to be considered. If you are excited about what you could accomplish at Cytokinetics and believe you can add value to our team, we would love to hear from you.

Please review our General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy PRIOR to applying.

Our passion is anchored in robust scientific thinking, grounded in integrity and critical thinking. We keep the patient front and center in all we do – all actions and decisions are in service of the patient and their caregivers. We champion integrity, ethics, doing the right thing, and being our best selves.

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Cytokinetics is an Equal Opportunity Employer