Head of Target Biology

Target Biology and translational medicine · Waltham, Massachusetts
Department Target Biology and translational medicine
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Senior Manager/Supervisor

Do you have the passion to join a group whose mission is to pioneer the discovery of a new class of medicines to treat diseases unaddressed by today’s therapies? Does it excite you to be a part of a company with a focus on cancer and genetically validated targets in other disease areas with high unmet medical need? If yes, you may be a great fit to join Arrakis on our path to bring powerful new RNA targeted small molecule (rSM) medicines to millions of patients. 

Your Impact at Arrakis

The mission of Arrakis Therapeutics is to extend small molecule medicines into new realms of biology by discovering and developing compounds that selectively target RNA. By targeting distinct RNA structure:function relationships, Arrakis is generating drug candidates with novel mechanisms of action for molecular targets that are challenging to drug in disease areas with high unmet medical need. 


The Head of Target Biology will have a large impact on the Arrakis mission through their leadership of the Target Biology team, therapeutic target assessment, disease biology and biology leadership on therapeutic programs. Since oncology is our primary therapeutic focus, this is an opportunity to interact with oncology KOLs, to lead oncology programs from their inception, and to contribute to Arrakis’ portfolio strategy. This individual will lead the evaluation and prioritization of oncology targets as well as opportunistic evaluation of rare disease targets. The scope of the role will include developing the biological strategy required to prosecute targets using RNA-targeted small molecules, cell-based assay design and validation. Responsibilities include both internal and partnered programs. Deep expertise in cancer biology, cancer targets and oncogenic pathways are key requirements for this role. In addition, the ability to perform effectively in a cross-functional manner across teams with diverse expertise and to lead and mentor scientists are critical to success in this position.


The ideal candidate will enjoy working in a collaborative, innovative and fast-paced biotechnology environment. Skills should include a high degree of problem-solving ability as well as excellent communication skills. This individual should possess the ability to organize and prioritize complex workstreams as well as to lead, mentor and inspire the team. 


Job Responsibilities:


  • Lead a Target Biology team of ~10 individuals with substantial future growth potential. This will involve supervising a group of scientists engaged in diverse activities in molecular and cell biology.
  • Recruit, hire and supervise additional staff as needed to meet project goals.
  • Mentor individuals and develop scientists’ careers.
  • Lead the therapeutic target assessment and prioritization.
  • Lead a team tasked with the design, construction and validation of cell-based assays needed to interrogate the efficacy, activity and specificity of RNA-targeted small molecules for internal and partnered targets.
  • Provide biology support for hit-to-lead programs and lead optimization programs
  • Identify, validate and enable preclinical models for evaluation of lead molecules.
  • Manage CROs to create additional bandwidth and/or capabilities where appropriate.
  • Contribute to a culture of open and effective collaboration between Target Biology, RNA Biology, RNA Biochemistry, Computational Biology, Bioassay and Chemistry teams.
  • Contribute to the Arrakis R&D strategy and oversight by serving as a member of the Research Management Team (RMT).



  • Ph.D. in Cancer Biology, Biology, Genetics or related field with 10+ years of experience, with a strong preference for industry experience.
  • Strong supervisory skills. Demonstrated ability to effectively supervise, inspire, and develop scientists, including early-career scientists.
  • Experience in leading oncology programs, including early-stage drug discovery. 
  • Comprehensive knowledge of cancer biology pathways.
  • Experience performing and analyzing a broad array of molecular and cell biology experiments. Experience in running in vivo tumor models is a plus.
  • Broad understanding of the drug discovery process.
  • Ability to effectively communicate strategy, methods, results and program status with colleagues, including bench scientists, research management, project team leaders, advisors, and the board of directors.
  • Exhibits curiosity, passion and excitement for science. Has a can-do attitude without losing objectivity. Resilient, relentless, and fearless.
  • Adjusts quickly to changing priorities and conditions and copes effectively with complexity and change.
  • Strong problem-solving and trouble-shooting skills.
  • Excellent oral communication and writing skills.
  • Ability to work in a dynamic and fast-paced environment.



Interested in learning more about Arrakis?  Click on the links below!











Arrakis is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, military service, veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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  • Location
    Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Department
    Target Biology and translational medicine
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience
    Senior Manager/Supervisor