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Umbra - Director of Cancer Biology


Lexington, MA, US
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Function: Life Sciences R&D/Engineering
  • Industry: Life Science
  • Post Date: 05/23/2023
  • Website:
  • Company Address: 200 Berkeley Street, 18th Floor, Boston, MA, 02116

About RAVen

RAVen (RA Ventures) is the venture-focused arm of RA Capital Management, LP, a Boston-based biotechnology and life sciences investment firm.

Job Description

Umbra Therapeutics is mapping the tyrosine and lysine proteome to develop impactful therapeutics against diverse target classes.  We are integrating advanced chemoproteomics technologies & bioinformatics with computational chemistry, structural biology and medicinal chemistry capabilities to develop novel, selective therapies in oncology.  Our capabilities empower the discovery of novel druggable sites within proteins including those that have been previously regarded as undruggable and inform rational drug design. Our vision is to be the premier company building a pipeline of next-generation small molecule therapeutics for high-value protein targets.  
About the Role:
Umbra is seeking an experienced and passionate Director of Discovery Cancer Biology to leverage the latest advances in cancer biology, medicinal chemistry, and computational biology to discover novel, promising new anti-cancer drugs. We are seeking a candidate with the following qualities/qualifications.
  • Ph.D. and post-doctoral work in a Cell Biology, Pharmacology or related field and 10+ years of relevant industry experience including advancing small molecule programs from discovery through IND-enabling studies.
  • Strong background in oncology/cancer research, with a thorough understanding of molecular pathways important in cancer biology, mechanistic pharmacology of diverse, targeted cancer therapeutics, synthetic lethality and predictive biomarkers, and preclinical PK/PD efficacy relationships as they relate to small molecule discovery in oncology
  • A very high level of motivation and a proven track record of accomplishments (e.g., a strong publication record in top-tier journals, biology project leader, development candidate nominations)
  • Experience leading one or more drug discovery programs from early stages through to IND, or experience at multiple drug discovery stages and the clear readiness to lead efforts across all stages.
  • An individual who enjoys working in close collaboration with colleagues in the research, development, business development, finance, and administrative areas of the company, as well as Umbra’s external partners, vendors, and consultants.
  • An energetic and passionate R&D professional who is strategic, able to focus on project details as well as the “big picture” with respect to programs and company strategy, likes to think outside of the box, challenge the norm, and is passionate about the company’s mission of discovering and developing new therapeutics.
  • Track-record of adopting highly innovative approaches to answer complex biological questions and experience performing and analyzing a broad array of molecular and cellular biology experiments.
  • Experience working extensively with external CROs and consultants to accomplish drug discovery objectives.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, leadership abilities, and oral and written communication skills

  • The successful candidate will have primary oversight over pipeline biology/pharmacology activities in oncology leading to clinical candidate selection – from target selection through establishment and validation of all assays required for hit identification and lead optimization
  • Be a critical member of the Discovery Leadership Team, creating and executing research strategies for multiple discovery programs with clear go-no/go decisions, helping assess and develop Target Product Profiles for programs under consideration
  • Direct, manage, develop, and empower a team of internal and external scientists in biology and pharmacology; outline and communicate research goals, design key studies, and analyze data
  • Together with the broader multi-disciplinary Umbra team, manage and interact directly with external CROs focusing on preclinical mechanism of action studies, compound screening, functional cell biology and in vivo efficacy experiments, reagent generation, assay development / validation and computational biology activities
  • Collaborate with translational and clinical scientists to identify and validate biomarkers and indication selection for clinical development
  • Leverage a network of external scientific advisors, academic collaborators, and consultants to develop and execute research activities
  • Overall, have a very hands-on role with respect to your direct contributions to our Discovery efforts, while being an outstanding leader and collaborator, a creative problem-solver, and a role model for your reports and across the organization