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Senior Principal Scientist, Chemical Biotechnologies



Other Engineering
Rahway, NJ, USA
Posted on Friday, June 7, 2024

Job Description


The Senior Principal Scientist reports to the Senior Director Chemical Biotechnologies of Process Research & Development Enabling Technologies, our Company's Research Laboratories. As a scientific leader within Chemical Biotechnologies (CBT), they are responsible for delivering technical innovation, both personally and through mentorship of others, and in driving the scientific strategy of the CBT group. The Senior Principal Scientist manages and prioritizes a portfolio of work that includes direct project support of the current our Company's clinical pipeline and prospective technology development that enhances our ability to deliver on the pipeline of the future. This includes technical oversight of laboratory-based process development and characterization, scale-up and activities to support technology transfer and regulatory filings.

The CBT group is an interdisciplinary team responsible for the discovery, development, and application of proteins and other biomolecules to support our Company's Pipeline from Discovery to Commercial launch across small molecules, biologics, and vaccines. The Senior Principal Scientist cultivates and drives scientific excellence and innovation by contributing their expertise and experience to drive invention and implementation of new biomolecule applications. As a scientific leader with deep subject matter expertise in chemistry, biocatalysis and protein engineering, they will be expected to impact the scientific strategy and portfolio broadly, including via their own lab experimentation and their guidance of fellow scientists both in and out of the lab. They will also use their network and knowledge of emerging biotechnology advances to drive these contributions.

Critical tasks include: (1) developing innovative enzymatic solutions to complex chemistry problems across a diverse portfolio of projects from the preclinical to commercial synthesis phase, (2) advancing novel capabilities to design, generate, and test libraries of engineered proteins with world-class efficiency, (3) mentoring, coaching, and training scientists both in and out of the lab to drive technical excellence, and (4) proactively identifying and capitalizing on impactful new opportunities and applications of biomolecules across modalities. These tasks will enable the incorporation of improvements to existing workflows and invention of new ones that fundamentally shift our ability to deliver on the pipeline of the future.

A successful candidate is expected to collaborate with their peers on developing strategies and priorities for biomolecular applications. They are responsible for working closely with their counterparts across Development Sciences and Clinical Supply (DSCS), Discovery, Preclinical and Translational Medicine (DPTM), and our Company's Manufacturing Division, to deliver on their critical tasks.

Through their scientific leadership, strategic input, and mentorship, the Senior Principal Scientist will ensure that we develop and deliver innovative, robust, safe and economical processes that meet project timelines with the best science at first filing toward world class supply targets. This role is also responsible for directing the preparation and approval of disclosures to be used as the basis for patent applications, publications and external presentations. As such, a strong, established reputation for scientific excellence supported by publications and external presentations is expected.

Nature and Scope of Position:
This role reports to the Senior Director of Chemical Biotechnologies within Enabling Technologies, Process Research & Development in our Company's Research Laboratories organization. They will establish a viable succession plan for their own role, which is a key leadership position within the functional area. In addition, the Senior Principal Scientist will actively demonstrate and encourage diversity and inclusion principles in their approach to problem solving and talent development.

Aside from those already mentioned above, a critical task includes technical and strategic mentorship of CBT staff who directly contribute to the discovery, design, development, and application of proteins and other biomolecules to our Company's Pipeline of today and tomorrow. The incumbent will progress and guide the experts within the group to develop novel matter and innovative processes that enable the delivery of life-saving medicines to patients in need. They will collaborate closely with their internal partners especially in PR&D and Analytical R&D, as well as external Contract Research Organizations, Contract Manufacturing Organizations, and academic labs to execute on these responsibilities. The processes are ultimately demonstrated and validated at internal and external commercial supply sites and documented in technology transfer documents and regulatory filing submissions.

The individual maintains awareness of external factors, internal and external contacts and expertise requirements needed to solve challenging technical problems and provides input and guidance to reports including use of best lab practices and novel ideas or innovative approaches to technical or strategic advancements of programs. The incumbent will keep abreast, and encourage sharing, of discoveries in the field to ensure our Company remains an industry leader in drug development and ensures that all activities are completed with the highest regard for safety, quality and regulatory compliance.


Education Minimum Requirement:

  • PhD and/or Post-doc in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Chemical/Biochemical Engineering, Chemistry, Synthetic Biology or related pharmaceutical science field, plus at least 12 years of relevant work experience in process development.

Required Experience and Skills:

  • Broad experience and knowledge in synthetic chemistry and/or biology, chemical and/or biological engineering, protein design and/or directed evolution.

  • Experience contributing to and driving strategic direction, culture building, and departmental-level collaborations and activities.

  • Personal experience with lab-based research/process development in a chemistry, biology, and/or engineering area.

  • A proven track record of delivering results through creativity and innovative problem-solving on firm deadlines.

  • Expertise in development and implementation of enzymatic solutions to processes.

  • Experience in development and implementation of novel technologies.

  • Demonstrated ability to work within a collaborative multi-disciplinary team environment.

  • Highly effective communication and collaboration skills.

  • Good organizational, interpersonal, writing, and time management skills, including capability in selection and prioritization of a portfolio of projects.

  • Experience with publishing field-impacting research in which the applicant participated in the conception, execution, analysis, and drafting of the research.

  • Applies new approaches to research and development to the pipeline (e.g. translating strategy to experimentation) and transfer expertise to broader research areas.

  • Acknowledged as an SME and a resource with a history of innovations that significantly impact on multiple projects with demonstrated depth of knowledge

  • Experienced co-lead or lead on cross-functional teams with demonstrated impact

  • Involved in LT level discussions

  • Leadership role in setting organization’s strategic initiatives

  • Create SMEs through direct coaching and education of scientists (scientific succession planning)

  • Makes strong internal and external scientific contributions/builds reputation via conference/session chair and company‐wide lead for external consortia.

  • Is externally recognized as SME in their field

Preferred Experience and Skills:

  • Experience with process scale-up and/or technology transfer, moving from laboratory to pilot plant or production scale.

  • Experience with commercialization of new products.


  • Rahway, NJ location is required


*Candidates that do not meet ALL of the skills indicated as "required" do not meet the basic qualifications and will not be considered (in the U.S.) due to Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) regulations.


In accordance with Managers' Policy - Job Posting and Employee Placement, all employees subject to this policy are required to have a minimum of twelve (12) months of service in current position prior to applying for open positions.

If you have been offered a separation benefits package, but have not yet reached your separation date and are offered a position within the salary and geographical parameters as set forth in the Summary Plan Description (SPD) of your separation package, then you are no longer eligible for your separation benefits package. To discuss in more detail, please contact your HRBP or Talent Acquisition Advisor.

Employees working in roles that the Company determines require routine collaboration with external stakeholders, such as customer-facing commercial, or research-based roles, will be expected to comply not only with Company policy but also with policies established by such external stakeholders (for example, a requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to access a facility or meet with stakeholders). Please understand that, as permitted by applicable law, if you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and an essential function of your job is to call on external stakeholders who require vaccination to enter their premises or engage in face-to-face meetings, then your employment may pose an undue burden to business operations, in which case you may not be offered employment, or your employment could be terminated. Please also note that, where permitted by applicable law, the Company reserves the right to require COVID-19 vaccinations for positions, such as in Global Employee Health, where the Company determines in its discretion that the nature of the role presents an increased risk of disease transmission.

Current Employees apply HERE

Current Contingent Workers apply HERE

US and Puerto Rico Residents Only:

Our company is committed to inclusion, ensuring that candidates can engage in a hiring process that exhibits their true capabilities. Please click here if you need an accommodation during the application or hiring process.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability status, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. For more information about personal rights under the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment laws, visit:

EEOC Know Your Rights

EEOC GINA Supplement​

Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination

We are proud to be a company that embraces the value of bringing diverse, talented, and committed people together. The fastest way to breakthrough innovation is when diverse ideas come together in an inclusive environment. We encourage our colleagues to respectfully challenge one another’s thinking and approach problems collectively.

Learn more about your rights, including under California, Colorado and other US State Acts

U.S. Hybrid Work Model

Effective September 5, 2023, employees in office-based positions in the U.S. will be working a Hybrid work consisting of three total days on-site per week, generally Tuesday, Wednesday and either Monday or Thursday, although the specific days may vary by site or organization, with Friday designated as a remote-working day, unless business critical tasks require an on-site presence. This Hybrid work model does not apply to, and daily in-person attendance is required for, field-based positions; facility-based, manufacturing-based, or research-based positions where the work to be performed is located at a Company site; positions covered by a collective-bargaining agreement (unless the agreement provides for hybrid work); or any other position for which the Company has determined the job requirements cannot be reasonably met working remotely. Please note, this Hybrid work model guidance also does not apply to roles that have been designated as “remote”.

Under New York State, Colorado State, Washington State, and California State law, the Company is required to provide a reasonable estimate of the salary range for this job. Final determinations with respect to salary will take into account a number of factors, which may include, but not be limited to the primary work location and the chosen candidate’s relevant skills, experience, and education.

Expected salary range:

$181,600.00 - $285,800.00

Available benefits include bonus eligibility, long term incentive if applicable, health care and other insurance benefits (for employee and family), retirement benefits, paid holidays, vacation, and sick days. A summary of benefits is listed here.

Search Firm Representatives Please Read Carefully
Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ, USA, also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC, Rahway, NJ, USA, does not accept unsolicited assistance from search firms for employment opportunities. All CVs / resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at our company without a valid written search agreement in place for this position will be deemed the sole property of our company. No fee will be paid in the event a candidate is hired by our company as a result of an agency referral where no pre-existing agreement is in place. Where agency agreements are in place, introductions are position specific. Please, no phone calls or emails.

Employee Status:



No relocation

VISA Sponsorship:


Travel Requirements:


Flexible Work Arrangements:

Not Applicable


Not Indicated

Valid Driving License:


Hazardous Material(s):


Job Posting End Date:


*A job posting is effective until 11:59:59PM on the day BEFORE the listed job posting end date. Please ensure you apply to a job posting no later than the day BEFORE the job posting end date.

Job Posting End Date:06/17/2024

A job posting is effective until 11:59:59PM on the day BEFORE the listed job posting end date. Please ensure you apply to a job posting no later than the day BEFORE the job posting end date.

Requisition ID:R299026