Drug Design and Optimisation for Novel Drugs to Treat Liver Cancer

Location: Perth, WA

Duration: 5 months

Project Background

Epichem is a leading provider of synthetic and medicinal chemistry services. The organisation has 4 Business Units, namely Contract Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Reference Standards, Fine Chemical and Technical Services and Analytical Services. Located in Perth, Epichem services a worldwide client base; providing specialised products and service and technical expertise in the Pharmaceutical, Biotech, Mining, Agriculture, and Animal Health global sectors.

An opportunity exists to contribute to an exciting in-house R&D project to develop novel drugs to treat liver cancer. Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer in men and the ninth most common cancer in women. Over 840,000 cases were reported worldwide in 2018, with the highest incidence rates occurring in less developed regions.

In collaboration with scientists at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, the Epichem medicinal chemistry team are evaluating a novel drug delivery strategy. Through APR.Intern, Epichem require a committed intern who is a technically excellent synthetic organic chemist. The successful intern will be able to make an immediate impact on project progression and will have an opportunity to learn how drug discovery projects are executed in a commercial setting.

The project involves a mixture of lab based (~80%) and office based (20%) components, involving the planning, synthesis, and characterisation of organic compounds. The planning of synthetic methods will involve chemical literature searches including the use of SciFinder™ and discussions with colleagues on a variety of synthetic approaches and in-house developed synthetic methods. All experiments will be recorded thoroughly and accurately in lab notes books as and when the experiments are run.

The intern will be closely collaborating with the Drug Discovery team and be assigned a lab-based mentor to aid day-to-day laboratory tasks and development of practical lab skills. Additionally, the intern will be liaising with the project manager on the synthesis strategies, planning and troubleshooting of chemistry experiments with an emphasis on the development of the intern’s broader synthetic chemistry knowledge.

Research to be Conducted

The main tasks associated with the project include:

  • Design and synthesis of complex, novel compounds
  • Participation in collaborator meetings
  • Project management opportunities
  • Background research into the stakeholder landscape for project expansion

Skills Required

If you’re a PhD student and meet some or all the below we want to hear from you. We strongly encourage women, indigenous and disadvantaged candidates to apply:

  • Organic chemistry and ideally an individual with some medicinal chemistry experience
  • Expertise in synthetic organic chemistry and compound purification
  • Expertise in the interpretation of analytical data
  • Tenacity and an interest in the drug discovery process

Expected Outcomes

  • Set of novel compounds suitable for biological testing
  • To learn more about medicinal chemistry, drug discovery and collaborative working
  • Project management experience

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

29 January 2020


APR – 1326