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Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
We are
Idorsia is specialized in the discovery and development of small molecules, to transform the horizon of therapeutic options. With an experienced team of over 800 highly qualified specialists dedicated to realizing our ambitions, a broad portfolio of innovative drugs in the pipeline, and a strong balance sheet, Idorsia is in the ideal position to bringing R&D efforts to business success.
We offer
A state-of-the-art workplace in an inspiring environment, a competitive compensation package and a good balance between work and private life.
We are looking for
People who like doing more with less in a highly productive environment where people enjoy their work! If you like to show up with energy, intellect and creativity then you could be a good fit with Idorsia.
In drug discovery, we are regularly looking for trainees (e.g. BSc, MSc, and PhD students) to work with us for 6-12 months. To get insight into how you can contribute to one of our exciting drug discovery projects, please review our current openings at:
// Interview 2017
Dr. Cyrille Lescop
Head of Laboratory

MSc in Organic Chemistry, University of Auvergne (1992-1995)
Diplôme d’Ingenieur Chemistry, Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie, Clemont-Ferrand (1992-1995)
PhD in Organic Chemistry, University of Maine, Le Mans (1996-2000)
Postdoctoral position, University of Texas (2000-2002)

Medicinal Chemist Santhera Pharmaceuticals (2002-2006)
joined Actelion (now Idorsia) as Senior Lab Head (2007-2011)
Associate Director (2012)
Principal Scientist, AD (2017)
What do you do as a Head of Laboratory at Idorsia?
I manage a laboratory of 3 co-workers (lab expert, scientific associate, apprentice). My task consists in the design and the synthesis of bioactive molecules with the potential to deliver new drug candidates for clinical development. In addition, as project leader I am responsible for the project strategy and the coordination of an extended chemistry team.
Are you working in Allschwil most of the time or does your position entail a lot of travelling?
I rarely need to travel except to attend a few conferences/training every year.
You have been working in medicinal chemistry for 15 years now, is it common at IDORSIA to stay in the same field or are there possibilities to change into e.g. marketing?
Idorsia is of course committed to develop its people. There is the possibility to change your career path after a few years to become patent attorney or project manager for example. However a complete change, like going to marketing, is rare.
Why is this so rare?
Medicinal chemistry is not only about chemistry. It requires continuous contacts with other disciplines such as biology, or pharmacology which makes the daily work very motivating and never routine. Personally, I enjoy learning more about biological assays and in vivo study results meant to characterize the molecules we prepared in the lab.
As a pharmaceutical company I assume IDORSIA employs mostly organic chemists – are there also chemists from different fields or engineers needed in your company?
Yes, Idorsia also employs analytical chemists, formulation chemists for drug discovery stage as well as for development stage. We also have a very strong Process Research and Chemical Development group.
What led you to choose IDORSIA as an employer? How did the application proceed – did you apply for an advertised position or was it a speculative application?
I applied spontaneously to Idorsia (formerly Actelion) for a position as medicinal chemist. There were two main reasons to choose this company. Its track record for innovation and my willingness to work in an international and multidisciplinary environment.
Are there internships or other programs, that would allow students or graduates to see firsthand how it is to work at IDORSIA?
Every year Idorsia posts open positions for internship (6-12 months) that allow students to get a first contact with the Pharma Industry.
How easy was the transition from your postdoctoral position to IDORSIA? How does work in an organic chemistry group differ from your current work environment?
Idorsia was not my first company. I worked for a small Swiss biotech company for 4 years after my postdoctoral stay in the US. A major change to me was to supervise a team and set/evaluate performances. Another difference was to work in a multidisciplinary environment. As medicinal chemist, one has to be able to work with colleagues from various disciplines, various backgrounds. I had to learn about jargon/concepts used in biology, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics.
Since you have been with your company for some time – what are common mistakes new chemists make at their first 'real' job?
A common mistake is to believe that colleagues older than you in the company always know the truth/have the best solution. Do not be scared to speak up and ask questions!
Last Question: What would your advice be for someone who recently graduated from ETH and is looking for a job?
If one would like to work as a medicinal chemist in the Pharma Industry after graduating from ETH, I would advise to get additional/different postdoctoral experience abroad as it is usually a pre-requisite to get a job interview. Demonstrating that you are able to jump into a new project in a totally new environment certainly is a valuable asset in your CV.
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