What are medicinal chemistry jobs?


Quick Answer

Medicinal chemists most commonly work in research and development for pharmaceutical companies or government agencies. Their primary job is to develop compounds that can be used as pharmaceutical drugs.

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What are medicinal chemistry jobs?
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Full Answer

Medicinal chemists often work in large teams with other chemists and engineers. These teams create and test new medicinal drugs. They may also analyze and develop manufacturing processes that improve the large-scale production of these drugs.

The United States Department of Labor reports that there were about 96,200 jobs for general chemists and material scientists in 2012, with 17 percent of these jobs in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing and 10 percent in testing laboratories. Another 7 percent were employed by the federal government, and 6 percent were employed by state governments. Major employers of medicinal chemists include the Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer, Biogen Idec, Johnson & Johnson, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and a number of major colleges and universities.

A bachelor's degree in chemistry is the most basic requirement for any entry-level job as a research technician or associate scientist. Medicinal chemists usually specialize and earn an advanced degree, frequently in organic chemistry. Pharmaceutical companies may require an advanced degree and at least 2 years of post-doctoral experience for medicinal chemist positions.

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