Jim Kiefer - Senior Director and Distinguished Scientist, Structural Biology, Drug Discovery

Jim Kiefer

Senior Director and Distinguished Scientist, Structural Biology, Drug Discovery

"Cancer and autoimmune diseases are prevalent among my family and friends. I am here, because I would like to fight back."
Years at Genentech
Publications at Genentech

My path to Genentech began in the Midwest, working at Searle, Pharmacia, and Pfizer for 12 years, in structure based drug design. Looking from the outside in, I had always been struck by how Genentech was consistently leading, rather than following, in the discovery of new medicines. I have been even more impressed by the culture and innovation here since joining in 2012.

I am structural biologist, but I think of myself as a “molecular photographer.” We determine the shapes of proteins bound to chemicals on the path to potentially becoming drugs and try to improve that interaction. The technique has broad applications from traditional, “small molecule” drugs to protein therapeutics. My primary interests involve pathways triggering cancer and inflammation. In my 20+ years of pharma experience, I have worked on a variety of projects, including some which are currently in clinical trials.

My non-scientific passions are mentoring and diversity. I have benefited greatly from mentors throughout my career, and I devote significant energy to try to help others, at all stages of their careers. I currently lead our Diversity & Inclusion Growth & Development Pillar, a team whose focus is assuring that all employees can learn and thrive in their careers at Genentech.


Featured Publication

GDC-9545 (Giredestrant): A Potent and Orally Bioavailable Selective Estrogen Receptor Antagonist and Degrader with an Exceptional Preclinical Profile for ER+ Breast Cancer.

J Med Chem. 2021 64:11841-11856.

Liang J, Zbieg JR, Blake RA, Chang JH, Daly S, DiPasquale AG, Friedman LS, Gelzleichter T, Gill M, Giltnane JM, Goodacre S, Guan J, Hartman SJ, Ingalla ER, Kategaya L, Kiefer JR, Kleinheinz T, Labadie SS, Lai T, Li J, Liao J, Liu Z, Mody V, McLean N, Metcalfe C, Nannini MA, Oeh J, O'Rourke MG, Ortwine DF, Ran Y, Ray NC, Roussel F, Sambrone A, Sampath D, Schutt LK, Vinogradova M, Wai J, Wang T, Wertz IE, White JR, Yeap SK, Young A, Zhang B, Zheng X, Zhou W, Zhong Y, Wang X.