Meet Marilyn

Tell us about yourself, your position, background, motivations.

My name is Marilyn Zhao and I am the Director of Drug Substance Development in the Chemistry Manufacturing and Control (CMC) group. I grew up in Sichuan Province, located in the southwest of China. My hometown, Chengdu, is famous for panda bears and spicy food (Szechuan cuisine: Kung Pao Chicken, Ma Po Tofu, etc.). When I was in high school, my homeroom teacher taught chemistry, and I found it very cool. That triggered my passion to major in chemistry in college. After five years of graduate school in the midwest United States, I was very glad to come to San Diego and became a process chemist. It has been 17 years since then and I still enjoy doing it.

My team is made up of organic chemists who take the small molecules designed by our discovery team at Crinetics and find ways to manufacture them in large quantities. We manage the manufacturing of these molecules on a large scale for animal and human studies. We are now making paltusotine to support our ongoing Phase 3 clinical studies and upcoming New Drug Application (NDA) submission.

As an organic chemist, I enjoy the process of finding the most concise and cost-effective way of building molecules; it’s like solving puzzles. As a CMC team member, it is always amazing for me to see a complicated production process executed beautifully by all members from different backgrounds.


What about Crinetics makes you the most excited to work here?

It is a very rewarding feeling to see the compounds that I worked with get scaled-up and used in patients worldwide. I have also been very lucky to work with a productive CMC team and to have built a small process chemistry team at Crinetics. I enjoy mentoring and helping young process chemists grow in their careers.  


What is your advice on people hoping to join Crinetics?

San Diego has a unique biotech development history, and I find the culture of Crinetics reflects it. It is very interactive and evolving. If you like being immersed in new ideas and innovative applications, or you have particular passion for endocrine-related rare diseases, you’ll find yourself in the right place.