Senior Scientific Director, Novel Human Genetics Research Unit

Job description

Site Name: USA - Pennsylvania - Upper Providence
Posted Date: Apr 13 2020

The Novel Human Genetics Research Unit (NHG RU) was formed in 2019 to identify and advance novel targets with genetic association to disease based on the foundational observation that targets with human genetic evidence supporting their causal role in the intended indication improves clinical success by two-fold.  The NHG RU is therapeutically broad and complements other research units with strategic focus in immunology and oncology.  The current portfolio includes 2 assets entering FTIH studies, 12 programs in either LO or preclinical studies, and a broader effort in target validation, which includes novel targets emerging from the GSK-23andMe collaboration.  The remit of the NHG RU is to identify novel targets, develop assets for clinical studies, and perform Phase 1 first time in human and proof of mechanism studies; when successful, assets will progress to Phase 2 and beyond within the GSK Development organization.

The advertised Senior Biology Director will assume immediate responsibility for an existing biology team in Upper Providence, PA (US) that supports the NHG RU, alongside 2 established biology teams located in Upper Providence, PA (US), and 1 additional biology team located in Stevenage (UK), all reporting directly to the VP of NHG RU.  In addition to the basic and preferred qualifications listed below, the qualified candidate is expected to embody the culture of the NHG RU:

  • Patients first – be driven by a desire to help the patients and guided by science
  • Teamwork – one team/one culture & helping each other, respect each other
  • Accountability – own the responsibility
  • Robust decision making – programs to have project flows with pre planned go / no go
  • Development – support and facilitate your lines; recognize your own development
  • Innovation & creativity – center piece of what we are about to embark on
  • Courage – Take risks and not be afraid to fail
  • Open and transparent communication – Share ideas and share credit

Why you?

Basic Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree (PhD or MD/PhD) with experience across several disease areas and across both preclinical and clinical development.  Strong background in neurodegeneration is preferred.
  • Demonstrated extensive experience in therapeutic research including target identification, validation, lead optimization, preclinical candidate selection, and translation into first time in human (FTIH) trials for small and/or large molecules.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the drug discovery process, including the ability to outline a progression path with clear decision-making criteria that includes mechanism of action, target engagement, biomarker, and in vitro and in vivo model system studies.
  • Demonstrated experience in leading and developing a team of scientists supporting multiple projects and leading in a matrix environment across multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Recognized intellectual leader with experience in identifying and advancing preclinical targets, performing robust peer review and due diligences, engaging internal and external partners, and presenting to senior management at decision-making meetings.

Preferred Qualifications:

If you have the following characteristics, it would be a plus:

  • Capable of leading and developing a team of biologists with a breadth in skills (such as molecular/cell biology, biochemistry, gene editing, cell culture, iPSC differentiation, in vivo model systems, and in vitro/ex vivo translational studies).    
  • Experience in making decisions around the progression of novel targets and molecules by integrating biology with clinical need and feasibility, competition, commercial opportunity, and return on investment.
  • Existing network of academic collaborators and CROs.
  • Strong self-motivation; capable of multi-tasking but with attention to detail, working on multiple projects in different phases of research, and delivering on objectives on time/on budget.
  • Ability to inspire and motivate a group of biologists, line and project leaders for optimum performance
  • Strong influencing skills and resourcefulness to facilitate collaboration across GSK
  • Highly effective in both written and verbal communications for relevant internal and external decision-making bodies.
  • Experience in planning and managing budget and resources.
  • Experience in working with academics, biotechs, and CROs.
  • Ability to adapt to changing priorities.

Why GSK?

Our values and expectations are at the heart of everything we do and form an important part of our culture.

These include Patient focus, Transparency, Respect, Integrity along with Courage, Accountability, Development, and Teamwork. As GSK focuses on our values and expectations and a culture of innovation, performance, and trust, the successful candidate will demonstrate the following capabilities:

  • Agile and distributed decision-making – using evidence and applying judgement to balance pace, rigour and risk, governance and control, managing ambiguity and paradox.
  • Managing individual performance.
  • Creating a performance culture and driving results, prioritisation, execution, delivering performance.
  • Setting strategic direction and leading on-going organisational transformation.
  • Building a resilient organisation.
  • Building strong relationships and collaboration in service of common goals, engaging the organisation and building trusted external networks for mutual benefit.
  • Managing P&L and capital allocation.


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