Vice President/Head Research Unit Cell & Gene Therapy - Oncology

Job description

Site Name: UK - Hertfordshire - Stevenage
Posted Date: Jun 29 2020

Are you keen to want to lead a large oncology research unit focused on cell therapy target evaluation through early clinical evaluation? If so, then this VP position is one to consider closely.

GSK Oncology R&D is focused on building industry-leading portfolios in four cutting-edge areas of science:

• Immuno-Oncology: using the human immune system to treat cancer
• Cell/Gene Therapy: engineering human T-cells to target cancer
• Cancer Epigenetics: modulating the gene-regulatory system of the epigenome to exert anti-cancer effects
 Synthetic Lethality: targeting two mechanisms at the same time which together, but not alone, have substantial effects against cancer

Significant investment into external collaborations that add complementary and synergistic science and technology solutions to our portfolio are central to our R&D approach. We have established a partnership with Adaptimmune in 2014 that has led to the in-licensing and transfer of their NY-ESO TCR-T cell product and two technologies for efficacy enhancement to GSK. These assets are either in clinical testing (GEN1) or about to enter the clinical stage (GEN2). The collaboration is now focusing on two new early targets and novel TCRs. In 2016, we established a second partnership with Miltenyi Biotec that has delivered an innovative CAR- T cell product at candidate stage. This first in concept CAR is targeting tissue disorganisation as a hallmark of many epithelial cancers. Miltenyi Biotec is also our partner of choice for developing novel CMC supply chain solutions that make use of exact copy automation and closed-bag systems to maximise patient access and decrease cost of goods for engineered T cell batches.  In 2019, we initiated a partnership with Lyell to pioneer novel technologies to overcome inhibition of T cell function in the solid cancer microenvironment. Our joint ambition is to maximise benefit for patients suffering from solid cancer by combining Lyell’s technologies with GSK’s targets and CMC supply solutions. We just recently announced our fourth collaboration with Immatics in which we secure access to innovative and highly differentiated TCR targets that have been discovered by systematic use of mass spectrometry on primary tumours. 

POSITION SUMMARY:

This position reports directly to Dr. Axel Hoos and leads a large research unit focused on cell therapy target evaluation through early clinical evaluation. The role will develop the strategic objectives and focus the efforts of scientific teams to identify and prosecute novel genetically-validated targets, as well as integrating novel technologies to accelerate a transformation in Oncology.

This leader will be responsible for effectively leveraging and leading functions in a matrixed environment to achieve organizational goals. He or she would bring a sterling reputation as a thought leader to maximize and drive opportunities in Oncology.

The Research Unit Head will be required to lead, communicate and manage (directly and indirectly) a matrixed global organization with a diverse pool of employees. That headcount will be based mainly in the UK and US, but also in other countries. It is a group that is anticipated to quickly expand following successful achievement of clinical inflection points in common solid cancers. The Vice President should be prepared to scale his/her headcount leadership responsibilities following such a trigger point.

This role will play a critical part in identifying targets that contribute to an innovative, world class, pipeline for GSK. It will require strong collaboration and influencing skills with complex, senior, internal and external stakeholder networks.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Research Unit

 Develop strategic direction in a new and emerging area of oncology, Oncology Cell Therapy, and identify new targets, leveraging GSK’s investments in external CGT collaborations and our expanding internal capabilities in large data, bioinformatics, and genomic technologies to deliver medicines in clinically and commercially relevant indications.

 Lead and drive internal teams of typically 20-30 cross-functional scientists in the identifying and prosecution of novel targets, technologies to enhance efficacy of engineered cell products as well as technologies to simplify and accelerate manufacturing of cell therapies

 Accountable for planning and contracting the resource and partnership required from key functions.

 Responsible for identifying and evaluating partnering opportunities in line with the strategy and playing a key role in the due diligence analysis.

 Operate as a key member of the Oncology Leadership team, working internally with others on the Oncology leadership team to drive the strategy, as well as externally acting as a spokesperson for GSK in the scientific community.

 Responsible for developing and managing a high performing team with outstanding talent.

 Accountable for role modelling and embedding the R&D Oncology strategy.

 Accountable for delivery from target ID through to phase 1b.

 Accountable for managing specific Oncology portfolio including entry of new targets.

*LI-GSK

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:

 Medical degree or pharmaceutical science PhD/post doc, with drug discovery experience. Must be recognized as a leader in the area of drug discovery.

 Highly effective leadership skills within multidisciplinary teams and a background of delivery resulting in clinical candidates. A proven background of establishing and maintaining excellent working relationships with collaborators. Also, a history as a highly effective manager, leading diverse groups.

 Strategic vision to integrate research into the drug development and business development/commercial activities.

 High scientific achievement (an international reputation) that will result in a high degree of scientific credibility. Demonstrated experience of academic leadership and a superior academic track record.

 International experience, exposure and project leadership experience.

 A proven ability to persuade and influence. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

 Credibility to attract, motivate and retain an organization of scientific experts

LEADERSHIP CAPABILITIES:

Leadership Capabilities

These leadership competencies are critical in order to deliver the mandate of this position:

Smart Risk Taking

The ability to take intelligent risks, courage in personal decision making and willingness to be held accountable, competence in analysis and solving of problems and of ability to prioritize and make trade-offs to achieve goals.

Enable and Drive Change

The drive to do what it takes, within the safety, regulatory and legal framework, to deliver quality and efficiency in all aspects of the project and the business. Outstanding Research Unit leaders are accountable and regularly accept stretching goals; they overcome obstacles and barriers to success and deliver to the highest possible standards.

Highly Effective Leadership Skills

Lead global teams for delivery resulting in clinical candidates; ability to interact effectively across boundaries within GSK functions, and with external organizations using influencing and relationship building skills, as well as strong communication skills. Demonstrated ability to lead, motivate and develop diverse scientific teams and talent with vision, integrity and flexibility. Clear evidence of ability to develop talent at a high level.

Decision Making

Evidence of outstanding judgment in assessing partnerships, projects and people; ability to take intelligent risks, courage in personal decision making and willingness to be held accountable, competence in analysis and solving of problems and of ability to prioritize and make trade-offs to achieve goals.

Knowledge of state-of-the-art and new advancements in cell and gene therapy

Demonstrates an understanding of how to design, manufacture, discover and develop cell-based medicines and how to engineer and modify cell carrier function

Community and Relationship Builder (applicable for UK-based candidates)

Creates an engaged and enthusiastic base of GSK supporters for the Stevenage  site. Can establish UK-based connections that can be harnessed to accelerate GSK brand recognition. Connects actively with employees and with the larger Boston biotech/tech community.

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.

As a company driven by our values of Patient focus, Transparency, Respect and Integrity, we know inclusion and diversity are essential for us to be able to succeed. We want all our colleagues to thrive at GSK bringing their unique experiences, ensuring they feel good and to keep growing their careers.  As a candidate for a role, we want you to feel the same way.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we are open to all talent. In the US, we also adhere to Affirmative Action principles. This ensures that all qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race/ethnicity, colour, national origin, religion, gender, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, disability, genetic information, military service, covered/protected veteran status or any other federal, state or local protected class*(*US only).

We believe in an agile working culture for all our roles. If flexibility is important to you, we encourage you to explore with our hiring team what the opportunities are.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to discuss any adjustments to our process which might help you demonstrate your strengths and capabilities.  You can either call us on 0808 234 4391, or send an email ukdiversity.recruitment@gsk.com

As you apply, we will ask you to share some personal information which is entirely voluntary. We want to have an opportunity to consider a diverse pool of qualified candidates and this information will assist us in meeting that objective and in understanding how well we are doing against our inclusion and diversity ambitions. We would really appreciate it if you could take a few moments to complete it.  Rest assured, Hiring Managers do not have access to this information and we will treat your information confidentially.

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