Director/Senior Director, Cancer Biology

South San Francisco, CA, US
Nov 30, 2018
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
Oncology is a key therapeutic area for AbbVie, with a portfolio consisting of three marketed products - Imbruvica®, Venclexta™, and Empliciti™ - and a pipeline containing multiple promising new molecules that are being studied in nearly 200 clinical trials in 19 different types of cancer.

AbbVie is expanding its oncology hub on the West Coast, with three sites in the San Francisco Bay Area (Redwood City, South San Francisco, and Sunnyvale) focused on the discovery and development of novel oncology therapies. More than 1,000 AbbVie scientists, clinicians, and product developers with strong entrepreneurial roots work across these three sites. They combine their expertise in immuno-oncology, stem cells, and cell-signaling with their knowledge of bispecific antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), and small-molecule technologies to discover and develop novel cancer treatments. This position will be based at Stemcentrx, AbbVie's South San Francisco, CA location.


Director/Senior Director of Cancer Biology will expand, strengthen and strategically lead a research department at the forefront of cancer biology. The successful candidate will be responsible for championing the future scientific vision and executing the scientific strategy that delivers compelling opportunities to the AbbVie pipeline. This role will be responsible for driving the science and research focused on achieving a deep understanding of tumor biology in the context of multiple technology platforms that can be translated into novel breakthrough therapies. Reporting to the Head of Research at AbbVie Stemcentrx, this position will play a key role on our Research Leadership Team, setting scientific strategy and contributing to successfully achieving cross-functional research goals through collaboration with other internal discovery research functions across sites. Additionally, the Head of Cancer Biology will work collaboratively with our Clinical and Development Science Organizations, as well as represent Cancer Biology to Core Development Teams.

The ideal candidate should have a strong background in cancer biology and drug discovery, and a track-record of identifying and progressing novel concepts to clinical candidates. As a creative scientist and a critical thinker, this leader should have a stellar record in oncology research, preferably in solid tumors and in an industry setting. As a skilled organizational leader, this individual should be an efficient and accountable manager, an effective team builder and a productive collaborator who will provide strong organizational, technological and scientific leadership to early research, preclinical pipeline programs and platforms, and in support of clinical assets. This person will draw from past team leadership experience to develop the Cancer Biology team and guide the team to accomplish goals through superior performance.

Key Responsibilities Include:

  • As the leader for cancer biology efforts, this role will play a substantial strategic role in guiding the scientific direction of research and pipeline programs at AbbVie Stemcentrx , and contribute new ideas to the research platform.
  • As a member of the Research Leadership Team, develop and implement Discovery Strategy for AbbVie Stemcentrx.
  • Propagate a development-oriented culture and champion the growth of a talented and aspirational team of cancer biologists. Develop and empower talent within the department.
  • Identify, engage, and ensure the success of research collaboration across AbbVie's global R&D network and the external scientific community.
  • Maintain high-functioning and synergistic cross-functional relationships across the AbbVie discovery organization.
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest scientific advancements (e.g. competitive landscape, new technologies and partnerships) and be well informed about emerging trends in oncology research and development to deliver the next generation of oncology discovery concepts.
  • Work with the Research Leadership Team to allocate resources to ensure timely achievement of aggressive pipeline and technology goals.
  • Set departmental scientific and business goals and manage people, resources, financial budget and other administrative functions.
  • Develop and guide the structure of the Cancer Biology team in order to assure optimal efficiency, teamwork, and utilization of resources.
  • Provide day-to-day scientific, technical and organizational leadership for the research teams and manage a portfolio of discovery projects to achieve scientific and operational excellence.
  • Promote and foster a science-driven, goal-oriented culture with innovation, accountability, transparency, empowerment and agility.

  • PhD in Life Sciences or equivalent with a minimum of 12 years of relevant industrial/academic experience in oncology positions of increasing responsibility.
  • Demonstrated expertise in drug discovery from early research through IND-filing and translational science. Experience in progressing multiple pre-clinical candidates to IND approval is preferred.
  • Experience in leading a high performing, mid-sized biology/drug discovery group of > 15 people in a biotechnology or pharmaceutical company. Proven record in developing people and fostering creativity, productivity, accountability and execution with a sense of urgency.
  • Experience in both a small and large company settings is preferred.
  • Demonstrated excellence in strategic planning and project leadership. Decisive problem solver with ability to balance creativity, innovation and probability of success.
  • Proven scientific leadership with a track record of scientific innovation and accomplishment in disease biology research and oncology target discovery as evidenced by quality and quantity of publications, patents and conference presentations.
  • Track record of developing efficient discovery processes and leading cross-functional team collaborations, including managing relationships with internal AbbVie discovery teams, academic collaborators and CROs.
  • Self-starter with strong scientific curiosity and rigor, excellent interpersonal and analytic skills, high ethical standards and outstanding written and verbal communication skills.

Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Veterans/Disabled