Senior Director, Program Management

AveXis Inc.
Bannockburn, IL, US
Mar 05, 2019
Required Education
Bachelors Degree
Position Type
Full time

Ready to join a team committed to moving gene therapies into the clinical and commercial settings for patients and families devastated by rare neurological genetic diseases? AveXis is advancing cutting-edge science to treat rare and life-threatening genetic diseases starting with our clinical-stage, proprietary gene therapy candidate, AVXS-101 (ZOLGENSMA®). We are in the midst of an incredible journey and are looking for passionate individuals to join us on this important mission.

AveXis, Inc., a Novartis Company , is a clinical-stage gene therapy company, dedicated to developing and commercializing novel treatments for patients suffering from rare and life-threatening neurological genetic diseases. Our initial product candidate, AVXS-101, is our proprietary gene therapy product candidate currently in development for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, Type 1, the leading genetic cause of infant mortality, and for the treatment of SMA Type 2. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, has granted AVXS-101 Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of all types of SMA and Breakthrough Therapy Designation, as well as Fast Track Designation for the treatment of SMA Type 1. In addition to developing AVXS-101 to treat SMA Type 1 and Type 2, we also plan to develop other novel treatments for rare neurological diseases, including Rett syndrome (RTT) and a genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) caused by mutations in the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene.

The Senior Director, Program Management has strong drug development knowledge and provides cross-functional leadership for one or more Program Teams. They are responsible for driving the integrated strategy and development plan, ensuring overall organizational alignment, and driving seamless cross-functional execution.

The Senior Director, Program Management key accountabilities include defining overall program strategy, integrated development plan, high-level program timelines, proactively identifying and managing program development risks and issues, and ensuring effective Program Team dynamics, performance, prioritization and communication.

They are a recognized thought leader in program management topics. They will establish AveXis' Program Management process and tools, risk assessment, mitigation, and strategic planning, with regards to resources, cross-functional plans and timelines across all programs.


  • In partnership with the CMO and Program Team members, drives development of program strategy into an integrated development plan and ensures consistency with the target product profile.
  • Accountable for high-quality program team communication
    • Organizes Program Team meetings and prepares high quality agendas and minutes in a timely manner
    • Responsible for the quality of the integrated development plan, alignment with cross-functional plans and alignment with the target product profile
    • Communicates program status and issues horizontally and vertically in a transparent and timely manner
    • Drives development of strategic documents, drives discussions that need escalation to PSC and prepares update presentations for ALT, as needed
    • Supports CMO in driving preparation of comprehensive program communications with Novartis, as needed
  • Drives risk assessment and contingency planning with the Program Team
    • Independently leads ad-hoc cross-functional sub-teams and task forces to address and resolve issues
    • Identify resources gaps and work with the functions to bridge any gaps to prevent timeline impact
    • Proactively identify potential issues and work to remove barriers; escalate issues appropriately that cannot be directly resolved by the Program Team.
  • Enables a high-performing team culture based on Teamwork, Tenacity and Integrity, and holds team members accountable for representing their respective functions
    • Collaborate with Team members to establish effective, productive, trusting relationships
    • Drive Team effectiveness by setting and communicating clear expectations on deliverables, roles and responsibilities, and by promoting Team cohesiveness.
    • Coaches program team members, as needed, for optimal team performance
  • Provides Drug Development and Program Management Leadership
    • Mentors others on drug development and program/project management topics
    • Provides program management expertise and leadership in the areas of planning, tracking, scenario-generation, contingency development, critical path analysis, and risk management
    • Actively identifies and develops best practices for project management and implements accordingly
  • Partner with Finance to establish, track and manage the Program budget, and identify budgetary impact of strategic issues, scenarios and opportunities.


  • An undergraduate degree in an area related to life sciences. A graduate degree such as a PhD, PharmD, or MBA is highly desired; a PMP designation is preferred.
  • A minimum of 10+ years of drug development experience, preferably at a company focused on orphan or rare disease drugs.
  • A minimum of 6+ Years of cross-functional leadership experience.
  • Expert knowledge in drug development; exposure to the success and failure of drug candidates; ability to be creative and think outside of the box regarding the path to commercialization.
  • Excellent project/program management skills; advanced planning and tracking skills; ability to use proper tools for risk management.
  • Strong team facilitation skills, including negotiation and conflict resolution skills; expert in communication and information management.
  • An innovative thinker, with a track record for translating strategic thinking into action plans and output.
  • Strong leadership presence with the ability to present and interact with senior management; demonstrated political savvy.
  • Self-reliant, a good problem solver and results-oriented, and comfortable working in a fast-paced environment.
  • Energetic, flexible, collaborative and proactive; a team leader who can positively and productively impact initiatives.

The level of this position will be based on the final candidate's qualifications.

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

AveXis is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, genetics, disability, age, sexual orientation or veteran status.