Director, Laboratory Technical Research & Development

Longmont, CO, US
Jan 06, 2021
Required Education
Bachelors Degree
Position Type
Full time

Ready to join a team committed to developing and commercializing gene therapies for patients and families devastated by rare neurological genetic diseases? AveXis is advancing cutting-edge science, starting with our proprietary gene therapy for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). We are in the midst of an incredible journey and are looking for passionate individuals to join us on this important mission.

AveXis, a Novartis company, is dedicated to developing and commercializing novel treatments for patients suffering from rare and life-threatening neurological genetic diseases. Our initial product is a proprietary gene therapy approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of pediatric patients with SMA. In addition to developing a treatment for SMA, AveXis also plans to develop other novel treatments for rare neurological diseases, including Rett syndrome and a genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis caused by mutations in the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene.

The Director, Laboratory Technical Research & Development, is responsible for leading the laboratory operations in support of process design, experimental design and execution, scale model development and management, investigational testing for cGMP operations support, operational and capital budgeting, laboratory strategic trajectory planning, project planning and execution, laboratory operational systems development and therapeutic product program development support in addition to defining and directing the activity of scientific and engineering staff.

  • Executes and documents experimental procedures in support of process development activities supporting investigational, clinical and commercial gene therapy programs including but not limited to new process design and development, process proof of concept through characterization studies in alignment with program strategy, pre-clinical materials generation and documentation, direct clinical and commercial GMP operations support, scale-up studies, raw materials evaluation as well as process optimization and improvement studies,
  • Supports laboratory operations process development activities in drug substance (upstream, intermediate and downstream), drug product (formulation, filling, packaging and labeling) and critical raw materials, media and buffer manufacturing.
  • Builds and maintains a high performing staff of managers, engineers and scientists to support process and platform development activities.
  • Serves as a key scientific and technical representative for process-related issues pertaining to new products as well as licensed products manufactured at internal AveXis sites, as well as with external partners.
  • Develops, implements and maintains process development laboratory operations systems that support safe, efficient and compliant work processes, continuous improvement, data integrity and operational excellence.
  • Partners with multiple manufacturing organizations to understand operability requirements and potential process improvements for existing and new processes and incorporate those requirements into process design studies.
  • Prioritizes and drives a continuously changing portfolio of lab studies within a laboratory network and according to business need while communicating and managing competing priorities leveraging organizational management practices such as personnel loading assessments, capacity evaluations, capital and space planning and organizational design evaluations.
  • Oversees the development of experimental procedures that interrogate, define and document Normal Operating Ranges (NORs), Proven Acceptable Ranges (PARs), facility fit assessments, scale-up demonstrations for biopharmaceutical products in upstream, downstream and/or fill finish areas.
  • Delivers direct support of pre-clinical, clinical and commercial manufacturing operations through investigational testing of in-process pools, raw material assessments, impurity clearance, adventitious agent clearance and process capability assessments.
  • Leverages experimental planning and design practices such as design of experiment (DOE), risk assessment and edge of failure determination to accelerate process development activities.
  • Directs support of Pre-Clinical Study material generation including readiness studies prior to manufacture of new molecules on platform processes and phase appropriate documentation development and delivery.
  • Leads and manages the establishment, documentation and maintenance of scale models.
  • Builds a robust data packages that directly support regulatory submissions for new and approved gene therapy biopharmaceutical products (CMC).
  • Reviews and provides feedback and technical/scientific support on project deliverables, i.e. remediation initiatives, plan reports, etc.
  • Other related job duties as assigned.

  • B.S. degree in biochemistry, chemical engineering, bioengineering, or related technical field, Master's degree or PhD preferred.
  • 10 years of experience in biopharmaceutical based process development and/or cGMP manufacturing operations including direct experience in cell culture, recovery, purification and/or aseptic fill/finish, direct viral production & purification experience preferred.
  • 7 years leadership experience.
  • Familiar with global regulations and regulatory submission requirements (CMC) pertaining to Gene Therapy development and manufacturing.
  • Excellent communication skills and attention to details.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to multi task across projects and activities.
  • Proven ability to effectively lead and participate on teams.
  • Approximately 10% to 30% travel.

Novartis Gene Therapies Compensation and Benefit Summary:

The salary range for this role is from $149,000/year to $239,000/year. The base salary ultimately offered may vary based on the successful candidate's qualifications. The level of this role will also be determined based on the successful candidate's qualifications. Annual bonus, long term incentive, health insurance, paid vacation/holidays, potential flexible working arrangements (based on role) and an employee recognition program are available for this position, among many other benefits provided to employees of Novartis Gene Therapies.

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.

Novartis Gene Therapies 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. #LI-JH1