Global Program Director- R&D Gene Therapy

Bannockburn, IL, US
Feb 22, 2021
Required Education
Masters Degree/MBA
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? Since 2013, Novartis Gene Therapies (formerly AveXis) has had one focus: bringing change to those devastated by genetic diseases.

The Novartis Gene Therapies culture embraces this mission. As a compassionate and dedicated team, we are enthusiastic about the science behind our work and finding answers to difficult questions. We are dedicated to communities affected by rare diseases, and these patients and families are the motivation for everything we do.

We have built a team with exceptional depth of experience, unified by a common vision; to develop gene therapies with the potential to positively impact the lives of the patients and families devastated by rare and life-threatening neurological genetic diseases. Though we are proud of what we have achieved to date, we remain relentlessly focused on making that vision a reality.

The Global Program Director (GPD) has a key organizational role to partner with the Global Program Senior Director (GPSD) and Global Program Head (GPH) and drive the ongoing alignment / refinement and execution of an integrated strategy and development plan for one or more global gene therapy drug development programs or brands, ensuring organizational alignment and seamless cross-functional execution. The GPD is responsible for all Program Management deliverables and is the single representative from PM on the Program Team (PT). A GPD supports more complex gene therapy program, once dose escalation is completed and the program becomes larger-scale and/or global in scope. The GPD continues to support the program through clinical proof of concept, registration and lifecycle management.

The GPD has excellent drug development knowledge and provides matrix and situational leadership to a multi-disciplinary team of functional experts (Program Team, PT) to deliver with high quality, and in accordance with approved strategy. The GPD may deputize for the Global Program Head (GPH) as leader and spokesperson for the PT at Novartis Gene Therapies / Novartis internal meetings.

  • As Operational leader for the program, this role is specifically responsible to:
    • Influence cross-functional strategy to ensure innovation, productivity, and feasibility.
    • Proactively identify and manage program development risks and issues.
    • Champion enterprise thinking when planning resources and budget.
    • Generate and maintain a high-quality and accurate project plan and forecast in the enterprise planning systems (e.g., Horizon).
    • Ensure delivery of development activities to forecast, timelines and at high quality.
    • Ensure effective PT dynamics, performance, prioritization and communication.
    • Regularly contributes to or occasionally leads PM-driven or initiated organizational improvement initiatives. In some cases, an GPD may be fully dedicated to a non-drug PM initiative for a short time period.
  • Programs
    • In partnership with the GPH, drives ongoing evolution and refinement of the program strategy and integrated development plan and ensures consistency of both the program strategy and the development plan with the target product profile.
    • Responsible for all PM documentation associated with the program (e.g., minutes, Target Product Profile).
    • Ensure quality of the integrated development plan, reflecting best innovative drug research and development practices, realistic planning, cross-functional alignment and ensuring consistency with individual functional plans.
    • Drives and/or coordinates development of strategic documents and prepares for phase transitions/tollgates in collaboration with the PT.
    • Drives risk assessment and contingency planning by the PT.
    • Communicates program status and issues horizontally and vertically in a transparent and timely manner.
    • Supports the GPH in driving preparation of comprehensive program recommendations, board meeting presentations and updates for governance boards.
    • Leads ad-hoc cross-functional sub-teams and task forces to address and resolve issues.
    • May deputize for GPH as leader and spokesperson for the PT and may represent the program at board meetings.
    • May lead a subpart of a program, e.g. secondary indication, pediatric program, new delivery forms or deputize for GPH at PT meetings.
  • Operations
    • Organizes PT meetings and prepares high quality PT agendas and minutes in a timely manner.
    • Along with Finance, assembles and monitors financial forecasts and communicates variances/deviations to the PT.
    • Responsible for program/project/financial information provided to e.g. governance boards, portfolio management, Finance, and responsible for executive communication of program status through PT minutes and as otherwise required by the organization.
    • Leads generation of a complete and accurate program plan and forecast in the enterprise planning system (e.g. Horizon). This includes liaising with partner functions to ensure a realistic plan that reflects the strategy and challenging the schedules and financial forecasts provided by the functions to ensure feasibility.
    • Collaborates with partner functions to maintain a realistic program plan reflecting latest PT decisions.
    • Ensures execution of cross-functional project activities and tracks progress versus integrated development plan (timelines, forecast).
    • May manage external partnership/collaborations in conjunction with Alliance Management and the Research Director / Translational Program Head.
  • Teams
    • Partners with GPH to enable a high performing team culture based on the Novartis Gene Therapies / Novartis values and behaviors, the expertise and contributions of the PT members, shared responsibility, and the coordination of work towards a common goal.
    • Drives PT objective setting, prioritization and tracking, and definition and achievement of realistic program goals with an enterprise mind set by integrating and balancing both portfolio and line function perspectives.
    • Builds trusting relationships with PT members.
    • Collaborates with PT members to identify key program issues and brings to PT for deliberation and decision on resolution.
    • Resolves conflicts in good faith.
    • Coaches PT Members, as needed, e.g. for optimal program progression.
  • Leadership
    • Contributes drug development knowledge and project management experience to team discussions.
    • Coaches others on drug development and 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.
    • Keeps up to date on organizational changes and acts as strong supporter of organizational change; champions implementation of changes within PTs.
    • Participates in initiatives to identify, develop and implement process changes within and outside of PM.

  • Masters or Doctorate in life sciences (or MBA with bachelor's degree, or equivalent experience in life science).
  • 10+ years pharma industry experience.
  • 5+ years of equivalent multi-/cross-functional leadership experience.
  • Previous track record of success in working with and leading large scale and complex international and multidisciplinary drug development teams.
  • Expert knowledge in drug development (including early and late stage development).
  • Excellent project / program management skills.
  • Advanced knowledge and experience in pharma business development is a plus.
  • Advanced knowledge in international customs and business practice.
  • Expert in communication and information management.
  • Team facilitation skills that can help with objective setting for the team and the collective achievement of the objectives.
  • Leadership presence with the ability to present and interact with senior management.
  • Strength demonstrated in strategic decision making, scenario evaluation and contingency planning.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills for bridging between scientific and business participants, for driving a program to effective implementation and for managing effective international collaborations; strong verbal communication, expert in written communications, expert team player.
  • Advanced planning and tracking skills, ability to use proper tools in program management and capable of managing multiple programs with respect to priorities.

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

Novartis Gene Therapies Benefit Summary:

Annual bonus, long term incentive, health insurance, paid vacation/holidays, potential flexible working arrangements (based on role) and employee recognition scheme are some of the benefits you will receive as an employee 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.