Director, MSL, Americas

Emeryville, CA, United States
Jun 08, 2021
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Bachelors Degree
Position Type
Full time


Santen is a specialized pharmaceutical company with a 130-year heritage focused exclusively on ophthalmology. With sales in over 60 countries, Santen’s 4,000 global employees work to deliver life-changing therapies that make hope a reality for people facing vision impairment and loss. Santen Inc., located in Emeryville, CA (North America HQ), contributes important research & development and commercialization efforts. This office is home to about half of our 300-total staff in North America, including our Toronto, Canada site and our recent acquisitions of Eyevance Pharmaceuticals (Fort Worth, TX) and InnFocus (Miami, FL).


The Director, Medical Science Liaisons oversees the Americas’ regional MSL team(s). Leveraging a strong background in leading field-based teams and through frequent and consistent strategic and tactical team meetings, the Director is expected to ensure planning, execution, scientific exchange, and insight generation result in demonstrable outcomes to Santen and the scientific community. The Director is essential to driving ongoing improvement, challenging process and operational inefficiencies and recommending new approaches to better achieve results – including understanding how the organization needs to adapt to reflect the changing needs of the health care landscape and internal business challenges and opportunities.


Lead the MSL teams by ensuring appropriate collaboration and communication occurs across regions and within and across the broader organization – in a seamless and efficient manner. Specific aspects include, but may not be limited to:


  • Establish and oversee collaboration between MSL Team Leads, TA Leadership and Product Leads regarding development and communication of scientific objectives, and related field-based medicine tactics and insight generation.
  • Ensure regional medical strategies are effectively and appropriately communicated to MSL team.
  • Establish and oversee collaboration between MSLs to communicate learnings, enable best practices, and generate insights.
  • Establish and oversee collaboration between MSL and account focused field-based teams.
  • Promote and support collaboration with Global Medical Affairs (GMA) Operations to optimize processes and ensure appropriate support (i.e. training, job aides etc.).
  • Support in establishment of evolving boundaries for collaborative and compliant communications and interactions by MSL teams. Foster and oversee collaboration with other Santen stakeholders.
  • Foster and oversee compliant collaboration with Commercial colleagues.

Coaching and Development:



  • Lead MSL teams by creating a performance-based culture with clear accountability and urgency for achieving results.
  • Oversee MSL Team management plans.
  • Oversee and support development of annual goals and development plans for MSL Team.
  • Coach MSL Team on impactful scientific exchange activities.
  • Meet directly with all MSL Team once a quarter to develop strategies, discuss progress, and provide coaching.
  • Foster an environment that promotes urgency, smart decision making, and flexibility - while reinforcing and ensuring MSL team complies with boundaries for collaborative and compliant communications.
  • Review scientific exchange documented within the CRM to inform required coaching of MSL Team Leads.
  • Communicate with relevant internal stakeholders (Medical and Commercial) to understand performance against expectations, identify opportunities for improvement, and inform the performance management framework.
  • Communicate with field-based medicine and commercial leadership to understand performance of the MSL team in the region.
  • Ensure appropriate onboarding and training of new hires.
  • Ensure identification and implementation of required training for scientific and functional competencies through collaboration with GMA Medical Directors.

Planning and Implementation:



  1. Oversee and continue to improve on a consistent approach for the MSL Team to create scientific objectives and associated TA specific tactical plans in collaboration with TA Leadership.
  2. Review and approve TA specific tactical plans with MSL Team and liaise with the TA Leadership to ensure quality of communication / interaction during plan development.
  3. Appropriately allocate/prioritize resources across field-based activities within a TA and region. Revise allocation based upon resource changes and the evolving medical landscape.
  4. Oversee ongoing identification, assessment, and prioritization of objectives within the region.
  5. Identify changes in the healthcare environment, understand impact to the MSL activities, and develop potential solutions.
  6. Oversee identification and ensure development of scientific materials to support effective scientific exchange.
  7. Oversee execution of tactical engagement plans by reviewing progress against plan with MSL Team and recommend adjustments as appropriate to achieve scientific objectives.
  8. Oversee medical support for congresses.
  9. Ensure appropriate and compliant use of systems and tools by MSL’s to execute and document scientific exchange.
  10. Optimize and drive consistency in processes across teams as required.
  11. Challenge process and operational inefficiencies and work to develop new approaches and solutions to better achieve results.
  12. Oversee MSL Team annual planning, updates, and execution of scientific support for internal stakeholders (Medical, Clinical, and Commercial).
  13. Develop and oversee FBM MSL budget.

Insight Generation and Reporting:



  1. Lead MSL team by providing support and setting clear expectations for insight generation and the urgency for reporting.
  2. Oversee and continue to optimize the insight generation process, including use of tools and systems to enable a consistent and effective approach.
  3. Documentation of scientific insights by MSL’s in the appropriate system
  4. Immediate communication of insights, as required, to Product Leads, and Medicine TA Leadership.
  5. Discussion of scientific insights gathered by the MSL team, to understand the breadth of insights, potential impact, and to stimulate scientific exploration.
  6. Drive increasing quality of insights captured and consolidation & analysis of insights to ensure timely and high quality, actionable insights reported.
  7. Ensure timely communication of insights across the organization.
  8. Identification of ‘success stories’ for communication within Santen and the broader organization to demonstrate value (as appropriate).
  9. Challenge internal stakeholders to evaluate current strategies considering insights and impact on healthcare delivery.
  10. Ensure insights regarding medical needs of regional healthcare systems and organized providers are gleaned and communicated to internal stakeholders.




  • Advanced science / clinical degree (PharmD, M.D., Ph.D.) with five (5) or more years of relevant clinical or therapeutic experience; Advanced degree Nurses, NPs, PAs, or those with a Master’s degree in life sciences with commensurate pharmaceutical industry and clinical research experience may also apply.
  • Demonstrated experience in establishing field-based teams in a pharmaceutical organization preferred.
  • Minimum 12+ years of relevant experience in the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry with minimum of seven (7) years medical affairs / MSL experience and four (4) to six (6) years leadership and project management experience; Three (3) or more years’ leading field based medical teams within a pharmaceutical organization; Experience working with managed care organizations and health economics training preferred.
  • Proven track record of teamwork, leadership, timely decision making and results orientation in meeting business objectives.
  • In-depth knowledge of health care systems in the U.S., including managed care organizations, PBMs, Medicare, and Medicaid.
  • Ability to use field-based electronic or other communication tools for all aspects of job.
  • Prior experience working across multiple therapeutic areas (preferred).
  • This position will require travel of upwards of 50% to manage assigned geography.
  • Partner with Compliance / Legal business partners to discuss challenges and provide clear guidance to MSL team.
  • Proactively ensure compliance controls for the MSL team are monitored continually and identified issues are addressed.
  • Ensure MSL policies, procedures, and guidance is adhered to.
  • Demonstrate high ethical and profession standards with all business contacts.
  • Expertise in pharmaceutical compliance laws, regulations, and guidelines related scientific communications, as well as industry best practices related to MSL activities.