Senior Director, Oncology Discovery

Sunnyvale, California
Jul 28, 2021
Science/R&D, Oncology
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
About AbbVie
AbbVie’s mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people’s lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women’s health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Since 2013, AbbVie has expanded its commitment to the San Francisco Bay Area, now represented by three facilities in Redwood City, South San Francisco, Sunnyvale and a future new Bay Area headquarters in South San Francisco. AbbVie employees in the Bay Area drive AbbVie’s research-based, innovation driven missions in healthcare. Specifically, Bay Area employees bring deep scientific expertise and commercial excellence to advance cancer care. Current oncology areas of focus include immuno-oncology, tumor targeting, tumor dependency and precision medicine. With facilities positioned in the heart of the biotechnology industry, we are able to collaborate with the best and brightest minds in oncology.

The Senior Director will lead a research department at the forefront of cancer biology from target discovery through Candidate Selection.  The role will involve the development and implementation of strategic objectives with an emphasis on targets/pathways in which clear tumor dependencies (e.g., genetically validated targets and synthetic lethal targets) can be established. This leader will primarily serve as the research head of the Bay Area Tumor Dependency department.  The incumbent will be required to lead, communicate, manage (directly and indirectly) in a matrixed global organization across a diverse set of colleagues

The ideal candidate should have a passion for Cancer Biology with a track-record of identifying and progressing novel targets to clinical candidates.  As a skilled organizational leader, this individual should be an efficient manager, an effective team builder and a productive collaborator who will provide strong organizational and scientific leadership consistent with AbbVie’s culture of innovation and teamwork. The exact position will be commensurate of experience


  • Develop, refine, and implement the research strategy in cancer biology with a specific focus towards identifying novel tumor dependencies (e.g., synthetic lethality) in both solid and hematological tumor settings
  • Lead an internal team of scientists (25-30) in identifying, validating, and prosecuting novel targets from a multitude of bioinformatics and functional genomics approaches
  • Keep up to date with the latest scientific advancements (e.g. emerging biology, new technologies, and competitive landscape) and is well informed about current trends in oncology research and development to deliver the next generation of oncology discovery therapies
  • Set departmental scientific and business goals and deliver through managing people and resources
  • Provide day-to-day scientific and organizational leadership for research teams within the Tumor Dependency area by serving as a mentor and role model with the goal of developing high-performing teams and scientific talent   
  • Develop a science-driven, goal-oriented culture that values innovation, teamwork, transparency, accountability, empowerment, and agility
  • Identify, engage, and ensure the success of research collaborations across AbbVie’s global network and the external scientific community.
  • Work with the Discovery leadership team to allocate appropriate resources to ensure timely achievement of pipeline goals.
  • Serve as a key member of the Oncology leadership team, collaborating internally with other leadership as well as serve as a representative of AbbVie Oncology to the external scientific community



  • MD or PhD in Life Sciences or equivalent with a minimum of 15 years of relevant industrial/academic experience in oncology positions of increasing responsibility.
  • Proven track record of scientific innovation and accomplishment in the field as evidenced by publication record, patents, and conference presentations.
  • Demonstrated experience in advancing novel research programs in drug discovery from target identification through preclinical development

Key Leadership Competencies:

  • Builds strong relationships with peers and cross functionally with partners to enable higher performance.
  • Learns fast, grasps organizational priorities and can change course quickly where indicated.
  • Experience in leading, mentoring and developing a diverse and talented research team.  Raises the bar and is never satisfied with the status quo.
  • Creates a learning environment, open to suggestions and experimentation for improvement.
  • Embraces the ideas of others, nurtures innovation and manages innovation to reality.
  • Self-starter with strong scientific curiosity and rigor, excellent interpersonal and analytic skills, high ethical standards and outstanding written and verbal communication skills.  Demonstrated ability to work within a team environment.

Significant Work Activities
Awkward/forceful/repetitive motions (arms above shoulders, bent wrists, etc.)
Yes, 10 % of the Time
Job Type
Job Level Code
Equal Employment Opportunity
At AbbVie, we value bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds to develop new and innovative solutions for patients. As an equal opportunity employer we do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy), physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, protected veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic.