Associate Director/Sr. Principal Investigator, Preclinical Development

San Diego, CA
Sep 28, 2021
Biotech Beach
Required Education
Position Type
Full time

Imagine… 2 weeks after the birth of your child you realize they aren't meeting critical developmental milestones and after months of doctor's appointments you are told your baby has a rare neurological disease that would impact how they would live their lives.  This is the reality of parents whose children have Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and it's the reason why we at Novartis Gene Therapies are laser focused on bringing hope and possibility to those devastated by rare genetic diseases.


Novartis Gene Therapies is seeking an Associate Director/ Sr. Principal Investigator to lead Program Team Leaders for the purpose of discovery and optimization of AAV gene therapy clinical candidates for a range of therapeutic areas. The incumbent will report to the Head of the Gene Therapy Unit in NVS Neuroscience. The role will liaison extensively with collaborators and partners across Novartis to build and execute a world leading AAV gene therapy pipeline.  The incumbent will be a visible and vocal spokesperson in shaping overall research and early development strategy as well as Corporate and Business Development Strategies. Additional areas of opportunity will be ideation of new gene therapy concepts and providing leadership and strategy for new gene therapy platform technology development.


  • Manage Program Team Leaders, identify key issues, and allocate resources in support of goals and progress of pipeline programs.
  • Collaborate with Translational Medicine, Biomarker Development and CROs to design preclinical studies, define dose response relationships, and translate to clinical rationales.
  • Engage external KOLs to guide development of preclinical programs.
  • Key contributor to regulatory document creation and review.
  • Develop and maintain world leading expertise and recognition in AAV gene therapy as an emerging therapeutic modality.
  • Work closely with Business Development (BDL) and due diligence teams to evaluate and make strategic recommendations on external assets (technologies and programs).
  • Support the presentation of programs for milestone progression at Novartis governance boards.
  • Advance Good Research Practices and quality culture within NIBR. Oversee production of quality data deliverables in support of pipeline programs.


  • PhD, MD or equivalent required.
  • Minimum 7 years of biotech/pharma industry research experience.
  • Minimum of 2 years Management experience.
  • Outstanding collaboration skills required, as this is an extensive matrix collaboration role.
  • Advanced written and oral communication skills.
  • Experience working in cross-functional teams.
  • Experience working in neurological or neuromuscular disease areas.


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


Why Novartis?

769 million lives were touched by Novartis medicines in 2020, and while we're proud of this, we know there is so much more we could do to help improve and extend people's lives. We believe new insights, perspectives and ground-breaking solutions can be found at the intersection of medical science and digital innovation. That a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment inspires new ways of working.


We believe our potential can thrive and grow in an unbossed culture underpinned by integrity, curiosity and flexibility. And we can reinvent what's possible, when we collaborate with courage to aggressively and ambitiously tackle the world's toughest medical challenges. Because the greatest risk in life, is the risk of never trying!  Imagine what you could do here at Novartis!


Novartis Gene Therapies Benefit Summary:

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.

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