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Senior Director of Operations, Calico Collaboration

Lake County, Illinois
Start date
May 21, 2023

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Job Details

Since 2014, AbbVie and Calico, a Google-backed life sciences company, have worked together to discover, develop, and bring to market new therapies for patients with age-related diseases. This collaboration has created more than 20 early-stage drug development programs across disease areas including immuno-oncology and neurodegeneration, with three of these programs now in clinical trials. Now extended through 2030, this dynamic and groundbreaking collaboration will continue to work to understand what makes us age and how to harness these lessons to improve the quality of human health by tackling a plethora of diseases.

AbbVie seeks a Senior Director of Operations for the Calico-AbbVie Collaboration who will oversee all preclinical and early Development operations, processes, strategic planning and execution for this complex and highly-visible collaboration of ~600 scientists/leaders that is unique in the biopharmaceutical industry.  She/he will provide individual, direct and matrix team leadership and consulting for transformational business programs in close collaboration with the Calico VP at AbbVie and the leadership team across all sites in Discovery and Early Development at AbbVie, and with the senior Leadership, Development and Operations teams at Calico in San Francisco. 

This position is ideally based out of our North Chicago headquarters or our San Francisco location. Remote work arrangements may be considered for experienced candidates.



  • Leads and oversees the strategic planning of Collaboration including an aligned overarching portfolio strategy and ensures that risk mitigation plans are proactively managed.
  • Leads integration of, and directly manages, all portfolio program- and project-level data. Manages all financial planning, tracking, projections, invoicing, including for all FTE and dedicated HC.
  • Leads the implementation and application of systems to support integrated planning, operations and process execution. Leverages good portfolio management practices to simplify governance, prioritization and decision making. 
  • Leads a dedicated Calico Operations team to effectively deliver optimal performance on project, portfolio, and resource management through continual development and coaching.
  • Partners with Calico and a broad array of network institutions and multiple AbbVie disciplines (Legal, BD, Development, Discovery, Operations, Asset Strategy) to help advance a portfolio of programs across age-related disease areas.
  • Leveraging scientific/medical with business backgrounds, oversees daily operations of the Collaboration and the work of senior collaboration leaders across functions (e.g. medicinal chemistry, translational science, clinical, regulatory) and is comfortable pushing back when appropriate.
  • Develops and executes change management and communication activities in alignment with Calico-AbbVie strategy and cultural aspects of the Collaboration.  
  • Assists Collaboration VP with driving strategic direction and influences internal and external stakeholders while managing relationships and resolving conflicts with external partners and vendors.
  • Promotes culture and vision in a way that encourages maximum performance and dedication while leading Discovery and Development project management resources to facilitate rapid advancement of novel and diverse Collaboration pipeline projects to clinical proof-of-concept in a constantly evolving environment.
  • Effectively frames complex issues for decision-makers and peers.  Prepares and delivers effective presentations to Calico and AbbVie Leadership and draws upon personal knowledge of business processes, global regulations, organizational and communication mechanisms to propose and design innovative solutions.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in a scientific or business management field
  • 15 years operations management experience
  • Prior experience in a functional leadership position

Desired Experience:

  • MBA or Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) certification
  • Proven experience as Chief Operations Officer (Biotech) or Senior Director of Operations (Biopharma) or similar relevant role
  • Understanding of key biopharmaceutical relevant business functions
  • 10+ years competency in strategic planning and business development preferred
  • 7+ years in a leadership role with outstanding organizational and leadership skills in pharmaceutical, healthcare or regulated industry highly preferred
  • Excellent mentoring and interpersonal communication (oral, written) and negotiation skills; able to leverage business principles to support enterprise initiatives
  • Aptitude in decision making and problem-solving in a complex Collaboration environment while influencing multi-functional teams across disciplines, cultures, 3rd parties, and geographic locations
  • Ability to craft compelling business cases and effectively champion new ideas.

Key Leadership Competencies:

  • Builds strong relationships with peers and cross functionally with partners outside of team to enable higher performance.
  • Learns fast, grasps the “essence” and can change course quickly where indicated.
  • Promotes the unique R&D approach and the ‘Spirit’ of the AbbVie-Calico Collaboration
  • Creates a learning environment, open to suggestions and experimentations for improvement.
  • Embraces the ideas of others, nurtures innovation and manages innovation to reality

AbbVie is an equal opportunity employer including disability/vets. It is AbbVie’s policy to employ qualified persons of the greatest ability without discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment because 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, status as a disabled veteran, recently separated veteran, Armed Forces service medal veteran or active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran or a person’s relationship or association with a protected veteran, including spouses and other family members, or any other protected group status. We will take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified minorities, women, individuals with a disability, disabled veterans, recently separated veterans, Armed Forces service medal veterans or active-duty wartime or campaign badge veterans. The Affirmative Action Plan is available for viewing in the Human Resources office during regular business hours.


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, and YouTube.

Stock Symbol: ABBV

Stock Exchange: NYSE

Find Us
1 North Waukegan Road
North Chicago

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