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Sr. Director, Vector Discovery & Innovation

4D Molecular Therapeutics
Emeryville, California
$253,000/year - $300,000/year
Start date
Sep 1, 2023

Job Details

At 4D Molecular Therapeutics, Inc. (“4DMT”), we boldly innovate to unlock the full potential of genetic medicines for countless patients. We are committed to breaking boundaries and daring to cure as we develop new and foundational products and product components through our growing technology platforms.

4DMT is a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company harnessing the power of directed evolution for targeted genetic medicines. We seek to unlock the full potential of gene therapy using our platform, Therapeutic Vector Evolution (TVE), which combines the power of directed evolution with our approximately one billion synthetic AAV capsid-derived sequences to invent evolved vectors for use in our products. We believe key features of our targeted and evolved vectors will help us create targeted product candidates with improved therapeutic profiles. These profiles will allow us to treat a broad range of large market diseases, unlike most current genetic medicines that generally focus on rare or small market diseases.  

We have built a deep portfolio of AVV-based gene therapy product candidates, with five product candidates in clinical trials: 4D-150 for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME), 4D-710 for the treatment of cystic fibrosis lung disease, 4D-310 for the treatment of Fabry disease cardiomyopathy, 4D-125 for the treatment of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP), and 4D-110 for the treatment of choroideremia. In addition, we have two product candidates in preclinical studies: 4D-175 for geographic atrophy (GA) and 4D-725 for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

To-date, we have demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept for three evolved vectors in three therapeutic areas and routes of administration with five products and patient populations. We believe this validates the power of our directed evolution platform for discovering superior vectors compared to wildtype viral vectors. We have built a robust and efficient product engine with 6 open Investigational New Drug Applications (INDs) in the U.S., 1 IND in Taiwan, and 1 Clinical Trial Approval (CTA) in Australia. We believe we are positioned to create, develop, manufacture and, if approved, effectively commercialize targeted genetic medicines that could transform the lives of patients suffering from debilitating diseases.

In addition to TVE, our technology includes a robust AAV manufacturing platform and onsite manufacturing facility that allows us to rapidly produce and test research grade material and scale up to GMP clinical material. This internal capability and close collaboration between our R&D and Manufacturing teams has greatly accelerated the pace of discovery at 4DMT.

Company Differentiators: 

•    Fully integrated clinical-phase company with internal manufacturing
•    Demonstrated ability to move rapidly from idea to IND
•    Five candidate products in the clinic and two declared pre-clinical programs
•    Robust technology and IP foundation, including our TVE and manufacturing platforms
•    Initial product safety and efficacy data substantiates the value of our platforms
•    Opportunities to expand to other indications and modalities within genetic medicine


Reporting to the CDO, this is a senior strategic role in the Vector Discovery & Innovation Group (VDI). 

VDI functions to develop new innovative technologies for direct application in our product pipeline of transformative AAV-based gene therapies. We seek a seasoned gene therapy leader with experience in viral vector development, e.g. AAV vector-based technologies to head up a group of scientists developing novel innovative gene therapies for the 4DMT product portfolio. The Senior Director will have responsibility for the strategy, process and execution of the science whether this be in-licensing of new technology or in-house development. The Senior Director will have a key role in scientific leadership and research governance within the company and will work closely with other functions including Corporate Strategy, Business Development and CMC and will interface regularly with the Executive Team, Clinical Operations, Regulatory, CMC. The role needs a motivated, driven, and highly experienced scientist who can work within a driven cross-functional team.  


Strategy Development: 80% of TIME 

  • Develop the strategy for technology development in the relevant field 
  • Work closely with the Therapeutic Area Heads, Project Leaders, and the Chief Scientific Officer to develop innovative approaches to vectorized protein therapeutics and apply them to AAV gene therapies 
  • Contribute to the strategy, assessment and prioritization of the 4DMT product pipeline and Therapeutic Areas 
  • Lead a team of scientists in the design and implementation of research programs in vector discovery and optimization as well as payload development, including optimization of gene regulatory elements and therapeutic transgenes  
  • Contribute substantially to the evaluation of external technologies, potential in-licensing and out-licensing opportunities working closely with Corporate Strategy 


Other Responsibilities: 20% of TIME 

  • Work closely with the project management office to manage budgets and timelines 
  • Contribute to the strategy and preparation of regulatory submissions such preIND, INTERACT, IND, Orphan Drug Designation, Fast Track & EMA submission 
  • Present and interact with the Executive Team and governance groups (e.g. R&D Leadership, Strategic Portfolio Review and Project Review Committees to meet strategic objectives and company goals, identify program risks and develop risk mitigation plans.  
  • Build and manage preclinical scientific advisory boards/meetings and external consultants. 
  • Develop strategy for publications in this field and present at external scientific presentations and publications 
  • Other duties as assigned, nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time 



  • PhD in relevant field (e.g., immunology, protein biologics and antibodies) 


  • 12+ years industry/pharma experience or equivalent in academia and 8+ years experience at lab management level (Senior Specialist, Lab Manager or above) 
  • Strong track record of independent scientific achievement 
  • Proven ability to build and lead a team 
  • Proven ability to perform top quality scientific experimentation including processes and quality assurance 
  • Experience and expertise in gene therapy, e.g. vector-based technologies  
  • Experience in hematology, oncology, CNS diseases are a plus 
  • Regulatory and health authority experience a plus. 


  • Innovative, accomplished scientific thinking 
  • Strong leadership skills including team building and retention 
  • Strong scientific understanding and knowledge of the drug development process 
  • Ability to strategize, problem solve, analyze, critique, assess and present research data 
  • Confident and respectful when interacting with all levels of management; stays focused and on-point, and raises problems or challenges in a productive, solution-minded manner. 
  • Ability to prioritize programmatic needs, highly adaptable, professional with the ability to deliver successful programs 
  • Strong interpersonal skills and professional demeanor. 


Base salary compensation range: 




Bay Area Range 



4DMT provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, status as a covered veteran, and any other category protected under applicable federal, state, provincial and local laws.   Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


4DMT is a gene therapy company with a transformative discovery platform --Therapeutic Vector Evolution --that enables our “disease first” approach to product discovery and development, thereby allowing us to customize our AAV vectors to target specific tissue types associated with the underlying disease.

At 4DMT we are creating and developing optimized “biopharmaceutical grade” AAV vectors that will allow us uniquely to unlock the full potential of gene therapy. Our customized and proprietary AAV vectors are each designed, according to a 4DMT Target Vector Profile, to deliver genes to specific cells and tissues in the body to eradicate both rare and large market diseases.

While AAV gene therapy pioneers are making great strides with the first wave of products, hurdles still exist with the use of conventional vectors. The most commonly used AAV capsids (e.g., AAV2, 5, 8 and 9) were identified either 1) as contaminants in lab stocks of adenovirus, or 2) through monkey tissue processing. Therefore, these conventional vectors are not targeted specifically to any tissue in the body. This can lead to inefficient and non-specific delivery, thus requiring extremely high doses and potentially resulting in toxicities (including inflammation), high manufacturing burdens and suboptimal efficacy. In addition, suboptimal routes of delivery can be required for delivery to the right tissues (e.g., subretinal delivery to the retina). Finally, pre-existing neutralizing antibodies in many patients can limit efficacy, clinical trial enrollment and market sizes. 4DMT Innovation empowers us to create new and improved next generation AAV capsids to allow targeted delivery of our products by the optimal clinical route of administration.

At 4DMT we use our robust discovery platform, termed “Therapeutic Vector Evolution,” to create customized and proprietary gene delivery vehicles (novel AAV vectors) to deliver genes to specific tissues and cells in the body by the optimal route of administration. We use the power of evolution to create and refine these optimized vectors through genetic diversification and then natural selection in vivo.

4D Purpose Statement:  Boldly Innovating to Unlock the Full Potential of Gene Therapy for Countless Patients



  • Dare to Cure - Patients are waiting. Create big dreams for patients and take calculated risks to achieve them
  • Break Boundaries - Question the status quo and innovate beyond conventional approaches
  • Beyond Yourself - It's about patients, their families, our team, our families. We strengthen each other.
  • Prepare and Execute Relentlessly - Start with the end in mind, over-prepare and make contingency plans to your contingency plans

We invite all of you who share our passion and vision in creating the ultimate gene therapy products to cure genetic and rare diseases in children and adults. We seek the best people in the industry who identify with our mission and innovative results-driven approach. We offer an inspiring and collaborative environment that encourages individual contributions, recognizes performance in multiple ways, offers generous benefits and provides challenging opportunities for career development. 

Company info
5858 Horton St. Suite 455
United States

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