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Principal Scientist - Global Drug Discovery

Novo Nordisk
Lexington, MA
Start date
Nov 20, 2023

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Science/R&D, Biotechnology, Pharmacology
Required Education
Masters Degree/MBA
Position Type
Full time
Genetown, Best Places to Work

Job Details

About the Department                                                                                                                                 

Our Boston Research & Development hub, anchored in the greater Boston area, brings together the best minds in life science innovation. The teams located in facilities in Lexington, Watertown and Cambridge reflect the full R&D continuum, from early research through late-stage clinical development. Here, we are building for the future, creating a distinct R&D community based on collaboration, partnerships, and cutting-edge research across multiple modalities and therapeutic areas. We recognize that improving human health starts here and that patients rely on us. Our greater Boston R&D hub merges biotech speed and agility with large pharmaceutical company quality, resources, and stability, uniting the best of both worlds to develop new medicines for patients.


The team is comprised of collaborative, diverse and passionate people who have a true sense of pride in their work and are committed to helping others grow and develop their careers. You’ll also have a platform to engage with key stakeholders on a global scale throughout the entire pipeline process. And while changing the future of diabetes and obesity treatment is no easy task, we also recognize the importance of an enjoyable workplace, which is why we’ve cultivated a culture of fun, ingenuity and innovation. And our competitive compensation package and support of a healthy work-life balance all add to a best-in-class employee experience. We are changing lives for a living. Are you ready to make a difference?


The Position

The Principal Scientist will provide subject matter expertise and leadership in the expansion of biology and disease understanding; identification and validation of new drug targets; advancing novel therapies to the clinic; and developing technologies to accelerate drug development. This will be achieved by leading or coordinating multiple research activities involving cross-functional project teams to ensure achievement of key deliverables. The Principal Scientist will represent the organization to the external scientific community through scientific article and patent publication, presentation of research, and through the development, management, and leadership of external collaborations. The individual will be seen across the company and externally as a method/subject expert for immune mechanisms related to cardiometabolic and rare diseases, and for core technologies like flow cytometry.



Reports to the head of the Immunobiology department. Internal relationships include working closely with colleagues at US, UK, Denmark, and China research sites to support the Global Drug Discovery pipeline. The Principal Scientist will have regular cross-functional, global collaborations with both internal teams and external partners. This individual may supervise contingent workers and mentor others in their functional area. Individual will interact with external research collaborators both academia- & industry-based.


Essential Functions

  • Major contributor to research projects through hands-on full autonomous work involving complex tasks requiring highly-specialized knowledge of strategic importance to SVP area
  • Proven subject matter expertise. Demonstrates a specialized depth and/or breadth of expertise and engages relationships with other key areas related to drug development in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Leads research projects (target, biology, or technology-related) involving coordination of multiple experimental activities and groups, recommends and is responsible for ensuring realistic project timelines and deliverables, and works closely with local or global project managers
  • Effectively communicates and collaborates across global sites and sets project strategy by providing leadership of cross-functional project teams
  • Proposes and leads external collaborations and strategic partnerships to further company goals related to therapeutic area
  • Viewed internally & externally as subject matter expert and contribute to develop the research agenda with a clear understanding of the link between scientific project goals and overall long-term business needs
  • Proposes new projects that support the strategic agenda and address gaps in technological capabilities and therapeutic areas
  • Represents the organization through external communication of impactful scientific research in the form of presentation at external conferences and publication in scientific journals and patents
  • Maintains a deep understanding of theoretical knowledge and a connection to the external scientific community through continuous evaluation of relevant literature
  • Leads cross-functional experimental teams to achieve project goals, mentor junior staff, and provide training. Acts as a resource for colleagues with less experience; may direct the work of other staff members
  • Works with Department Heads and Scientists to ensure better practice sharing and implementation within the research environment
  • Demonstrates superior cross-cultural understanding to effectively interact with relevant stakeholders in the global organization
  • Be an active contributor to creating and sustaining an inclusive culture of curiosity that embraces diversity


    • Bachelor’s degree within subject matter expertise required. Relevant Post-graduate or industry experience required
    • 22+ years’ relevant experience required, Master's Degree with 16+ years relevant industry or post-doctorate experience can be considered. PhD with 10+ years relevant industry or post-doctorate experience can be considered
    • Demonstrates excellent verbal and written communication skills
    • Demonstrates outstanding project management knowledge, as well as organizational and time-management skills
    • Required experience:
    • Expertise in field of immunology (human and rodent) – subject matter expertise in innate/adaptive regulatory mechanisms, immunometabolism, immune aging and senescence, fibrogenesis, cytokine regulation, or myeloid biology considered
    • Knowledge of cardiometabolic disease, especially diabetes (T1D or T2D), and/or cardiovascular disease
    • Experience working in drug development research setting
    • Expertise in flow cytometry panel design & analyses, flow- & electrochemiluminescence-based cytokine measurements, cytotoxicity assay development, & live cell imaging
    • Experience in developing & optimizing highly complex multi-cellular assays
    • Experience working with human blood & tissue
    • Expert cell culture skills – human, rodent, non-human primate
  • Preferred experience:
  • Knowledge of chronic kidney disease
  • Experience working with 2D/3D models & organoids
  • Knowledge in computational biology & sequencing

    We commit to an inclusive recruitment process and equality of opportunity for all our job applicants.


    At Novo Nordisk we recognize that it is no longer good enough to aspire to be the best company in the world. We need to aspire to be the best company for the world and we know that this is only possible with talented employees with diverse perspectives, backgrounds and cultures. We are therefore committed to creating an inclusive culture that celebrates the diversity of our employees, the patients we serve and communities we operate in. Together, we’re life changing.


    Novo Nordisk is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by local, state or federal laws, rules or regulations.


    If you are interested in applying to Novo Nordisk and need special assistance or an accommodation to apply, please call us at 1-855-411-5290. This contact is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.


    Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines, and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 54,400 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries. For more information visit

    Our US Research & Development hub, located in the Greater Boston area, brings together the best talent to drive life science innovation. Located in Lexington, Watertown and Cambridge, our teams reflect the full scope of R&D, from early research through late-stage clinical development. We are building for the future by creating a distinct R&D community based on collaboration, partnerships, and cutting-edge research across multiple modalities and therapeutic areas. We recognize that improving human health starts here and that patients rely on us. By combining the speed and agility of biotech with the quality, resources, and stability of a large pharmaceutical company, our US R&D hub will benefit from the best of both worlds to develop new medicines that meet the needs of patients.


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