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Director - Central Nervous System Biology

Novo Nordisk
Lexington, MA
Start date
Nov 30, 2023

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Science/R&D, Biology, Neuroscience
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
Genetown, Best Places to Work

Job Details

About the Department

Our Cambridge Innovation Center is an extension of our Novo Nordisk Research Center.  We apply cutting-edge technologies to early R&D projects with the goal of bringing real change to People with Diabetes, Obesity and MASH.  Your skills, dedication and ambition will help us change lives for the better. In exchange, we’ll offer you an opportunity to work with extraordinary talent, continuously learn and develop, and drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic conditions.
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, obesity and MASH 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

Global Drug Discovery (GDD) in Boston will be engaged in accelerating the path of novel cardiometabolic therapies for clinical development within Novo Nordisk (NN). A main focus of the GDD Boston is discovery and evaluation of novel targets that can modulate cardiometabolic disease and advance the projects to deliver to the NN pipeline. The therapeutic area (TA) teams based in Boston will collaborate closely with the team in Denmark and the Novo network sites.  The TA will drive a high level of scientific innovation in the scientific and therapy area of diabetes, obesity, and NASH to assure the key and most important scientific topics and areas are being pursued to support Novo Nordisk's Global Drug Discovery (GDD) aspirations. 


The Director will be responsible for managing scientific team and laboratory staff to drive the programs with impact on the pipeline.



Reports to the Vice President of Metabolic Research. Internal relationships include working with research employees, project managers, Therapy Area Heads, as well as colleagues across therapeutic areas. This position has direct reports. External relationships include those with business partners and academic collaborators.


Essential Functions

  • Leadership:
  • Leading the department in line with Novo Nordisk Way
  • Influence and execute strategy for the disease area
  • Securing global cross-organizational collaboration
  • Developing scientific talent and team members with leadership potential
  • Drive change management in own area as well as make recommendations to assist senior leadership in influencing  change in other departments as well as the TA
  • Collaboration across GDD:
  • Collaborate across therapy areas at all levels in GDD
  • Role model – joint responsibility for target progression and pipeline support across GDD
    • Business development:
    • Work together with therapy area head and lead team to identify scientific gaps in research direction as well as capabilities to mitigate and reduce gaps
    • Assist in conducting due diligence and ensuring scientific drive and value generation of ongoing and new external collaborations
  • People Management:
  • Planning, coordination, prioritization, guidance to employees and monitoring progress of activities
  • Estimation of resource demand and bottlenecks, secure an optimal utilization of resources and equipment
  • Ensuring the area incl. sub-functions delivers according to the Novo Nordisk goal setting
  • Performance management
  • Securing an optimal utilization of resources
  • Drive continuous development and improvements to meet business goals
  • Ensure budget and business targets are met
  • Responsible for Occupational Health & Safety in the department
  • Scientific Responsibilities:
  • Drive state of art drug discovery
  • Lead the department to have significant impact to build and expand a sustainable pipeline within GDD in therapy area, including target ID, validation, and ensuring project progression and delivery
  • Integration and application of newest technology
  • Integrating data science with biology
  • Continuously move the scientific concepts and models towards newest ways of thinking
  • Challenge the scientific rationale, hypothesis and result interpretation of projects in pipeline
  • Pro-active in engaging with key stakeholders across the organization
  • Role model – working across to drive a collective benefit for NN
  • Communication:
  • Communicate, in a structured and well-articulated way, the rationale behind scientific strategy to the key members of research committees, peers as well as key collaborators

    Physical Requirements

    0-10% overnight travel required.


    Development of People

    Supervisory, ensure that reporting personnel have Individual Development Plans (IDP), with annual goals and measurements that are consistent with the priorities of the business, and that interim reviews are held so that their work is focused on those priorities, and they understand their level of accountability for results and the measurement process. Ensure that the IDP forms include completed learning and aspiration plans and are in place for all reporting personnel to enable the achievement of goals and capability to assume increased levels of responsibility. Manage the application and communication of all Novo Nordisk policies, procedures, and Novo Nordisk Way.



    • Education:
    • A PhD in relevant field is required
  • Experience:
  • Minimum of 10 years relevant industry and academic experience, including prior experience managing and leading research groups
  • Experience in target discovery and commercialization
  • Subject matter expert with a high level of creativity, innovation and inquisitiveness
  • Personal Skills:
  • Both a team leader and a team player with strong people skills. Deep interest and talent for interpersonal relations and communication, excellent situational leadership and change management skills
  • Excellent in establishing trustful relationships, and cross-cultural understanding
  • Good collaboration skills. A strong team player that brings people along through a supportive, engaged, and creative way of working
  • Role models the Novo Nordisk way, encouraging a culture of engagement and dedication Strong, dynamic, ambitious, and determined
  • Strong communication skills and cross-cultural understanding to interact in the global organization
  • Flexibility and the ability to work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment are required
  • Fluency in spoken and written English is a prerequisite for the role

    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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