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Director, Biological Research/Senior Principal Research Scientist

Irvine, California
Start date
Feb 17, 2024

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Job Details

The Neurotoxin Research Group at AbbVie seeks an accomplished scientist and leader. The Director/Senior Principal Research Scientist will lead a team performing in vivo pharmacological research to characterize existing and novel toxin therapeutics. She/He/They will be responsible for managing a diverse team of in vivo scientists to design and perform pharmacology studies using existing and novel assays aimed at evaluating the effects of botulinum neurotoxins on muscle paralysis.

The ideal candidate will have a strong and established background in pharmacology, specializing in in vivo pharmacology, and a proven track record of successfully leading diverse project teams to produce novel therapeutics. The candidate will have experience with project conception, strategic planning, budgeting, and both leading as well as contributing to cross-functional and matrixed teams. Additionally, the candidate will have a working knowledge of various research areas including neuroscience, enzyme biokinetics, toxicology, biochemistry, and histology. 

The candidate will be able to lead by influence and maintain a productive, collaborative, and inclusive laboratory environment in compliance with regulatory and company expectations. Experience managing projects from early-stage research through development is a required. 

A key role for the position is partnering with senior management to conceive and provide strategic direction and vision for the program while leading a team responsible for executing the technical aspects of the plan. Strong communication skills are essential as the candidate must be able to tailor interactions with technical teams and represent the program and strategy to executive-level management.

Key responsibilities:

•       Drive functional performance by leading team members in designing and performing in vivo assays, and analyzing pharmacological results

•       Develop and execute a strategy in alignment with functional goals and key scientific objectives in discovery & development research

•       Liaise with toxicology, immunology, bioanalytical, and clinical development colleagues

•       As programs advance, develop plans to address and reduce risks in collaboration with key stakeholders to help progress into clinical studies

•       Manage project activities and professional development of a team of scientists through effective mentoring, guidance, and supervision

•       Advance scientific expertise within the function and collaborate with cross-disciplinary teams to advance programs from research to development

•       Develop forward looking strategies to identify and implement novel assays, measurements, and technologies that increase throughput, quality, and reproducibility of pharmacological results

•       Ensure the quality and effectiveness of key project results through sound design, early risk assessments, and implementation of fallback strategies

•       Provide expert advice and share knowledge with direct reports, peers, and senior management

•       Provide guidance to develop both the skills and the careers of direct reports

•       Train and mentor functional colleagues and assess current and emerging business challenges to achieve functional goals

•       Identify and integrate emerging scientific trends from internal and external sources into short-term functional objectives

•       Responsible for data management, data QC, and technical report writing

•       Author regulatory documents in compliance with Federal Regulations, including protocols, study reports, relevant sections of investigator brochures and INDs, white papers, and other similar documents

•       Present program updates and research strategies to functional and non-functional leaders as well as potential and existing partners

•       Maintain awareness of emerging literature and science in the neurotoxin field and author scientific disclosures as needed

Job Qualifications (minimum requirements):

•       Extensive experience with pharmacological assays, focusing on in vivo pharmacology in an industrial research environment, with at least 10+ years of experience managing teams and cross-functional projects

•       Direct experience with peripheral animal models and measurements

•       Proven track record of driving early to late-stage development programs

•       Extensive knowledge and experience in neuroscience, both central and peripheral

•       At a minimum, conversant in enzyme kinetics, toxicologic and histologic assays and methods

•       Extremely organized and experienced with documentation of experimental plans, budget, timelines, and technical reports

•       Experience in authoring and QCing technical reports and regulatory documents

•       Highly organized and self-directed, capable of leading multiple complex research programs in parallel.

•       Solid understanding of standard statistical analysis of scientific data using data software tools (e.g., Prism, SigmaPlot, and SPSS)

•       Detailed oriented and precise in written and oral communication

•       Effective problem solving skills

•       Ability to critically analyze data and lead teams to solve issues and make best strategic decisions

•       Highly collaborative, team-oriented, and considerate of the needs of others

•       Strong interpersonal skills and ability to collaborate with diverse groups within the organization and external partners

•       Knowledge of pharmaceutical development processes, including lead characterization, CMC considerations, and GxP tox & safety

•       Experience evaluating internal and external research and development programs

•       Proven team leadership and management abilities, including experience mentoring, guiding, supervising, and developing scientific personnel with various backgrounds and training levels

•       Ability to create an inclusive environment where diverse ideas, viewpoints and backgrounds are valued; willingness and ability to lead inclusively and demonstrate a commitment to listen and consider all points of view

Education & Experience:

PhD in Biology, Pharmacology, Neuroscience, Biochemistry, or equivalent field with 10+ years of related work experience in biotech or pharma; Master’s Degree Science or PharmD with 16 years of related work

Applicable only to applicants applying to a position in any location with pay disclosure requirements under state or local law: 

The compensation range described below is the range of possible base pay compensation that the Company believes in good faith it will pay for this role at the time of this posting based on the job grade for this position. Individual compensation paid within this range will depend on many factors including geographic location, and we may ultimately pay more or less than the posted range. This range may be modified in the future.

We offer a comprehensive package of benefits including paid time off (vacation, holidays, sick), medical/dental/vision insurance and 401(k) to eligible employees.

This job is eligible to participate in our short-term incentive programs. 

This job is eligible to participate in our long-term incentive programs. 

Note: No amount of pay is considered to be wages or compensation until such amount is earned, vested, and determinable. The amount and availability of any bonus, commission, incentive, benefits, or any other form of compensation and benefits that are allocable to a particular employee remains in the Company's sole and absolute discretion unless and until paid and may be modified at the Company’s sole and absolute discretion, consistent with applicable law. 

AbbVie is committed to operating with integrity, driving innovation, transforming lives, serving our community, and embracing diversity and inclusion. 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 protected veteran, or any other legally protected group status.


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

Company info
1 North Waukegan Road
North Chicago

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