Head of Research, Infectious Diseases

April 25 2018
Life Sciences, Biology
Organization Type
Head of Research, Infectious Diseases

The Role:

This is an exceptional opportunity to lead the research group that is changing the way that vaccines are conceived, discovered, and developed.  Moderna's mRNA technology has allowed us to have 7 clinical stage vaccines, 3 preclinical candidates, and a rich discovery pipeline and potential in both vaccines and antibodies. 

The Head of Research for Infectious Diseases at Moderna Therapeutics will lead and manage the preclinical infectious diseases (ID) discovery, research and development team.  The primary responsibility will be to ensure excellence in the discovery and proof of concept for infectious diseases vaccines and antibodies.  This encompasses all aspects of biology, including antigen design and selection (viral and bacterial), immunology, assay development and validation, preparation for clinical development and post clinical development support.  

The direct team includes 20 people but the role will also require close partnership and matrix working with the research platform, the clinical development and medical team as well as the CMC, IP, legal and finance teams.  Moderna also has extensive external partnerships with academic, industry, governmental, non-governmental and philanthropic organizations.   The position will report to the Venture President with a dotted line report to the Head of Infectious Diseases Therapeutic Area.

The successful candidate will combine a world class expertise in viral and bacterial antigen and antibody selection and optimization with the ability to creatively optimize the innovative potential of the mRNA platform.  They will also have a proven track record in R&D team leadership and management, cross functional internal partnerships and working externally with a broad range of partners.     

Here's What You'll Do:

  • Develop and evolve the infectious diseases discovery and research strategy in conjunction with internal and external partners and experts.
  • Lead the implementation of the ID discovery and research strategy including antigen design, virology, bacteriology, assay development and validation.
  • Lead, manage and develop the ID discovery and research team, including, budget, governance, structure, competencies and capacity.
  • Explore, test and implement innovative tools and practices that will optimize the potential of the mRNA platform for infectious diseases
  • Work with the broad Moderna research, and CMC teams to ensure the development of product formulations and characteristics best suited to the target indications
  • Work with the Moderna Development team to ensure smooth transition and ongoing support of development candidates from research to development.
  • Contribute to the broader scientific and platform community at Moderna Therapeutics
  • Contribute to the communication of R&D data for ID targets through internal and external presentations and publications.
  • Ensure that safe laboratory practices and animal management practices are implemented and respected.
  • You will live our Values.  You will be curious in exploring new path for drug discovery, bold in proposing creative experimental designs and ideas. You will work collaboratively with multifunctional teams and will be relentless in pursuing successful outcomes

Here's What You'll Bring to the Table:

  • PhD in virology, immunology or molecular biology
  • A minimum of 10 yrs experience in Biotech, Pharma or Applied/Translational research.
  • Expertise and experience in vaccine and ideally also antibody discovery, selection, optimization and preclinical development to proof of concept and IND readiness.
  • Working knowledge of relevant laboratory and in-silico techniques, and assays.
  • At least 5 years leadership and management experience, including development and oversight of the financial, IP and legal aspects.
  • Ability to effectively collaborate effectively in a dynamic, cross-functional matrix environment and experience in working cross functionally with CMC and development functions.
  • Experience in working with and overseeing partnerships with academic, industrial, governmental and non-governmental organizations.
  • Outstanding communication skills (verbal and written). 
  • Ability to manage multiple projects in a fast-paced environment.

Here's What We'll Bring to the Table:

  • Daily on-site catered lunches.
  • Company-provided iPhone.
  • Free parking, monthly subway pass or a subsidized commuter rail pass.
  • Highly competitive healthcare coverage. Including: medical offered through BCBS (HMO/PPO), dental, and vision offered through VSP.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts for medical expenses and dependent care expenses.
  • 401k (traditional and Roth offered) with 50% match on first 6% deferred. Match is vested immediately.
  • A suite of Moderna paid insurance coverage, including: life insurance, short-term and long-term disability
  • Voluntary legal assistance plan
  • 15 days' vacation and 7 sick days per year, in addition to a discretionary winter shut down and 11 company paid holidays.
  • Adoption assistance, competitive parental leave, discount to local childcare centers, as well as access to Care.com

Why join Moderna Therapeutics

We are pioneering a new class of medicines made of messenger RNA, or mRNA. The potential implications of using mRNA as a drug are significant and far-reaching. It could transform not only how certain diseases are treated but also how medicines are discovered, developed and manufactured - at a breadth, scale and speed not common in the biopharma industry. 

Since our founding in 2011, we have built the industry's leading mRNA technology platform, the infrastructure to accelerate drug discovery and speed early development, a rapidly expanding pipeline, and an unparalleled team. Our development pipeline includes development candidates for mRNA-based vaccines and therapies spanning several therapeutic areas, and we have multiple clinical trials already underway with other development candidates progressing toward the clinic. In addition, we have a number of discovery programs that are advancing toward the development stage. 

We invite you to explore our site to learn more about our company and how we are advancing the promise of mRNA science to improve health and impact lives around the world. 

Our Mission:
Deliver on the promise of mRNA science to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients.


Moderna is committed to equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination for all employees and qualified applicants without regard to a person's race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation or any characteristic protected under applicable law. Moderna will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities, in accordance with applicable law.

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