Research Project Leader - Rare Disease

Cambridge, Massachusetts
February 25 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
  • The Research Project Leader (RPL) is accountable for the scientific and team leadership of Rare Disease project teams and is responsible for the successful delivery of research projects from Lead Development stage to clinical Proof of Concept (POC).
  • Leads project teams to (1) develop a differentiated target product profile, a strategy to deliver the agreed-upon product profile, and an efficient timeline to achieving POC; (2) execute these plans, timelines, & milestones; and (3) deliver in a seamless manner, commercially aligned POCs to Global Product Development (GPD).

  • Serves as the leader and project champion of assigned programs by negotiating and influencing key internal and external stakeholders.
  • Develop high expertise and knowledge of subject matter; accountable for definition of a high quality, strategic project plan and delivery of high-quality project milestones on schedule and budget.
  • Accountable for efficient execution and timely delivery of the First in Human (FIH) package and submission of the Investigational New Drug Application (IND) and for the successful delivery of differentiated POCs in conjunction with partner lines.
  • Responsible for scientific excellence on the project including selection of the best candidate(s) to develop against the target and development of the project's necessary biomarkers, enablers, and/or translational research as defined at key checkpoint meetings (e.g., Development Strategy Blueprint meeting).
  • Provides strong crossline leadership in accord with the ethos and urgency of the Worldwide Research, Development & Medical (WRDM) mission e.g., invites scientific peer review.
  • Addresses Confidence in Rationale (CIR)/Confidence in Safety (CIS) as appropriate, ensures the project delivers molecules that survive, maximizes competitiveness, minimizes cost-to-know, and maximizes value.
  • Manages investment risk in individual projects through early identification of key mechanistic questions, the subsequent use of human genetic data and preclinical pharmacological tools to build confidence in rationale and safety.
  • Mitigates programmatic risk to justify continued and/or increased investment.
  • Applies contemporary and exploratory drug discovery strategies to increase probability of project success leveraging discovery innovation both within and outside of Pfizer.
  • Builds deep competitive intelligence around targets and leverages this knowledge to develop preclinical and clinical differentiation strategies to support the business units' case for investment.
  • Coordinates (and may author) key regulatory submission documents (IND, Investigator's Brochure (IB), position paper, response letters, etc.) needed to support candidate development.
  • Liaises with Research and Commercial Leadership Teams (LTs) to ensure smooth project transitions, as appropriate, and alignment on the project objectives and deliverables.
  • Ensures smooth handover of project to Global Product Development partner at POC.
  • Acts as point of contact and project representative to governance and other decision-making bodies, including information dissemination and the resolution of critical project issues.
  • Recommends and enacts the right level of early project investment at risk (particularly Drug Safety Research & Development (DSRD), Pharm Sci and Clinical) to enable smooth progression to POC for the "right" projects.
  • Outward facing, knowing the project competition and learning/applying best practice from the external environment.
  • Partners with lines to prioritize and resolve resourcing issues in constrained areas leveraging additional line expertise when appropriate to achieve the team goals.
  • Captures learnings as project continues or ends.
  • Contributes to RPL community through sharing best-practice and may mentor and coach other Project Leaders as required.
  • Creates, leads and delivers continuous improvement of the Research process and improves productivity within each phase.
  • Creates a motivated, committed and engaged project team; models and expects effective team behavior to achieve project goals.
  • Is a credible, enthusiastic project champion AND an objective project critic.


Candidate demonstrates a breadth of diverse leadership experiences and capabilities including: the ability to influence and collaborate with peers, develop and coach others, oversee and guide the work of other colleagues to achieve meaningful outcomes and create business impact.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Medicine (MD) or equivalent expertise in pharmaceutical environment.
  • Training obtained on-the-job in the Research environment, including matrix team leadership, negotiation skills, and other leadership disciplines.
  • Prior knowledge and experience in drug development.

  • Experience with both small and large molecule drug discovery programs, including gene therapy.
  • The successful candidate will bea well-organized, creative, independent, self-motivated individual with exceptional written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrate Pfizer business and scientific acumen; strong project management and multi-tasking skills; ability to respond to tight timelines; proven capability to interact with all levels of the organization in a professional manner.
  • Robust understanding of biopharmaceutical industry, R&D processes, and the external and internal business environment.
  • Experienced in communicating and interacting with senior internal and external stakeholders.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, organizational maturity and ability to develop a network of trusted relationships with peers and other stakeholders.
  • Possess a high energy level, sense of urgency, creativity, decisiveness, ability to work hard and well under pressure.
  • Demonstrated ability to influence without hierarchy across the organization.
  • Commitment to leadership, diversity and talent development.
  • Ability to work effectively across interfaces and to navigate a complex matrixed organization.

Other Job Details:
  • Last Date to Apply for Job: March 31, 2021
  • Eligible for Relocation Package: YES
  • Eligible for Employee Referral Bonus: YES

Sunshine Act

Pfizer reports payments and other transfers of value to health care providers as required by federal and state transparency laws and implementing regulations. These laws and regulations require Pfizer to provide government agencies with information such as a health care provider's name, address and the type of payments or other value received, generally for public disclosure. Subject to further legal review and statutory or regulatory clarification, which Pfizer intends to pursue, reimbursement of recruiting expenses for licensed physicians may constitute a reportable transfer of value under the federal transparency law commonly known as the Sunshine Act. Therefore, if you are a licensed physician who incurs recruiting expenses as a result of interviewing with Pfizer that we pay or reimburse, your name, address and the amount of payments made currently will be reported to the government. If you have questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact your Talent Acquisition representative.

EEO & Employment Eligibility

Pfizer is committed to equal opportunity in the terms and conditions of employment for all employees and job applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or gender expression, national origin, disability or veteran status. Pfizer also complies with all applicable national, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act and IRCA. Pfizer is an E-Verify employer.

Research and Development


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