Senior Biology Director, Novel Human Genetics

Collegeville, PA
March 11 2021
Organization Type
At GSK, we are a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, and live longer. Our pharmaceuticals business has a broad portfolio of innovative and established medicines, and we are strengthening our R&D pipeline through focus on human genetics, immunology, and technologies to help us deliver transformational new medicines for patients. Join us and put your talent to work!

The Novel Human Genetics Research Unit (NHG RU) is focused on the identification and progression of novel targets with genetic association to disease based on the foundational observation that targets with human genetic evidence supporting their causal role in the intended indication improves clinical success by two-fold. We have therapeutic breadth and depth with a portfolio that includes targets in cardiometabolic / renal diseases and neurology indications and ranges from target validation to clinical proof of mechanism studies. Integral to the growth of our early portfolio is our strong partnership with 23andMe, which provides a tremendous opportunity for the identification and selection of novel, genetically-associated targets for drug discovery.

As Biology Senior Director in the NHG RU, you will assume immediate responsibility for leading, mentoring, and developing a talented and experienced 25-person team, including 5 direct reports. Your scientific expertise and drug development experience will help guide and shape our focus across multiple therapeutic areas (specifically looking for expertise in cardiometabolic diseases) and modalities all grounded with a clear genetic connection. You will oversee a portfolio of targets with genetic association to a first indication, with a subset of targets being advanced jointly with 23andMe.


  • Manage a multidisciplinary scientific biology team supporting diverse activities within the NHG RU ranging target identification based on genetics, functional genomics, and preclinical progression of targets in disease areas that may include cardiometabolic/renal diseases, fibrosis and others.
  • Oversee a portfolio of projects from conception to candidate selection and beyond by defining the critical path, timelines, Go/No Go decision points, and determining resource-requirements.
  • Accelerate progress in drug discovery programs through effective utilization of interpersonal skills while working with key stakeholders within (genetics, biology, chemistry, DMPK, safety, clinical) and outside (e.g. CROs, biotech partners, academic investigators) GSK.
  • Ensure inflection-point driven research, data quality and data integrity.
  • Identify and highlight transformational opportunities in drug discovery programs to overcome challenges with current approaches.
  • Manage and mentor a group of senior and junior scientists (~25).
  • Support technical and leadership development of staff via mentoring and coaching.
  • Prioritize activities and manage biology resources to ensure robust progress toward, and achievement of, NHG RU objectives.
  • Be part of the leadership team to define and execute the drug discovery strategy for the group.
  • Be a subject matter expert in one or more disease areas outside of oncology (e.g., cardiovascular, metabolic, renal, or fibrosis).
  • Be a creative, independent thinker and idea generator to identify emerging areas of science/drug discovery opportunities and help triage and prioritize opportunities in collaboration with various partners.
  • Identify and highlight transformational opportunities in drug discovery programs to overcome challenges with current approaches.
  • Be an effective communicator at daily work in writing documents and in presentations.
  • Follow SOPs, policies, and provide oversight in internal and external studies to assure compliance and integrity.
  • Work as an inspiring, influential and highly respected leader to promote scientific excellence and advancement.
  • Be a strong ambassador for GSK to influence potential external partners.

Why you?

Basic Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree (PhD or MD/PhD) with current knowledge in cardiovascular, metabolic and/or renal diseases across both preclinical and early clinical development.
  • Experience in drug discovery including target identification, validation, lead optimization, preclinical candidate selection, and translation into first time in human (FTIH) trials for small and/or large molecules.
  • Experience in making decisions around the progression of novel targets and molecules (both internal and due diligence opportunities) by integrating biology with clinical need and feasibility, competition, commercial opportunity, and return on investment.
  • Experience in taking genetic hypotheses into functional genomics studies (single and multiple genes) for target validation.
  • Experience with leading and developing a team of biologists with a breadth in skills (such as molecular/cell biology, biochemistry, gene editing, cell culture, iPSC differentiation, in vivo model systems, and in vitro/ex vivo translational studies) and across multiple projects.
  • Experience in planning and managing budget and resources.

Preferred Qualifications:

If you have the following characteristics, it would be a plus:
  • Capable of multi-tasking but with attention to detail, working on multiple projects in different phases of research, and delivering on objectives on time/on budget.
  • Ability to inspire and motivate a group of biologists, line and project leaders for optimum performance; strong self-motivation.
  • Strong influencing skills and resourcefulness to facilitate collaboration across the organization.
  • Highly effective in both written and verbal communications for relevant internal and external decision-making bodies.
  • Established CRO network.
  • Broad experience in working with academics, biotechs, and CROs.
  • Experience in oligonucleotide therapies.
  • Working knowledge of GWAS, PheWAS, statistical genetics, MR, polygenic risk scores, gene signatures.

Why GSK?

Our values and expectationsare at the heart of everything we do and form an important part of our culture. These include Patient focus, Transparency, Respect, Integrity along with Courage, Accountability, Development, and Teamwork. As GSK focuses on our values and expectations and a culture of innovation, performance, and trust, the successful candidate will demonstrate the following capabilities:
  • Agile and distributed decision-making - using evidence and applying judgement to balance pace, rigor and risk, governance and control, managing ambiguity and paradox.
  • Managing individual performance.
  • Creating a performance culture and driving results, prioritization, execution, delivering performance.
  • Setting strategic direction and leading on-going organizational transformation.
  • Building a resilient organization.
  • Building strong relationships and collaboration in service of common goals, engaging the organization and building trusted external networks for mutual benefit.
  • Managing P&L and capital allocation.


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