The Translational Sciences and Companion Diagnostics team is seeking an experienced scientist to develop and lead the execution of translational strategy for liver-directed gene therapy programs at Spark.
The Translational Science lead for liver-directed programs will serve on Compound Development Teams for pre-clinical stage programs and on Non-Clinical Study Teams for clinical stage programs. The overall goal is to advance our understanding of the vector, the platform, anti-vector immune responses, and disease biomarkers, using learnings in phase 1/2 to optimize phase 3 designs and apply knowledge from all clinical trials back to the pre-portfolio and early pipeline. Areas of translational discovery include mechanisms of action, patient enrichment strategies, novel endpoints, and potential new indications. For programs where a clear patient selection strategy is established, the translational science lead will also be responsible for partnering externally to develop companion diagnostic assays in support of clinical development, launch and life cycle management.
Towards these ends, the lead will oversee the development of translational plans for clinical and relevant preclinical research programs. This will include formulating the scientific and clinical rationales, assays, and translational aspects of clinical protocol design and execution. In addition to learning from individual clinical studies, the Translational Science lead will spearhead efforts to integrate learning across programs. Operational responsibilities include oversight of data generation, analysis, and data sharing. To achieve these aims, the lead will need to establish strong connections with internal functional groups across the organization, particularly with the Research Therapeutic Areas, Clinical Development teams, Data Sciences, and Biometrics. External collaborations will also be essential to access expertise in disease biology and biomarker technology.
Job Function and Description
- Develop and implement the translation biomarker strategies for liver-directed assets, participating in the Compound Development Team and Non-Clinical Study Team.
- Serve as a strategic lead for translational science, bridging Clinical and Research groups to reach consensus on the key translational goals and their priorities, both for that program and for the platform/portfolio.
- Define the assays and samples needed to address the key goals.
- Coordinate with Bioanalytics and Therapeutic Areas on new assay development as needed.
- Lead the development of analysis plans, working with Data Sciences, Bioanalytics, and Therapeutic Areas to define the required data elements, the statistical approach, and data visualizations.
- Coordinate the analysis and sharing of translational results with Non-Clinical Study Teams, Asset Teams, and to wider audiences internally and externally.
- Propose cross-study meta-analyses to increase the statistical power of testing platform-based hypotheses.
- Interact with internal and external experts and CROs to ensure that Spark can bring state-of-the-art technology and analysis to our translational plans.
- Make recommendations regarding external collaborations, vendors, and in-house technology as needed to support the translational goals.
Education and Experience Requirements
- Contribute to the biomarker sections for clinical protocols, investigator brochures, clinical study reports, licensing applications, and other regulatory documents.
PhD or MD/PhD in molecular biology, immunology, or related field with a minimum of 12+ years of relevant experience in translational research and/or clinical trial experience, preferably in an industry setting. Statistical and computational biology experience are a major plus.
Key Skills, Abilities, and Competencies
Experience with clinical immunogenicity of therapeutics and / or gene therapy is a plus
Familiarity with techniques frequently used in Spark translational research, such as antibody-based protein detection and quantitation (eg, ELISA, ECL, MSD), ELISpot, flow cytometry, IHC/IF, qPCR.
Excellent written and oral presentation skills.
Experience working with matrixed teams and project management preferred.
Complexity and Problem Solving
Decision-making will be necessary to:
- Identify and prioritize scientific questions/hypotheses and the associated assays and analysis plans, balancing them with operational considerations within clinical trials.
Internal and External Contacts
- Advise teams on internal vs external data generation and for the latter, the selection of vendor/collaborator
- Provide a portfolio-level perspective to teams to achieve goals beyond those of individual programs.
CDT and NCST leads
Therapeutic area representatives/partners
Data science representatives/partners
Please be aware that Spark mandates COVID-19 vaccination of all employees regardless of work location. Accommodations may be made in accordance with applicable law.
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We were born of innovation, springing from the curiosity, imagination and dedication of remarkable scientists and healthcare visionaries. Our shared mission is to challenge the inevitability of genetic disease by discovering, developing, and delivering treatments in ways unimaginable - until now.
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