Institute Group Leader

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Closing date
Oct 3, 2022

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Health Sciences
Organization Type
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center aims to eliminate cancer in Texas, the nation, and the world, through outstanding programs that integrate patient care, research, and prevention, and through education for undergraduate and graduate students, trainees, professionals, employees, and the public.

MD Anderson Therapeutics Discovery Division

Within The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center lies the Therapeutics Discovery Division (TDD), a powerful engine driving the future of new targeted, immune- and cell-based therapies. Therapeutics Discovery eliminates the bottlenecks that hamper traditional drug discovery by employing a multidisciplinary team of dedicated researchers, doctors, drug developers, and scientific experts working together to develop small-molecule drugs, biologics, and cellular therapies. Our unique structure and collaborative approach allow the team to work with agility, bringing novel medicines from concept to clinic quickly and efficiently - all under the same roof.

The TRACTION platform

The Translational Research to AdvanCe Therapeutics and Innovation in ONcology (TRACTION) platform is an industrialized translational research group that aligns world-class drug discovery and development with highly innovative the science and clinical care research, for which MD Anderson Cancer Center is known. Through an investment in patient-centric research, we have developed the infrastructure, platforms, and capabilities to enable transformative research. TRACTION's approach combines innovative cancer genetics, disruptive technologies, deep mechanistic biology, disease modeling, and pharmacology to accelerate the translation of novel discoveries into definitive clinical hypotheses. By partnering with the drug discovery engines within Therapeutics Discovery, we aim to advance a portfolio of small molecules, biologics, and cell therapies for our patients. We work in a fast-paced, milestone-driven environment with a focus on team science and interdisciplinary research. Our unique approach has created a biotech-like engine within the walls of the nation's leading cancer center to bring life-saving medicines to our patients more quickly and effectively.

Position Summary

We are currently seeking a highly motivated and talented Group Leader of Drug Discovery Biology. This individual will be a key team member in the organization co-leading cross functional teams to advance projects from target validation through preclinical development to clinical proof-of-concept studies, in collaboration with MD Anderson researchers. The ideal candidate should have deep knowledge of cancer biology, strong translational science skills, and a proven track record of successfully leading multi-disciplinary small molecule teams from target validation through early clinical development in a biotech or pharmaceutical environment. Building on our unique model of drug discovery, the group leader will work closely with academic and clinical collaborators to integrate innovative biology with clinical research data to position drug candidates for clinical success. As a member of our R&D leadership team, this individual will play an essential project leadership role and will be empowered to provide strategic input to guide portfolio management decisions.

By joining the Therapeutics Discovery Division, you have the opportunity to use your talents to make a direct impact on the lives of our patients. Join us, and lead our next program from concept to clinic.

  1. Apply expert knowledge of tumor biology in areas such as immune oncology, oncogenic signaling, metabolism, epigenetics and/or DNA damage to enable progression of innovative drug candidates into the clinic through leadership and collaborative experimental activities.
  1. Oversee, lead, and manage multiple cross-functional research drug development and/or translational biology programs to enable corporate partnership(s).
  1. Lead collaborations with computational biologists using patient-centric -omic databases to enable translational biology hypothesis generation and design studies for validation in clinically relevant contexts.
  1. Oversee others in the design, execution, analysis and interpretation of in vitro , ex vivo and in vivo experiments supporting the development of compounds entering the clinic or in early clinical studies, including: (i) develop patient stratification strategies, (ii) identify mechanisms of tumorigenesis and drug resistance, and (iii) design and validate drug combination strategies and biomarkers to establish proof of biology.
  1. Lead target and translational biology efforts on multiple drug discovery projects, leveraging resources from cross functional areas, to deliver compelling translational data sets to advance drug discovery programs into clinical proof-of-concept trials in distinct patient populations.
  1. Serve a leadership role, providing strategic insight to influence TRACTION's portfolio strategy.
  1. Plan and execute the translational research strategy for one or more targets, inform on target mechanism of action, and explore translational hypotheses.
  1. Apply knowledge of pharmacology and biomarker development to enable in vivo assessment of chemical matter and establish pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and efficacy relationships.
  1. Coordinate, direct and lead a team of successful internal scientists, and collaborative relationships and alliances with internal and external partners to drive innovation and influence the TRACTION's portfolio.
  1. Resource projects in a flexible manner, including efficient use of outsourcing.
  1. Secure the intellectual property rights, including drafting of patent applications.
  1. Complete the necessary documentation for IND- and other regulatory filing, and for any due diligence or licensing activities.
  1. Represent the Therapeutics Discovery Division externally through presentations at key National/International meetings.
  1. Proactively identify, evaluate and implement novel technologies to support translational activities.
  1. Supervise, mentor, and professionally develop a team of dedicated research and associate scientists.

Required: PhD in one of the natural sciences or related field or Medical degree.

Required: Seven years experience of relevant research experience in laboratory to include three years of supervisory or managerial experience. Successful completion of the LEADing Self Accelerate program may substitute for one year of required supervisory or management experience.

Preferred: 4 years of relevant research and management experience beyond post-doctoral research maintaining hands-on experience.

1. Demonstrated ability to lead multidisciplinary project teams, with experience advancing small molecule assets through discovery into clinical development.
2. Experienced manager of people and projects including demonstrated ability to grow new leaders and delegate key projects appropriately.
3. Extensive knowledge in cancer biology including cell signaling, metabolism, epigenetics, and immune-oncology.
4. Deep understanding of preclinical PK/PD/efficacy relationships as they relate to small molecule drug discovery in oncology; translation of findings to the clinic.
5. Knowledge of preclinical and clinical biomarker discovery and development.
6. Demonstrated ability to function efficiently in a multi-disciplinary team environment
7. Evidence of independent thinking and leadership skills are vital. Ability to work well under pressure and drive projects that impact critical timelines is essential
8. Outstanding written and oral communication and negotiation skills are essential
9. Strong leader with focus and drive to succeed

Required: Must pass pre-employment skills test as required and administered by Human Resources.

It is the policy of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to provide equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or any other basis protected by institutional policy or by federal, state or local laws unless such distinction is required by law.

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