Executive Director – General Medical Biology, Novartis - GNF

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Executive Director – General Medical Biology, Novartis - GNF

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This position offers a unique opportunity to build upon 20+ years of drug discovery at GNF, which has resulted in 4 FDA approved drugs, 15 current clinical candidates, and over 400 patents. The Executive Director of General Medical Biology devises scientific strategies and leads activities in drug discovery pertaining to GNF’s programs across all disease areas outside oncology, with special emphasis on regenerative medicine and tissue repair.

The chosen candidate will be responsible for GNF’s core capabilities in cardiovascular, hepatic, musculoskeletal, renal, and respiratory disease biology, leading to the discovery of novel drug candidates that are selected for entry into Novartis-sponsored human clinical trials.

This position reports directly to the Institute Director of GNF. The chosen candidate will lead a talented cross-functional team that includes biologists, bioinformaticians, protein scientists, pharmacologists, and histopathologists. She/he will work closely with other drug discovery functions at GNF, including medicinal chemistry, biotherapeutics, engineering, pharmacokinetics, and translational research. Key to success is having an innovative, strategic mindset to devise and pursue state-of-the-art therapeutic approaches, with emphasis on collaborative interactions both within GNF and with colleagues across the various disease areas and corresponding translational medicine groups in the broader organization of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). She/he also serves as a member of GNF’s Project Review Committee and Strategy Council to guide tactics and strategy, respectively, for management of the drug discovery portfolio.

Responsibilities include:

Organizational leadership
• Has responsibility for all aspects of programs in General Medical Biology initiated at GNF
• Develops and leads innovative scientific strategies in drug discovery
• Prioritizes resources to ensure success from conception through handoff of pre-clinical drug candidates
• Serves as a member of the GNF leadership team to assess projects and set strategy for the Institute’s entire research portfolio
• Defines and manages collaborations within Novartis and with external partners

Research team leadership
• Facilitates discovery and validation of novel therapeutic targets
• Pursues both small molecule and biotherapeutic approaches, including complex modalities such as prodrugs, antibody-drug conjugates, and engineered proteins
• Fosters collaborative interactions with GNF colleagues in assay development, high-throughput screening, data science, medicinal chemistry, protein engineering, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and translational research
• Works closely and effectively with colleagues across multiple disease areas within NIBR to ensure that GNF drug discovery projects are aligned with potential clinical applications

Human resources planning & management
• Leads a large multidisciplinary team covering various areas of human pathophysiology
• Directly manages a leadership team of senior scientists within General Medical Biology
• Mentors scientific and support staff across the Institute

Financial planning & management
• Manages a multi-million dollar annual budget
• Participates in resource allocation decisions for GNF as a whole

Ideal background
Education: M.D. and/or Ph.D.; extensive experience within the biomolecular sciences and familiarity with small molecule and protein therapeutics
Experience: 15+ years of broad scientific leadership experience in biotechnology and/or biopharma

The Novartis Group of Companies are Equal Opportunity Employers and take pride in maintaining a diverse environment. We do not discriminate in recruitment, hiring, training, promotion or any other employment practices for reasons of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, marital or veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected status.



Business Unit





San Diego, CA

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Functional Area

Research & Development

Job Type

Full Time

Employment Type


Shift Work