Director/Senior Director, Program Management« Back


Job #:03-228

Job Title: Director/Senior Director, Program Management

Location: Waltham, MA

Reports to: Chief Business Officer

Deciphera Pharmaceuticals
We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing new drugs to improve the lives of patients with cancer by addressing key mechanisms of tumor resistance that limit the effectiveness of many cancer therapies.

Kinases in Cancer
Kinases play an important role in regulating cellular functions and the communication of cells with their environments. When dysregulated, kinases contribute to the development and progression of diseases including cancer and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Kinase inhibitors are an important class of therapeutics with over 40 kinase inhibitor drugs approved in the United States. Despite the success of kinase inhibitors as a drug class, the therapeutic potential of individual kinase inhibitors has been limited by the development of drug resistance and by poor potency and selectivity profiles experienced with some agents that can lead to off-target toxicities or diminished efficacy. In addition, currently approved kinase inhibitors target fewer than 10% of the over 500 known human kinases. We believe there is a substantial opportunity to develop novel kinase inhibitor therapies with enhanced efficacy and safety profiles.

Our Drug Discovery Engine – Kinase Switch Control Platform
Our proprietary drug discovery platform is based on our deep insight into the biology of kinases, which are regulated by control of their shape, or conformation. The transformation of a kinase from an inactive to an activated state is dependent upon the interaction of one region of the kinase called the activation switch with an area called the switch pocket; a mechanism of activation that is common among all kinases. While this activation mechanism is common among kinases, the molecular structure of the activation switch and the switch pocket varies. At Deciphera, we take advantage of this activation mechanism by engineering inhibitors that selectively bind the switch pocket, preventing activation of the kinase. By directly targeting the switch pocket, we can engineer novel kinase inhibitors that are highly selective but also broadly active against the target kinase, covering both wild-type and many or all known mutant or amplified forms. We believe no other kinase inhibitors on the market or active in clinical development directly target the switch pocket region, making Deciphera the only biopharmaceutical company that is currently developing kinase inhibitors using this approach. Our kinase switch control inhibitors interact at a molecular level in a way that is distinct from other kinase inhibitors and are designed to generate higher and more durable rates of response. Using our kinase switch control inhibitor platform, we have developed a diverse pipeline of differentiated, wholly owned, orally administered drug candidates that include three clinical-stage and two research-stage programs.

Clinical Stage Oncology Pipeline of Novel Kinase Inhibitors

Role Summary
We are seeking a Director/Senior Director, Program Management who will have responsibility for leading cross-functional program teams within a matrix environment that are engaged in the development of the company’s pipeline of novel kinase switch control inhibitors. The successful candidate may be assigned multiple programs which may vary from preclinical stage through late stage development, including projects with planned new drug applications for marketing authorizations. The role requires a strategic leader who is experienced in oncology drug development and understands the inherent process, its complexity and its interdependencies. A key component in the successful execution of this role will be cultivating strong, constructive and proactive relationships across the project management roles that exists within line functions (CMC, Regulatory Affairs, Commercial, Clinical Development, Pre-clinical Research etc.). Through the leadership and facilitation of cross-functional program teams, this role is accountable for establishing for each program a development plan, and an integrated cross-functional development strategy that includes excellence with respect to: timelines (including Gantt charts); dashboards and tools that provide transparency; budget inputs; identifying/highlighting risks and creating mitigation and/or contingency plans; and the attainment of key business goals/milestones. In addition, this individual will also support efforts to balance competing priorities within the portfolio and assure consistent standards are met across projects.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Work proactively with the cross-functional program teams to define program strategy, goals, decision points, investments and areas of risk and associated mitigations and contingencies.
  • Develop and maintain a fully integrated project plans (Gantt), incorporating activities, responsibilities, interdependencies, key resource requirements and critical path analysis that facilitate the delivery of tangible results against program and corporate goals.
  • Work closely with function-based colleagues with project management/timeline responsibilities to ensure accuracy, consistency and continuity between the integrated project plan and timelines within those key functions (e.g. commercial, regulatory, CMC, clinical, business development, research etc.).
  • Lead, direct and facilitate program teams to identify, define, prioritize and communicate risks to successful program execution; develop and monitor risk mitigation and contingency plans.
  • Drive execution of the development plan while providing visibility to progress versus timeline and alterations to risk profile.
  • Communicate effectively and timely with program team members and senior management regarding project status, timelines, milestones, key events/issues, and revision to the development plan.
  • Create agendas, minutes, materials and dashboards to support and facilitate the project team’s management and execution of the development plan.
  • Establish and implement operational mechanisms to facilitate effective and timely cross-functional communication and decision making, and successful execution of the development plan.
  • Lead data-driven decision-making processes to enable timely and objective recommendations for continuation, acceleration, reprioritization, redesign of the development plan.
  • Liaise with peers within the program management function to maintain consistent cross-project standards and to determine overlap of competing priorities.
  • Serve as an integral member of the program management function, ensuring cross-functional alignment of program strategies.
  • Develop project budget assumptions and resourcing needs; monitor, report and escalate unresolved issue and deviations in a time appropriate manner to the Portfolio Strategy Steering Committee and/or senior management.
  • Participate in Portfolio Strategy Steering Committee meetings as the key representative of the program team.

Required Qualifications:

  • B.S./M.S. degree in a life sciences discipline; advanced degree and/or MBA strongly preferred.
  • A minimum of 10 years drug development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry including a minimum of 5 years project management or equivalent experience.
  • Strong understanding of the drug development process in oncology including the strategic and operational requirements.
  • Proven track record of success in leading and managing cross-functional development teams. Prior experience managing project to NDA submission a plus.
  • Competency in developing, implementing and delivering project plans (Gannt), dashboards and risk mitigation and contingency plans to successful endpoints.
  • Self-directed, accomplishment-driven individual with a strong sense of passion and urgency who can work both independently and in a cross-functional team environment, fostering open communication, mutual understanding and cooperation.
  • Pragmatic, solution-oriented thinker who possesses a “can do” and ”whatever it takes” attitude, coupled with excellent organizational and communication skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to motivate and influence others, negotiate during situational conflict, and establish the best forward path in the face of competing points of view.
  • Proven ability to be productive and successful in an intense work environment
  • Ability to articulate complex issues and ideas with clarity to enable understanding and timely decision making.
  • Fluency with standard computer software packages (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • Expert in MS project management tool suite with experience in other project management tools or software applications a plus.

Deciphera offers competitive compensation, including equity-based compensation, and a comprehensive benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, 401(k) retirement plan, life insurance and a flexible spending account for either health care and/or dependent care.