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Head of Portfolio, Program and Alliance Management

Date: Jun 8, 2021

Location: Philadelphia, PA, US

Company: Spark Therapeutics

Join the Spark Team


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.


We don’t follow footsteps. We create the path.


The Head of Portfolio, Program and Alliance Management (PPAM) plays a key role in the leadership team of the Chief Strategy Officer, alongside the Head of Strategy and the Head of Finance. The core mission of the Head of Portfolio, Program and Alliance Management is to ensure that the company delivers on its various initiatives to advance the corporate agenda. Those include, respectively: a) pipeline product development programs across the Research, Development, Technology Operations and Commercial functions, b) capital investment and business development initiatives as well as other, more ad-hoc corporate initiatives, and c) partnerships with external partners (including Roche) in areas like co-development. To support these various activities, the scope of responsibilities also includes building and maintaining a “Center of Excellence” (CoE) capability in Program Management, including tools, templates and systems for resource planning as well as activity and outcome tracking. 

As part of this mission, the Head of PPAM will oversee a team whose leaders currently sit on the three main operating committees of the company: the Program Governance Committee (PGC) for assets in development, the Capital Projects Committee (CPC) that oversees major capital expenditure initiatives, and the Business Development Committee (BDC) that oversees all of the company’s business development activities.


Key Responsibilities


Lead and support the Portfolio and Program Management team to provide best-in-class support for Asset General Managers and Candidate Development Team leaders:

  • Ensure integrated cross-functional program plans & budgets are in place and cross-functional interactions facilitated
  • Ensure program management leads contribute a strategic perspective and identify risks and challenges and facilitate resolution
  • Provide regular updates to PGC on portfolio progress and elevate key concern through participation in PGC meeting
  • Champion and work with Team Leaders to embed new operating model and ways of working in support of high performing Teams
  • Support development and implement tools, processes, templates and best practices that can be leveraged across all assets in development – and potentially be deployed in other programs or partnerships


Leads and support the Alliance Management team to provide best-in-class Alliance Management support across the company’s current and future alliances and collaborations, including:

  • Ensure successful alliance launch and ongoing management of operational activities to enable the highest level of team performance
  • Ensure organizational alignment is maintained and operational-level conflicts are resolved quickly and efficiently
  • Track alliance progress and provide updates to Spark governance boards
  • Provide input / support into business development opportunity assessment, deal structure and supporting alliance negotiations/ renegotiations through participation on the BDC
  • Support development and refinement of the BDC governance model
  • Continue to enhance the Alliance Management operating model and build functional capabilities


Within the above, provide Alliance Management leadership for Roche engagement, including:

  • Work closely with Roche Engagement & Alliance Management Leads
  • Lead Project Management Office to track and manage all workstreams
  • Provide oversight of any corporate-level workstreams and escalates issues to Sponsors
  • Develop and implements frameworks and process to support collaborations
  • Establish and coordinate appropriate joint governance committees


Provide leadership and oversight for the team(s) leading Program Management of non-asset initiatives:

  • Build out governance model for CPC, including stage gates, decision rights, etc.
  • Provide ongoing program management support for CPC
  • Where appropriate, provide program management support for corporate-wide initiatives


Support development of a Program Management CoE team that continues to build and develop the company’s capabilities in program management, including:

  • Source and develop best-in-class tools, systems, processes that advance the company’s capabilities in program management
  • As required, provide expertise to support to program management teams supporting PGC, CPC and BDC as well as ad-hoc corporate initiatives
  • Champion change and actively participate in change management initiatives
  • Potentially) build out Program Management CoE as point-of-entry for talent to build program management capabilities for later deployment on asset, capital and business development teams
  • Manage the team to achieve business goals and objectives


Foster Spark’s Culture.  Role model the Spark Values. Create an environment where team members thrive by living our truths, always in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Emphasize to employees that “how” they achieve performance objectives is just as important as “what” they accomplish

  • Hire & Integrate.  Know what skills, experiences and capabilities are needed to achieve current and future business goals. Take an active role in attracting and selecting talent who are inspired by our Mission, Vision and Values.  Consciously create a team with diverse backgrounds, experiences, skill sets and perspectives.  Help new team members successfully integrate into Spark so they can actively contribute and add value as quickly as possible
  • Manage performance.   Ensure every team member knows what is expected of them, what it takes to be successful, and how they are progressing.  Provide team members with continuous and on-going performance feedback, holding everyone accountable to achieve results while demonstrating the Spark Values. Help team members understand how their work contributes to the overall success of Spark by continuously communicating priorities, decisions and changes; adjusting goals as needed
  • Develop people.   Understand each individual team member’s career goals. strengths and motivators.  Partner with your employees to identify areas for development, conduct coaching conversations regularly and provide guidance on ways to develop through on the job experiential learning and stretch opportunities.


Education and Experience Requirements:


  • B.A./B.S. degree required. MBA or science related graduate degree preferred
  • 15+ years life sciences (Pharmaceutical and/or biotech) industry experience required
  • Hands-on Alliance Management experience including managing complex alliances required
  • Experience working with Program Development Teams and R&D required
  • Experience managing development programs at various stages of development
  • Experience in leading cross-functional and corporate initiativesProven success in leading strategy and influencing C-suite executives
  • Gene therapy knowledge and experience working in rare diseases an advantage
  • 5+ years of people management experience required


Key Skills, Abilities, and Competencies:


  • Strong project management, analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Strong organizational skills, ability to effectively manage multiple activities and priorities
  • Strong interpersonal skills to ensure alignment across Team and Functions
  • Able to build relationships and influence across the organization and with external partners
  • Comfortable working in a team environment with a results-focused work ethic
  • Integrity and commitment to high ethical standards
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to engage credibly with internal and external stakeholders around scientific topics
  • Strong people management skills


Some travel may be required




Nearest Major Market: Philadelphia