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Head of R&D Strategic Planning & Operations

Date: Nov 25, 2018

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 R&D Operations, will be responsible for a broad range of activities in support of the President and Head of R&D and the R&D function

The incumbent will drive integrated planning, continued process improvement and operational excellence to meet our growth objectives, including research and development strategic planning, resource planning, space planning and change management efforts to enable the smooth functioning of the R&D organization. 

This position requires a leader who is an expert communicator, accountable project manager and successful relationship builder across the enterprise.

Working as the “right hand” to the President and Head of R&D, this is a highly strategic and facilitative role that requires a combination of collaboration and focus on execution, as well as a willingness to play an active, behind-the-scenes role. 


30%       R&D Governance & Decision Support –

  • Supports the planning of meetings to facilitate cross-functional alignment and decision making within the R&D function including R&D Leadership Team Meetings, Program Update Meetings; collaborates closely with President and Head of R&D, CSO and CMO to develop agendas, supporting materials, follow-up on actions
  • Collaborates with other functions to ensure that R&D strategy and forums are aligned with broader corporate priorities including the timing and preparation of content for the Science and Technology Committee of the BOD, as well as the Spark Scientific Advisory Board

30%       R&D Communications –

  • Work cross functionally to support R&D subject matter experts in the tracking of, development, and disclosure review for external presentations, both written and oral for scientific meetings, congresses and publications
  • Works closely with the President and Head of R&D, CSO and CMO to arrange scientific seminar days and scientific lunch and learns
  • Either directly or through the R&D Communications Specialist, provides support for external congresses for pre-approved products: Advisory Boards, KOL interactions
  • Either directly or through the R&D Communications Specialist, provides scientific content for the R&D intranet page on Spark Space including disclosure reviews for external congresses in areas without a medical affairs publication strategy (i.e. pre POC or technology platforms)
  • Leads the preparation of internal communication meetings such as R&D All Hands
  • Work cross functionally to support R&D Investor Day events as applicable

15%       R&D strategic planning, budget and resources -

  • Establishes and facilitates the process for long range and short range planning within the R&D function which includes understanding the portfolio status and assumptions, implications on budget, human capital and space
  • Serves as a main point of contact for Finance and HR to facilitate the completion and tracking of the R&D budget and resources in alignment with portfolio decisions
  • Uses knowledge of resource needs to coordinate space planning and move coordination in close collaboration with Facilities, including identification of business critical R&D activities that require careful move planning and mitigation to avoid disruption of programs

15%       R&D process design and implementation –

  • Either directly or through the R&D Operations Project Manager provides process and project management for translational lab (i.e. LIMS, sample management, vector core ordering and tracking)
  • Process management for other functions within R&D as needed


  • Provides leadership to R&D Operations team members including managing performance, developing people, hiring and integrating new team members and fostering Spark’s culture, mission, vision and values. 


•            Ability to lead cross-functional teams and driving key initiatives   from concept to execution in partnership with senior executives.

•            Demonstrated ability to influence executive leadership on complex business topics where a high level of uncertainty and ambiguity exist

•            Ability to collaborate at all levels of the organization; open, honest and inclusive communication style that establishes sustainable relationships

•            Demonstrated ability to establish and manage business planning processes and synthesize a variety of complex inputs into a comprehensive plan

•            Well-developed project management skills with a track record of managing and delivering complex projects on time and on budget in a fast-paced environment


•            Undergraduate degree required, Master’s degree preferred (scientific or clinical field of study preferred)

•            Generally has 15+ years of experience in life sciences

•            Experience working across diverse functional areas, typically gained through operating in a project management capacity or as a strategy/management consultant

•            Experience in the gene therapy field, ideally in a clinical or research position is preferred

•            Experienced in tracking departmental financials, budget planning & adherence, investment expenditures and expense controls preferred

Nearest Major Market: Philadelphia

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