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Senior Counsel - Research & Development

Date: Jan 8, 2022

Location: Philadelphia, PA, US, 19104

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.





Spark Therapeutics is a fully integrated, commercial gene therapy company dedicated to challenging the inevitability of genetic disease.  We are looking for an experienced attorney to join our legal team and support the research and development of gene therapies with our external and internal business partners.  Ideal candidates will have demonstrated experience structuring, drafting, and negotiating life sciences transactions in a broad range of transactional matters, including licensing agreements, joint ventures, research collaborations, and clinical trial agreements.  Experience supporting Business Development and Research and Development organizations in the discovery, research, and early development of novel therapeutic and combination products is preferred.  This opportunity is for applicants who enjoy working on innovative technologies in a collaborative and collegial environment.


As a dedicated strategic partner, the Senior Counsel will:

•             Provide legal advice and counsel to support our strategic collaborations with external partners; including working closely with our Business Development and/or Alliance Management organizations to structure, draft, and support negotiations for licensing agreements, joint ventures, and research collaborations focused on a particular target, gene therapy, delivery system, diagnostic, technology, platform, or other drug discovery modality.

•             Provide legal advice and counsel to support the early research and development of gene therapies; including working closely with our Research and Development organization to interpret, draft, and provide general legal advice on pre-clinical and clinical study-related agreements, clinical data transfer agreements, material transfer agreements, and licensing agreements with academic institutions and strategic partners.

•             Partner with attorneys within the legal function and collaborate with cross-functional representatives of Research and Development, Clinical Development, Medical Affairs, and Regulatory Affairs, to provide legal advice and support scientific and business objectives for research and development assets.

•             Coordinate with contract professionals in the review and drafting of certain templates and fallback provisions for supporting agreements including CDAs, MSAs, MTAs, service agreements, purchase agreements, and consulting agreements.

•             Partner with members of the Legal and Compliance Departments to ensure consistency in approach across areas of the overall business and provide support for areas outside of their primary areas of responsibility as needed.

The Senior Counsel may also represent the Spark Legal on various committees and teams that are convened by stakeholders or support additional special projects as may be requested by those functions and the Associate General Counsel or General Counsel.





40%        Business Development Support:  Provide legal advice and counsel to support our strategic collaborations with external partners, including structuring, drafting, and supporting negotiations for new and established relationships.

40%        Research and Development Support:  Provide legal advice and counsel to support early research and clinical development of gene therapies including interpreting, drafting, and providing general legal advice for pre-clinical and clinical research activities.

20%        Support legal department initiatives and projects in furtherance of the growth, innovation and culture of the department and organization.



Education and Experience Requirements


•             JD or equivalent from an accredited law school.

•             Minimum of 7 years of experience at a national law firm or relevant in-house experience with a major pharmaceutical, biotechnology, clinical research organization or experience prior to receiving a JD will also be considered

•             Bar membership in good standing and licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or licensed to practice law in another jurisdiction and holding or qualified to hold a Pennsylvania Limited In-House Corporate License.

•             Undergraduate Degree from an accredited college or university.

•             Significant transactional experience, including drafting and negotiating a wide variety of agreements and the ability to influence and work collaboratively in a cross-functional setting with innovative technologies.

•             Broad knowledge of the laws and regulations governing the pharmaceutical industry, with expertise in laws relating to the research and development of therapeutic products including, human subject protections, data privacy and information security laws, federal and state transparency laws, fraud and abuse, and regulations and guidance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other global health authorities relating to clinical trials and regulatory interactions.

•             Ability to build credibility and communicate effectively with individuals and teams in Spark functions and to inspire confidence and support for legal department initiatives. 



Key Skills, Abilities, and Competencies


•             Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills.

•             Strong collaboration, critical thinking, and negotiation skills to influence cross-functional teams.

•             Proven experience building and cultivating relationships with key partners and stakeholders across the organization.

•             Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment and successfully manage multiple deadlines.

•             Abiding interest in and knowledge of the burgeoning gene therapy industry.


Complexity and Problem Solving



•             Skilled attorney with desire for continuous learning and ability to serve and manage a variety of projects

•             Collaborative and pragmatic advisor with ability to exercise independent judgement, and identify scientific, business, or legal issues for internal escalation and decision-making.

•             Experienced advisor with the ability to work independently and proactively to develop creative solutions 


Internal and External Contacts


The job is accountable to the Associate General Counsel, Research & Development and to the General Counsel.  Contacts will primarily include members of the Research, Business Development, Research and Development, Clinical Development, Medical Affairs, and Regulatory Affairs, as well as Legal Department team members, Corporate Compliance, external law firms and third-party service providers and external vendors.


Please be aware that Spark mandates COVID-19 vaccination of all employees regardless of work location.  Accommodations may be made in accordance with applicable law.

Nearest Major Market: Philadelphia