Head of Discovery

Location: South San Francisco, CA

Department: Second Genome

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Senior Manager/Supervisor

About Second Genome

Understanding the conversation taking place between our bodies and the millions of bacteria residing within the gut is key to unlocking profound insights to human health and disease. Second Genome is pioneering the effort to translate microbiome science into novel therapeutics that significantly improve the standard of care for patients with inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic disease. At the frontier of scientific discovery, Second Genome is a clinical stage, venture capital backed company with a proprietary Microbiome Discovery Platform that integrates microbiome and host biology for the identification of novel targets and drugs. With its lead drug candidate, SGM-1019, successfully completing a Phase I clinical trial, Second Genome is at the breakthrough of addressing a critical unmet need in IBD treatment.

Position overview

• Drawing on years of expertise in basic research and target validation, combined with early stage drug development, the incumbent will manage and set strategic direction for the in vivo and in vitro biology and early development efforts at Second Genome by leading an experienced group of biologists, with deep knowledge of physiology, molecular and cell biology, microbiology and immunology, who focus on translational disease models in immunology, metabolism and other emerging areas of interest.

• Develop detailed and strategic preclinical and clinical development plans for drug candidates from the initial concept to clinic, assessing risk and probabilities of success of possible courses of action, with impact across R&D. Decisions affect clinical direction for years and impact R&D success and spending.

• Deep expertise in immune system targeting drugs in preclinical and early clinical development.

• Responsible for highly innovative approaches utilizing significant depth of knowledge in diverse scientific principles and disease areas.


Key responsibilities

Management responsibilities

• Manage the target identification/validation and biology department at Second Genome while attracting, training and retaining the top talent.

• Set strategic scientific direction as member of the Second Genome R&D management.

• Responsible for resource budgeting and delivery of discovery organization goals.

Technical responsibilities

• Oversee multiple, complex projects working closely with Bioinformatics and Protein Engineering groups at Second Genome.

• Provide direction and guidance on scientific projects, drawing from extensive experience in broad areas of biology and therapeutic areas.

• Provide scientific rationale, guidance and leadership for preclinical and clinical drug candidates on multiple drug development teams.

• Present data packages relating to scientific programs and candidate molecules to various internal and external stakeholders. 

• Publish scientific reports, manuscripts and patents to protect proprietary technologies and establish Second Genome’s scientific reputation.

External interface responsibilities

• Interface with clinical teams, external key opinion leaders and regulatory agencies on data packages supporting preclinical and IND/clinical candidates.

• Interface with academic and pharma collaborators.

• Assist the project leaders and scientists to interact with key academic opinion leaders to establish critical collaboration and program input.



• PhD, MD, or MD.PhD in life sciences

• 15+ year’s experience post-PhD in a Pharmaceutical or Biotech setting leading scientific projects and teams.

• Extensive depth and breadth of understanding in physiology, molecular and cellular biology, and drug development with experience in a broad range of therapeutic areas (immune related areas highly desirable)

• At least 8 years of prior supervisory experience of large teams.


Preferred Experience

• Deep understanding of customers and stakeholders.

• Ability to build relationships by developing positive, collaborative partnerships that drive sustainable business results.

• Understanding of related disciplines (e.g. biostatistics, regulatory, pre-clinical pharmacology, drug safety and pharmaceutical sciences).

• Demonstrated scientific productivity (publications, abstracts, etc.).

• Ability to lead in a matrix team environment.

• Understanding of drug development in the context of commercial development and market need analysis.

• Experience with fundraising and understanding of principles related to evaluating business deal structures including commercial collaborations, acquisitions, and divestitures.

• Experience in budgetary management and decision making.

• Demonstrated effectiveness in people management, communication and team member development.

• Demonstrated effective negotiating and influencing skills with interpersonal, leadership, and team player skills.

• Exceptional verbal and written communication and presentation skills.

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