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Senior Director, Cell Therapy Research

Gaithersburg, MD, USA | Kite Pharma

  • Industry:
    Pharmaceutical / Biotech
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
  • Experience:
    10-12 years
Job Description:
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Job Description

Kite, a Gilead Company, is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel cancer immunotherapy products designed to harness the power of a patient’s own immune system to selectively target and kill cancer cells. Our core technology involves the genetic engineering of T cells, or white blood cells, to express either chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or T cell receptors (TCRs) for the treatment of advanced solid and hematological malignancies. We are on a rapid growth trajectory and have a highly energized and accomplished team.

Everyone at Kite is grounded by one common goal – curing cancer. Every single day, we seek to establish a direct line between that purpose and our day-to-day work. Would you like to join us in this mission?

We are seeking a highly motivated individual to join our team as Senior Director, Cell Therapy Research at our new research and clinical production facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The facility focuses on the development of novel T cell therapies targeting tumor mutations (neoantigens). Working with the Neoantigen Research Team and reporting to the global head of research, the individual will lead experimental work in the context of developing novel T cell therapies.


Specifically, you will be responsible for defining, growing and leading the research department of the Kite Gaithersburg Maryland site. This will include defining and executing the strategy of cell therapy research including representing the Maryland site as a member of the overarching Cell Therapy Research Leadership Team. You will be responsible for prioritizing the allocation of resources and overseeing the continued excellence of the scientific infrastructure required to support this research organization. Additionally, you will play a meaningful role in key corporate initiatives including strategic partnering and business development activities as they relate to this therapeutic area.

You should consider this opportunity if you have the following areas of expertise:

Cellular and molecular biology

Adoptive cellular therapies

Cellular immunology

Cell engineering (viral and non-viral vectors)

Translational medicine development

To be successful in this position, you should be a builder, one who has the capability of leading at high levels, participating at the executive level, yet still retaining the scientific expertise to be a subject matter expertise in cell engineering to provide support at the scientific strategy and execution levels on the occasions this is needed.

The following are important components of this role:

You will provide strategic and technical, molecular immunology/ T cell biology and molecular biology leadership and definition

You will lead the establishment of methods to characterize and understand the impact of cell engineering steps on the genome, biology and function of CAR-T cell products

You will build an environment and culture focused on product safety and efficacy

You will own the establishment of methods to characterize and understand the impact of donor-to-donor variability on engineered CAR-T product genotype and phenotype with regard to safety

You will own the establishment of programs to identify relevant biomarkers for desired CAR-T potency and safety characteristics and to demonstrate product consistency

You will lead relevant and impactful innovation programs internally and external collaborations to improve CAR-T characterization technologies and work-processes, aligned with emerging business drivers and Regulatory expectations

You will demonstrate strong leadership, personal accountability and interpersonal skills, and capability for mentoring (direct reports and others)

Present data / strategy to scientists and management in internal and external venues (technical meetings, Project Team meetings, conferences) and publish in peer-reviewed journals, as appropriate

Maintain familiarity with the relevant current literature and its application to CAR-T characterization and understanding


PhD degree in Immunology / Molecular Biology with 10+ years of post-graduate experience in relevant roles in academia/ industry, in the development of methods/ tools for investigation and characterization of T cell genotype, phenotype and function

6+ years managing, leading, building teams and organizations successfully to the fruition of the goals and objectives set forth for the company, the people in the company, and the patient

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