Head of Viral Vector Research and Development

United States, Houston (Texas)

Today Lonza is a global leader in life sciences. We are more than 15,000 employees in more than 100 locations around the world. While we work in science, there’s no magic formula to how we do it. Our greatest scientific solution is talented people working together, devising ideas that help businesses to help people. In exchange, we let our people own their careers. Their ideas, big and small, genuinely improve the world. And that’s the kind of work we want to be part of.

Reporting to the Head of Cell and Gene Therapy Research and Development (CGT R&D), the Head of Viral Vector Research & Development (VV R&D) is responsible for developing and executing Lonza’s innovation strategy related to viral vector manufacturing and characterization (Adeno Associated Virus and Lentivirus based vectors). This leadership role within CGT R&D is responsible for the innovation pipeline, project definition, successful and timely execution and performance monitoring of the implemented solutions within Lonza’s contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) business. The Head of VV R&D will manage a team of 8-10 scientists, engineers and associates to develop, test and deliver leading manufacturing modalities and technologies for the viral vector CDMO business. They will work with academic and industry partners and other key opinion leaders to foster relationships and ensure Lonza stands out as a leader in innovation for gene therapy manufacturing. An important facet of this role is to strengthen and elevate Lonza’s presence in the area of Gene Therapy manufacturing through external presentations, publications and webinars.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Manage the Viral Vector R&D group (8 FTE) in Houston as well as support other groups globally in a matrix structure. Develop and maintain detailed project plans and timelines and effectively leverage Lonza’s project management tools and systems to deliver projects on time and successfully. Maintains constant emphasis on safety and ensures a safe working environment for self and others.
  • Set the strategic path for Viral Vector manufacturing by identifying differentiated technology offerings and manufacturing capabilities, defining projects to achieve this strategy and delivering with a sense of urgency.
  • Foster a strong team of scientists and engineers on par with the growth ambitions of the business and develop, mentor and motivate the team.
  • Establish strong collaborative relationships with key internal stakeholders (BU, Operations) to ensure that project design and delivery is successful and timely. Coordinate with additional support functions within Lonza such as Quality Assurance, Regulatory, Supply Chain and others to ensure project success. Support Lonza Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) client relationships as needed. Interface with clients through the CDMO organization to enable R&D technology testing.
  • Interface with and report progress to the Cell Gene Therapy Business Unit and Global Research & Development (R&D) organization. Present the viral vector innovation strategy and tactical projects to Lonza’s executive leadership and Board of Directors.
  • Effectively plan and utilize external meeting and conference participation to present Lonza’s capabilities, learn from the industry and establish Lonza’s leadership and recognition in the viral vector industry.

Key requirements:

  • PhD with a preferred area of study:  Virology/ Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Seasoned professional with extensive experience in R&D, process development or production with strong people management experience. Experience in cell and gene therapy is highly desirable.
  • Demonstrated and recognized expertise in Virology, Biology, Bio Processing (Upstream and Downstream), Analytical Development. Broad and deep understanding of technology needs and direction in Viral Vectors and Gene Therapy.
  • Good understanding of the innovation landscape related to viral vectors and history of building innovative and patentable technology portfolios.
  • Strong project execution skills with demonstrated history of delivering complex technical projects on time and successfully. Skilled in proactively managing project risks with scenario planning and pre-defined mitigation.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Must be able to translate complex information into coherent analysis and plans.
  • Must have strong business and interpersonal skills and be a persuasive communicator – written, oral and active listening. Be able to effectively influence peers and colleagues and bring them along in support of ideas and strategy.
  • Must be able to communicate and work effectively at all levels of an organization; understand projects and technologies in detail but able to translate into a wider long-term view
  • Must be able to communicate and manage change effectively.

Every day, Lonza’s products and services have a positive impact on millions of people. For us, this is not only a great privilege, but also a great responsibility. How we achieve our business results is just as important as the achievements themselves. At Lonza, we respect and protect our people and our environment. Any success we achieve is no success at all if not achieved ethically.  

People come to Lonza for the challenge and creativity of solving complex problems and developing new ideas in life sciences. In return, we offer the satisfaction that comes with improving lives all around the world. The satisfaction that comes with making a meaningful difference.

Lonza is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a qualified individual with disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Reference: R20207