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Astellas Pharma Director of Research, Immunology in Seattle, Washington

Director of Research, Immunology

Do you want to be part of an inclusive team that works to develop innovative therapies for patients? Every day, we are driven to develop and deliver innovative and effective new medicines to patients and physicians. If you want to be part of this exciting work, you belong at Astellas!

Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are committed to turning innovative science into medical solutions that bring value and hope to patients and their families. Keeping our focus on addressing unmet medical needs and conducting our business with ethics and integrity enables us to improve the health of people throughout the world. For more information on Astellas, please visit our website at

Universal Cells , an affiliate of Astellas located in Seattle, WA, is focused on the development and commercialization of stem cell and regenerative medicine therapies. We conduct clinical-grade gene editing of stem cells to produce cells that avoid rejection and can be used in allogeneic cell therapy treatments to treat all patients that need them.



We are a dynamic team of research and scientific professionals who are passionate about turning science and innovation into medical solutions. Through our diversity, scientific knowledge, professional rigor and focus on innovation, we are merging our technology with the Astellas drug development expertise to unlock cures to many therapies. Join our team of committed, enthusiastic professionals devoted to making the most effective, life-saving cell therapy products in the world.

Universal Cells (UCI) is announcing a Director of Research, Immunology opportunity at their facility in Seattle, WA .


The Director of Immunology, Research will manage the development of an immunoregulatory cell therapy for the induction of immune tolerance in autoimmune disorders. This position is responsible for providing scientific direction, oversight, guidance, and training of scientific research staff to support this program. The successful candidate will lead laboratory research and develop and ensure timelines are met; will play an integral role in troubleshooting technical research related issues; inspire and develop team members to excel; and be accountable for meeting deliverables for the Immunology Research team.

Essential Job Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for the strategic and operational research project support of an immunoregulatory cell therapy program. Utilize expertise and provide input into the forecasting and development of program milestones, project plans, budget, and resource needs.

  • Direct and manage research projects while ensuring success in meeting objectives and timelines. Ensure the team is producing the highest quality science in all aspects of research in an efficient manner.

  • Manage the day-to-day operations of the Immunology Research team through cross-department collaboration with internal teams and Astellas partners.

  • Define and evaluate the roles, responsibilities, goals, and deliverables for the UCells' Immunology Research team members. Organize team and priorities, including resource allocation planning to efficiently carry out research activities to reach objectives and deliver key results in a timely manner. Facilitate productive, results-oriented meetings and ensure positive team dynamics. Produce reports capturing key research findings in real time to communicate with UCells Leadership team, Astellas Research organization, etc.

  • Independently analyze and interpret complex experimental results and draft protocols, SOPs, technical reports etc.

  • Participate and interface effectively with other parts of the Astellas Research organization in report generation, IND preparation, and other regulatory filings.

  • Actively identify and establish productive relationships with collaborators outside the company to initiate and support projects and programs across multiple initiatives.

  • Partner closely with other managers in Research to support scientific programs. Lead, coach, and mentor direct reports to maximize project success. Actively promote continuous learning to improve skills of self and the group

Quantitative Dimensions:

  • This position will have direct impact on Divisional Objectives

Organizational Context:

  • This position reports to the Head of Research for Universal Cells

  • The Director of Research, Immunology will have deep subject matter expertise in immunology with applications in autoimmunity, immune tolerance, and inflammation. This person will manage a team of scientists developing an immunoregulatory cellular therapy derived from pluripotent stem cells to induce antigen-specific immune tolerance in an inflammatory disease setting and lead early-stage research, preclinical proof of concept, to IND enabling studies.



  • Advanced degree (PhD) in Immunology, Cell Biology, or a related scientific discipline required.

  • 8-10 years of progressively more responsible experience in managing/leading scientists, integrating cross-functional teams in biotech or pharma industry

  • Demonstrated industry experience or academic achievement in developing therapeutics for inflammatory and/or autoimmune disorders

  • In-depth knowledge of immune cells (in particular T cells, monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells) and immunological assays (immune cell activation, suppression, proliferation, immunophenotyping, and cytokine analysis)

  • Exert influence in the development of overall objectives and long-range goals of the organization.

  • Strong time-management and organizational skills with a sense of urgency and strong work ethic.

  • Must have critical thinking skills, robust technical writing skills, strong scientific skills, good interpersonal communication skills.

  • Exercises judgment within broadly defined practices and policies in selecting methods, techniques, and evaluation criteria for obtaining results.

  • Belief in transparency and open communication and the ability for an individual's power to improve and enable those around them.

  • Data-driven, with a high level of comfort presenting analysis and information to UCells' Senior Leadership Team and staff.

  • Collaborative team player who has the ability to think and act quickly; identify creative solutions to complex problems, communicate and act quickly to the benefit of the team and meeting objectives.

  • Strong attention to detail with the ability to articulate quality related risks and potential impact.

  • Proficient knowledge of MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint & Outlook.


  • Prior experience developing an immune cell therapy (T cell or myeloid cell type)

  • Prior experience in humanized mouse models

  • Conceptual knowledge of autoimmunity, immune tolerance, inflammation, and immunoregulatory cells.

  • Experience with stem cells and gene editing would be a plus


  • Medical, Dental and Vision Insurance

  • Generous Paid Time Off options, including Vacation and Sick time, plus national holidays including year-end shut down

  • 401(k) match and annual company contribution

  • Company paid life insurance

  • Annual Corporate Bonus and Quarterly Sales Incentive for eligible positions

  • Long Term Incentive Plan for eligible positions

  • Referral bonus program


Category RTO Strategy Operations

Astellas is committed to equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment.

EOE including Disability/Protected Veterans