Astellas Pharmaceutical Jobs

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Astellas Pharma Head of Research & Development in Seattle, Washington

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 Head of Research & Development opportunity at their facility in Seattle, WA .


The primary purpose of the Head of Research & Development for Universal Cells is to oversee and direct the research and preclinical development activities of Universal Cells in alignment with Astellas' overarching global strategy for the development of cellular therapies related to the treatment of diseases with high unmet medical needs. The Head of Research & Development will be responsible for ensuring the quality of science and scientists, improvement of gene-editing methodology and expansion of its therapeutic application to create innovative therapies in collaboration with XYP, AIRM, PF-Leads and other Astellas divisions. This position is the external voice of the company in the area of science. As the department head, this position is responsible for implementing and managing division-wide processes for scientific and technical asset selection/utilization. This position is a member of the Universal Cells Leadership team and develops research and development strategies that are aligned with business objectives and Astellas value propositions.

Essential Job Responsibilities:

  • Improves gene-editing methodology and expands its therapeutic application.

  • Creates, communicates, and implements the company's vision, mission, and overall direction in alignment with the Astellas cell therapy strategy by collaborating with relevant Astellas functions.

  • Directs all research and development activities to develop any internal or partnered preclinical and clinical programs in alignment with the Astellas strategy.

  • Works with the leadership team to review project budgets and resources to ensure they are in line with objectives. Oversee the approved budget for all research and development activities.

  • Represents the company at scientific and industry meetings and describe the company's products and research to internal and external stakeholders including partners, collaborators, and regulatory agencies.

  • Takes the lead in developing strategy for new research areas, and potential implementation, in Astellas as a core member of project teams or steering committees formed for these purposes.

  • Builds trust and strong relationships with key partners and stakeholders across Astellas.

  • Coordinates and facilitates contracting of new external partners for R&D department through regular, timely communication with legal, risk management, ethics and compliance groups.

  • Institutes new scientific processes and technologies that promote efficiency and effectiveness of R&D.

  • Remains current on industry trends and advise the organization regarding scientific matters.

  • Performs other duties as assigned or special projects as needed.

Organizational Context:

  • Reports to President of Universal Cells

  • Leads Director and Associate Director level direct reports.

  • Recruit, mentor and develop a team of innovative scientists/researchers in collaboration with Research Directors.



Ph.D. or MD, with a minimum of 10 years of relevant cell and molecular biology research experience (industry and academic). Significant drug development experience and track record of success leading multiple programs from discovery to clinical development.

  • 10+ years' experience and expertise in research team leadership and employee development, with minimum of 5 years serving as the head of an R&D function.

  • Able to lead from the bench. Well versed in a wide array of laboratory techniques and experienced in their use. Strong publication record from graduate and post-doctoral work is expected.

  • Actively engaged with developing and maintaining cross functional networks within the larger enterprise. Liaison to development function and executive leadership regarding project timelines and deliverables.

  • Experience leading a high-performing division or functional group (e.g. Research Teams)

  • Proven track record with successful transition of therapeutics candidates to the clinical-development phase resulting in favorable outcomes.

  • Significant experience working within a highly matrixed, global environment.

  • Strong scientific acumen and demonstrated ability to collaborate across multiple disciplines.

  • Strong written and spoken communications skills

  • Demonstrated management of diverse internal and external stakeholders

  • Self-motivation with a proactive mindset.

  • Strong interpersonal influence and active listening skills, flexible team player with the highest ethical and business standards.

  • Ability to manage large-scale program budgets.

  • Ability to frequently attend early morning or late-night teleconference meetings.


  • Experience with early scientific development in areas such as cell therapy, immunology, genetic regulation and clinical genomics.


  • 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 Research and Development

Astellas is committed to equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment. EOE including Disability/Protected Veterans