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Astellas Pharma Exec Dir, Research, CCT Lead in South San Francisco, California

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 .

Xyphos Biosciences , an affiliate of Astellas Pharma Inc. is developing a novel adoptive cell therapy technology platform and building a pipeline of innovative products.

We are a rapidly growing team of research and scientific professionals, passionate about turning science and innovation into medical solutions through our cell therapy technology platform. 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.

Astellas is announcing a Exec. Director, CCT Preclinical Lead, CCT Nucleus opportunity at their Xyphos site in South San Francisco, CA.


The primary purpose of the Executive Director, Cancer Cell Therapy (CCT) Preclinical Lead, CCT Nucleus is to lead preclinical development activities by providing guidance and coordinating cross-functional execution in alignment with Cancer Cell Therapy (CCT) strategy in the Primary Focus (PF) Strategy and Roadmap. The CCT Nucleus is a corporate-approved new model framework of a product development project team with significantly reduced membership to realize agile operation, which has decision-making authority on all the CCT development projects. This position is expected to develop a minimally essential and innovative preclinical research package by incorporating inputs from PF-IO Lead, other CCT nucleus members, consultant(s) and relevant people to realize speedy progress of projects to the clinical stage. It is also expected to proactively participate in partnering or technology acquisition to improve or enrich CCT product pipeline of Astellas and in the revision of CCT strategy.

Essential Job Responsibilities:

  • Defines direction and develops preclinical research packages by incorporating inputs from, PF-IO Lead, other CCT nucleus members, consultant(s) and key stakeholders, including division heads.

  • Leads the progression of multiple CCT projects per year to the clinical stage.

  • Proactively identifies operational hurdles and issues. Leads problem solving together with Global Development Project Lead (GDPL) of CCT Nucleus across relevant functions.

  • Proactively identifies improvement opportunities and bottlenecks in Astellas current processes and proposes relevant divisions to act on them by providing potential options with solid rationales, which include partnering with and technology licenses from external companies. The position is expected to stay with the advancement of science/technology and the trend of regulatory requirements.

  • Contributes to regulatory interactions with regulatory authorities such as FDA as one of the representatives of Astellas for CCT product candidates.

  • Proactively engages in the evaluation of opportunities and strategy-making process including PF Roadmap development.

  • Contributes to PF-IO-related work as a member of the PF-IO Team, and member of the key Core teams

  • Be a change agent - Support mindset and culture change in alignment with CSP2021 and PF goals, and inspire others to change.

  • Demonstrates behaviors consistent with Astella's competencies (Customer Focus, Strategic Orientation, Innovation & Change, Results Orientation, Communication & Collaboration, Developing & Inspiring and Working as One Astellas), Astellas Leadership Expectations and Code of Ethics and Business Conduct.

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

Quantitative Dimensions:

  • 1st IND in 2013 and multiple INDs/year from 2014 and beyond

  • This is a high complexity job dealing with evolving, novel technology, diverse, multi-functional internal environment and with external partners. Job success can be primarily measured by specific project deliverables such as key internal/external milestones, but also by feedback from other CCT Nucleus members and Divisions on the efficiency of execution.

  • Successful implementation of the "Nucleus" team framework this position contributes to can be expanded to other Primary Focuses and Modalities for the maximum value creation in Astellas.

Organizational Context:

  • This position reports to the President of Xyphos Biosciences, CoE-CCT, who reports to CScO.

  • This position may have direct reports in the future, as this role evolves through the successful outcomes of CCT nucleus operation and expansion of its concept to other areas.

  • Key relationships include Global Functional Leads of research and development projects (i.e. GDPL, GML, etc.), leaders of relevant oncology functions (i.e. Head of, Xyphos Biosciences, Universal Cells, Astellas Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Immuno-Oncology, Translational Science, Pharma Tech), Primary Focus Leads, internally, as well as external partner companies



  • MD, PhD, DVM or equivalent advanced degree.

  • At least 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry with at least 10 years' experience in product development as a science lead.

  • Successful track records with antibody product(s) and allogeneic cell therapy product(s) development from early discovery research to IND submission

  • Strong scientific and technical acumen

  • Demonstrated ability to inspire and collaborate across multiple disciplines and cultures.

  • Strong written and spoken communications/negotiation skills

  • Ability to keep self-motivation with a mindset to work proactively and challenge the "status quo" for improvements in compliance with appropriate regulatory requirements.

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

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

  • Ability to travel domestically/internationally.


  • Experience with research activities in small venture company or global pharmaceutical company

  • Experience with pluripotent stem cell-derived cell therapy product development

  • Experience with cell engineering

  • Successful launch of pharmaceutical product(s)


  • 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 R&D

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EOE including Disability/Protected Veterans