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Astellas Pharma Global Head of Immuno-Oncology Research & CSO in South San Francisco, California

Developing innovative therapies is one of the most challenging, most essential and personally rewarding fields in science. This is the most exciting time to be a part of Astellas, a company with a uniquely collaborative and patient-focused culture.

There's something special about working at Astellas. It's reflected in our focus on the people we serve, the way we treat each other and the results we achieve together as a company.

Astellas is announcing a Global Head of Immuno-Oncology Research & CSO opportunity at their Xyphos site in South San Francisco, CA.


The primary purpose of Vice President, Global Head of Immuno-Oncology Research and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) , Xyphos Biosciences, Center of Excellence (CoE) for Cancer Cell Therapy, is to provide broad and significant strategic oversite to the research and preclinical development activities of the Cancer Cell Therapy CoE in alignment with Astellas' overarching global strategy for the development of cellular therapies related to the treatment of cancer. The incumbent will also be the key scientific leader and subject matter expert for enterprise-wide Immuno-Oncology (I/O) research programs, major business development initiatives and decisions related to Astellas Immuno-Oncology strategy. As CSO, this position is accountable for resolving highly complex scientific problems; ensuring the quality of science and scientists; proposing, negotiating, establishing and achieving objectives of Astellas' divisions and the Cancer Cell Therapy CoE; establishing R&D priorities for the CoE in order to build a pipeline of "Pharmaceutical Product-like cellular therapy with outstanding efficacy and safety in solid tumors." As a member of the CoE Executive Leadership team, the CSO and Head of I/O Research is expected to provide an effective results/metrics driven development program to meet the objectives of the Astellas corporate strategic plan.

Essential Job Responsibilities:

  • 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 used to develop any internal, unpartnered clinical programs in alignment with the Astellas strategy.

  • Demonstrates extensive, broad scientific technical expertise as relates to preclinical/clinical immuno-oncology drug development.

  • Key Scientific Leader for Astellas driving cancer immunology-based therapy programs to ensure the highest level of scientific rigor across the teams to discover, develop and test candidate therapeutics quickly and convincingly, making scientifically sound decisions at each decision point and strategically deploying resources to support organizational goals.

  • Manages key relationships and communicates effectively with partners across the company, to influence strategy, guide research, make decisions, and efficiently manage resources.

  • Develops and oversees all external collaborations and partnerships, including scientific advisors, academic organizations, vendors, and other partner industry organizations.

  • Contributes to the preparation of reports and regulatory documents for submission to health authorities.

  • Demonstrates highly strategic thinking and proactively anticipates obstacles to drive solutions to achieve CoE objectives through management of relevant team members, collaboration with stakeholders and Astellas internal partners.

  • Hire, develop, coach, and manage performance of team of scientific and technical staff, including director and senior director level leaders.

  • Responsible for the development of and accountable for the budget and resource planning required for achieving the CoE strategic plan, to include all cancer cell therapy 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.

  • Leads all contracting of new external partners related to immuno-oncology therapy research 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.



  • PhD in a life science discipline; MD or equivalent advanced degree.

  • 20+ years of experience in pharmaceutical industry with significant expertise in related functions (e.g. Cell Therapy, Human Immunology, Immuno-Oncology) with 10+ years in research leadership positions

  • Deep expertise in Immuno-oncology and Immunology is a must with a clear track record in the successful preclinical and clinical development of immune-modulatory therapeutics. Experience leading a high-performing division or functional group (e.g. Research Teams)

  • Pharmaceutical product development and manufacturing experience, with significant experience working in a highly regulated industry

  • Contributed to the successful transition of drug candidates to the clinical-development phase resulting in favorable outcomes.

  • Significant experience working within a highly matrixed, global environment

  • Strong scientific acumen

  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate across multiple disciplines and cultures

  • 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

  • Ability to travel domestically/internationally up to 15% of the time


  • Experience with early scientific development in areas such as cell therapy, immuno-oncology and genetic regulation


Category Research and Development

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