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Life Sciences

President, R&D

United States

Consultant: Olivia Banks


Position Title: President, Research & Development
Location:  Remote, Office US based

Novaris Search is delighted to be exclusively partnered with Sabin Vaccine Institute, a mission driven organization committed to enhancing global immunization through accessible vaccines and fostering innovation, in the hiring of their President of R&D.

About Sabin: 

Sabin is dedicated to making vaccines more accessible, enabling innovation and expanding immunization across the globe, Sabin seeks a future free from vaccine-preventable diseases. Sabin is an innovative, collaborative and engaged team that values accountability, teamwork, partnership and driving impact. The team are vaccine champions improving lives through immunization. Sabin staff, management and Board of Trustees are committed to developing a diverse, equitable and inclusive team.

 Position Summary:

The President of Research & Development (R&D) is a member of Sabin’s Executive Management Team (EMT), reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In collaboration with members of EMT and the Board of Trustees R&D Committee, the President, R&D will drive Sabin’s organizational goal to develop/improve vaccines to protect human health, specifically in low- and middle-income countries, seek synergy with other program areas within Sabin for greater impact, and represent Sabin R&D to the global health and vaccine communities.

The President, R&D will manage the R&D team as a business unit, leading Sabin’s vaccine research and product development strategy and programs —from plan design to regulatory approval.  The President will lead the expansion of Sabin’s current vaccine R&D portfolio that includes monovalent vaccines against Ebola Sudan and Marburg viruses. With clear communication to direct reports and members across the team, as well as inclusive and transparent decision-making, the President, R&D will oversee staff and consultants who have functional expertise in project management, nonclinical, clinical, regulatory, chemical, manufacturing & controls (CMC), and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC).

Working with the CEO and R&D and resource development team members, the President, R&D will play a lead role to identify, secure and develop new R&D projects and secure respective project funding from government, NGOs, philanthropy and/or industry.

In accordance with the R&D strategy, Sabin has full-time functional heads who manage respective partners, consultants and vendors to conduct laboratory and clinical work. Sabin does not have its own research laboratories or clinical sites.

 Key Responsibilities: 

  • Lead the Sabin R&D program; manage and grow the Sabin vaccine portfolio to drive each vaccine candidate to licensure and/or Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), World Health Organization (WHO) prequalification or stated stage of development
  • Develop, implement and/or execute product development plan, including CMC, nonclinical, clinical, QA/QC, regulatory and project management; responsible for all R&D activity.
  • Lead and manage the R&D team with positive, concise communication channels across the team and to individuals; build and maintain a positive dynamic
  • Supervise approximately six direct reports and lead a growing team of staff and various consultants
  • Manage and lead the Sabin Board-level R&D Committee and its meetings; establish and maintain relationship with the Committee Chair
  • Manage the R&D budget (develop annual budget, forecasts, etc.) working closely with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Ensure Sabin complies with all R&D related laws, regulations and contractual responsibilities.
  • Act as the organizational contact with and representative to Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and all regulatory bodies, including WHO and in-country regulators
  • In conjunction with the CEO, lead the effort to identify new R&D opportunities to expand Sabin’s pipeline
  • Lead due diligence efforts to evaluate new R&D opportunities
  • Co-lead raising funds to support R&D projects by identifying prospective funding opportunities (e.g., government, NGOs, philanthropy), leading and contributing to project proposals, and presenting to prospective funders and partners
  • Establish, further develop and maintain positive, productive relationships and collaborations with leaders and funders in the vaccine global health community, as well as in the vaccine industry and governments; represent Sabin to these audiences (e.g., Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority (BARDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.)
  • Articulate Sabin’s value/impact effectively to multiple audiences akin to other members of the senior management team and elevate Sabin’s brand and reputation

Core Qualities:

  • Visionary and passionate vaccine/immunization leader who is committed to Sabin’s mission and fostering diversity, equity & inclusion across Sabin and our programming
  • An innovative thinker who leverages extensive experience and networks in the vaccine R&D community to attract new projects and funding and manage current projects
  • Proven capability in building creative and effective partnerships to support sustainable programs and impact in the areas of vaccine-related science and policy
  • Powerful communicator and careful listener who effectively engages and inspires Sabin colleagues, external stakeholders and organizational partners

Required professional experience:

  • 20+ years relevant experience with increasing responsibilities in product development; organizational leadership and strategy development; proven fiscal and people management experience; established partnership and networking connections
  • Recognized leader in the vaccine R&D field with a proven track record of success in vaccine development, ideally with product approval(s)/licenses
  • Strong understanding of global regulatory processes and an ability to work effectively with regulatory agencies (US FDA, EU EMA, WHO, IHC etc.) around the globe
  • Expert knowledge of applicable laws, regulations and professional standards related to vaccine research and product development
  • Knowledge of immunology and vaccine platforms/mechanisms of action across the range of marketed vaccines and those in development
  • Experience with evaluating technologies and vaccine product candidates for in-licensing and/or presentation of assets for out-licensing
  • Experience with vaccine clinical trials, preferably in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)
  • Dynamic and strategic thinker with examples of innovative approaches to delivering significant results on time and on budget
  • Established record of leadership in development of vaccines and research (e.g., peer-reviewed journals, grey literature publications or other written products and presentations at conferences and other expert forums)
  • Demonstrated understanding of the vaccine R&D landscape and ability to position Sabin effectively in that landscape
  • Knowledge and experience with U.S. Government contracts and funding lifecycle (application, reporting and execution), ideally as the PI, is highly desirable
  • Experience collaborating at senior level with global health organizations, such as WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is highly desirable
  • Experience with FDA’s Animal Rule pathway a plus

 Required/preferred management experience:

  • Demonstrated leadership ability to effectively engage at all levels (e.g., Trustees, peers, direct reports, early-career staff)
  • Ability to enhance individual and team performance by empowering culturally diverse, inclusive, and successful employees
  • Works effectively in matrixed environment with other departments and teams and with others over geographical distance

 Required/preferred training & skills:

  • Doctorate in medicine or an applicable scientific field
  • Proven budgeting skills, grants management and project management expertise
  • Outstanding presentation and communication skills; oral and written proficiency in English
  • Diplomacy skills across societal sectors and cultures to be an outgoing spokesperson and relationship builder
  • Strong attention to detail, ability to manage highly complex tasks, organized, dependable and pro-active to mitigate challenges and take advantage of opportunities
  • Entrepreneurial spirit, enthusiastic about joining and continuing to build a team of non-profit, mission-oriented R&D professional and projects with a global impact
  • Ability to travel both domestically and internationally


  • Must demonstrate interest in furthering Sabin’s mission
  • Subject to a criminal background check
  • Request for three professional references
  • Verification of education/degrees

Attributes that Are Important to Sabin:

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking
  • Decision-Making
  • Communication and Professionalism
  • Initiative and Ownership
  • Productivity and Quality Control
  • Professional Development/Personal Learning

Sabin is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to their race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability or genetic information, sex (including gender identity, pregnancy or sexual orientation), marital status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws.

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