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Head of Vaccine Discovery

Boston, Massachusetts


Takeda fosters a collaborative and stimulating work environment filled with opportunity and the chance to make a difference in people's lives. It is a workplace driven by integrity, one of Takeda’s long-held values that extends to both the patients we serve and our employees who develop and deliver medicines. Across our company, Takeda employees bring together diverse strengths that together create a stronger whole.

As one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies, Takeda is committed to bringing Better Health and a Brighter future to people worldwide. We aspire to bring our leadership in translating science into life-changing medicines to the next level, in our core focus areas; oncology, gastroenterology, neuroscience, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, and vaccines. The Greater Boston Area is headquarters to many of our Global and US business units.

We are a passionate team doing important work that impacts patients’ lives. If you are driven to create better health and a brighter future, join us!

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What makes a successful member of our team? Check out the traits we’re looking for and see if you have the right mix.

  • Collaborative
  • Strategic
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  • Versatile
  • Entrepreneurial

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  • Bold initiatives, continuous improvement, and creativity are at the heart of how we bring scientific breakthroughs from the lab to patients.

  • Since 1781, the values of Takeda-ism (Integrity, Fairness, Honesty, and Perseverance) have guided everything we do—from decision-making to interacting with patients.

  • Our people-first mission extends beyond patients to include their families, communities, and our own Takeda family.

  • Through trust and respect, you will have genuine support from leaders, managers, and colleagues to do your best work.

  • A strong, borderless team, we strive together towards our priorities and inspiring mission.

  • Recognized for our culture and way of working, we’re one of only 13 companies to receive Top Global Employer® status for 2021.

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Head of Vaccine Discovery

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Job ID R0031306 Date posted 04/20/2021 Location Boston, Massachusetts

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Job Description

Are you looking for a patient-focused, innovation-driven company that will inspire you and empower you to shine? Join us as a Head of Vaccine Discovery in our Cambridge, MA office.

At Takeda, we are transforming the pharmaceutical industry through our R&D-driven market leadership and being a values-led company. To do this, we empower our people to realize their potential through life-changing work. Certified as a Global Top Employer, we offer stimulating careers, encourage innovation, and strive for excellence in everything we do. We foster an inclusive, collaborative workplace, in which our global teams are united by an unwavering commitment to deliver Better Health and a Brighter Futureto people around the world.

Here, you will be a vital contributor to our inspiring, bold mission.


  • Serve as a strategic and scientific leader for VBU, generating and leveraging scientific knowledge to support and expand the VBU portfolio..
  • Deliver on GPT Discovery team objectives for key milestones through to successful clinical ePOC, by maintaining a stringent focus on critical path decision points, by optimizing timelines to achieve better-than-Industry averages, and by ensuring that rigorous translational medicine plans are in place to inform clinical hypothesis-testing.
  • Participate as a member of the  VBU Executive Committee, Vaccine Program Committee and other governance bodies  to maintain the health of Takeda’s Vaccine business and pipeline, both internal and external.
  • Effectively lead a multidisciplinary Discovery team and develop the next generation of leaders through a mix of external recruitment and internal talent development and mobility; partner with VBU EC to encourage mobility across the research-to-development continuum.


  • Acts as a strategic research and scientific leader for projects ongoing at all global research locations
  • Provides significant input to the GPT strategy and GPT centric operational model
  • Responsible for setting KPI goals consistent with those of the VBU organization and accountable for maintaining performance throughout the MRP cycle to successfully achieve annual goals
  • Identifies, engages, and ensures the success of key external collaborations and evaluations.
  • Participates with business development to set the BD strategy for the franchise; acts as a BD champion to execute key business transactions
  • Responsible for managing activities to ensure timely completion of projects; develops strategies to ensure effective achievement of objectives; recognized internally as authority in broad field of technical expertise
  • Directs and integrates research activities to ensure research objectives are met that meet the highest level of scientific quality and data integrity.
  • Commits to talent development and successorship planning.


Technical/Functional (Line) Expertise

  • Outstanding expertise and depth of knowledge within a scientific area
  • Keeps up with the up-to-date scientific advancement (e.g. competitive landscape, new technology, new research portfolio, and new partnership)


  • Shares mission and vision with project team members and encourages them to achieve its goals.
  • Promotes scientific and career development for staff. Mentor scientists through review of key decisions, issue resolution and responses to regulatory inquiries. Ensures viable succession plan and readiness of candidate successors for roles as necessary
  • Ensures and encourages diversity
  • Acts as a strategic research liaison for all projects ongoing at all global locations.

Decision-making and Autonomy

  • Collaborate and align strategies with other VBU Function Heads to best position assets/programs.
  • Coordinates the evaluation and review of data, the determination of problem solutions, project priorities and future experiments in multidisciplinary settings
  • Ultimately responsible for go/no-go preclinical portfolio decisions outside of those under remit of specific Takeda governance bodies, i.e. VBU EC, VPC and PRC.
  • Responsible for financial and people allocation via project prioritization, buy-up or buy-down for the global portfolio; develops strategies to ensure effective achievement of objectives; recognized globally as authority in broad field of technical expertise.


  • Builds relationships outside of Takeda and is seen as an international subject matter expert
  • Identified as a Global Takeda thought leader in the field and provides executive-level subject-matter
  • Capable of representing multiple dimensions of Company's business; capable of representing Company's interests at national/international meetings


  • Formulates mid-long term innovative strategies to generate and leverage scientific knowledge to support the current VBU portfolio
  • Formulates mid-long term innovative strategies to build a sustainable and innovative pipeline
  • Regularly engages internal and external experts to maintain a ‘living strategy’ that continually course-corrects and retains flexibility for redeployment to emerging areas of high potential value


  • As a matrixed leader, builds relationships, influences and leads Vaccine Discovery researchers from both within Takeda and using external collaborators to deliver a strong sustainable pipeline
  • Identifies, engages, and ensures the success of key external collaborations


  • Has an advanced degree in health or life sciences (e.g., Ph.D., M.D., D.V.M.) with 15 years industry and 10 years supervisory experience.
  • Is highly knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of virology, viral immunology, vaccine discovery, preclinical testing
  • Experience working in multidisciplinary teams with exposure to and knowledge of critical aspects of other vaccine functions, including analytical development, process development, manufacturing, clinical development, regulatory affairs, medical affairs and commercial. .
  • In-depth expertise working in a regulated environment
  • Internally and externally recognized expert in virology and vaccine  research and its applications
  • Shows cross-cultural understanding to utilize the diverse talents and has demonstrated ability to manage teams to maximize the organizational productivity
  • Has strong leadership skills and acumen.
  • Has excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.
  • Capable of leading a matrixed team comprised of scientists from within Takeda as well as external collaborators.
  • Has a proven track record in successfully developing and implementing business strategies.

Location and Salary Information:

  • This job posting excludes CO applicants.


  • 401(k) with company match and Annual Retirement Contribution Plan
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Company match of charitable contributions
  • Health & Wellness programs including onsite flu shots and health screenings
  • Generous time off for vacation and the option to purchase additional vacation days
  • Community Outreach Programs

Empowering Our People to Shine

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Boston, MA

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Time Type

Full time

Job ID R0031306
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