Head of Synthesis and Optimization - RNA Molecule Research

Denmark, Copenhagen

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Head of Synthesis and Optimization

RNA Molecule Research, Therapeutic Modalities (TMo)


The Therapeutics Modality organization (TMo), is a community of over 750 scientists designing and developing Roche pharma Research and Early Development’s (pRED) next generation therapeutics. We work in close collaboration with our Disease Therapeutic Area (DTA), Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharma Technical Development partners to bring innovative medicines to patients. The RNA Molecule Research (RMR) organization is part of the TMo family and comprises capabilities for the discovery, optimization, and small scale synthesis of nucleic acid based therapeutics. Predominantly based at DTU campus north of Copenhagen, Denmark, the Roche Innovation Center Copenhagen, is organized into three Departments: RMR Discovery, RMR Synthesis and Optimisation and RMR Projects, Program and Strategy. In RMR, we work in a highly collaborative, open and engaging environment where we continuously strive to push the boundaries for innovation and development.

 In Synthesis and Optimization, we synthesize innovative APIs and provide formulations to supply and enable all preclinical activities paving the way towards Clinical Candidate Selection. We are RMRs chemistry experts and together with our Discovery function partners, we work to generate scientific and technical knowledge to discover novel molecules with diverse modes of action for unmet medical needs across disease therapeutic areas. We build our strength on a broad diversity of hardworking technical experts and chemists delivering and innovating in the space of RNA-based therapeutics.

We are offering a rare opportunity to join our team in the Roche Innovation Center Copenhagen

Job Description

As the Head of Synthesis and Optimization you will lead a department of approximately 20 employees with a focus on synthesizing and optimizing nucleic acid based therapies at small scale as well as advancing novel chemistries and processes. You will report to the Global Head of RNA Molecule Research who is based at the Global Headquarters in Basel. As part of the role, you will become an integral member of the local RNA Molecule Research Leadership Team, with associated senior leader responsibilities with regards to people practices, guiding modality strategy and advising on local site strategies. You will be expected to create a compelling vision and establish the strategic direction of the department in the context of the wider TMo and pRED short- and long-term goals. You cascade the strategy through all RMR Sections and ensure its execution. You build a high performing and innovative organization capable of rapidly adapting to changes in business needs.

Your main responsibilities include:

  • As an active Member of the RMR Leadership Team, you will contribute to the RMR strategy and adapt to changing external conditions while maintaining productive and constructive relationships with a wide variety of partners at various stages of the discovery and development value chain.
  • Providing effective people leadership and be an active promoter and role model for a flexible and open mindset, embracing Roche leadership principles.
  • Responsible for effective resource and budget allocation within the department and provide clear priorities to the Synthesis and Optimisation community.
  • Support a portfolio of RMR projects from Target assessment to Clinical Candidate Selection by providing good scientific judgment to decision-making and problem solving
  • Be the liaison to the later stages of CMC (Chemistry, Manufacture and Control) development for the more mature projects within pRED network and beyond
  • Represent Roche to local and international authorities, committees and scientific conference

Your Profile:

You have a PhD in a relevant scientific discipline, possibly supplemented with a business degree. You have 10+ years of work experience in the pharma/biopharma industry with experience in research and development of nucleic acid based therapies. Further a minimum 5 years of prior people leadership is required.

 In addition, you bring the following skills and competencies:

  • Understanding of drug discovery and development and especially of CMC aspects of Oligonucleotides/nucleic acid based therapeutics
  • Proven ability to make decisions and assess risks in a dynamic research and early development environment
  • Excellent, authentic leadership skills with a proven ability to guide and motivate both a leadership team as well as a diverse workforce. You have demonstrated ability to coach, mentor and champion managers/leaders/team members and to foster an environment with scientific and technical creativity and mastery.
  • You are a change agent with a focus on collaboration, high-level influencing, interpersonal and negotiation skills as well as a will to build and maintain constructive and effective relationships with team members as well as internal and external partners
  • Aptitude for navigating a matrix organization and building networks
  • Proven ability to navigate complex corporate environments
  • You are fluent in English and ideally also Danish

Are you ready to apply?

Roche embraces diversity and equal opportunity in a serious way. We are committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. The more inclusive we are, the better our work will be.