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Portfolio and Platform Lead, Discovery & Translational Sciences

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Seattle, WA, USA
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Foundation

We are the largest nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Founded on a simple premise: people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live healthy, productive lives. We believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve. We provide an exceptional benefits package to employees and their families which include comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage with no premiums, generous paid time off, paid family leave, foundation-paid retirement contribution, regional holidays, and opportunities to engage in several employee communities. As a workplace, we’re committed to creating an environment for you to thrive both personally and professionally.

The Team

The mission of Discovery & Translational Sciences (DTS) is to catalyze innovation for the discovery and translation of transformative solutions to global health and development inequity. As such, the primary role of DTS is to enable the foundation to achieve its ambitious global health equity goals as articulated by the disease-specific strategy teams (Program Strategy Teams; PSTs). For this, we exploit a unique advantage of the foundation in general and DTS in particular: the ability to invest in high-risk and/or long-timeline initiatives with potential for truly disruptive change. We channel resources into creating more practical (affordable, scalable, deliverable) versions of existing tools, develop transformative new tools where none exist, and speed the translation of scientific discovery into implementable solutions, seeking better ways to evaluate and refine potential interventions before they enter costly and time-consuming late-stage clinical trials. Key functions in support of this R&D mission include identifying and filling gaps in scientific knowledge, creating or implementing new technology platforms that can accelerate research in support of our goals, investing in potentially transformative ideas, continuous surveying of an ever-changing scientific and technological innovation space, and the fostering of an effective ecosystem of global health innovation, funding and partnership to advance the foundation’s mission. Our areas of focus include vaccines, biologics, drugs, microbiome interventions, and reproductive and sexual health.

This role will report to the Deputy Director, Translational Sciences.

Your Role

We are currently seeking a Portfolio and Platform Lead (PPL) for the Discovery & Translational Sciences (DTS) team within the Global Health Division. The candidate will help put together and apply integrated product development plans, as well as bring deep platform implementation and management experience to the DTS portfolio. The PPL will apply relevant technical and execution expertise to best suit the complex ecosystem in which Global Health works with various partners (academic institutions, biotechs, PDPs, Pharma). The candidate will work with the DTS team and its partners to ensure that: (a) the portfolio of investments related to product development have robust implementation plans that ultimately result in effective, impactful, deliverable interventions; and (b) the portfolio of investments in cross-cutting platforms have robust development, implementation and tracking plans that facilitate the de-risking, advancement and/or termination of product/intervention concepts and candidates in a rational, expedited manner. The PPL will leverage relevant subject matter and execution expertise relevant to drugs, vaccines, biologics, and microbiome interventions, and novel technological platforms, and apply rigorous methodology to assist DTS in assessing, managing, and continuously refining the portfolios to achieve optimal global health impact through our partners and grantees.

What You’ll Do

  • Develop long term portfolio execution plans aligned with the high-level strategies of the DTS team.
  • Work collaboratively with BMGF Program Strategy and Functional teams to develop and execute product development plans and/or the development and management of enabling platforms, with foundation partners and grantees.
  • Identify and assess key risks at the portfolio level; develop and manage mitigation/ contingency plans.
  • Proactively identify areas of misalignment and lead the process of developing plans to ‘get back on track’ and refine the portfolio execution plans.
  • Work with BMGF Program Strategy and Functional teams to identify potential new cross-cutting areas for platform development with partners and grantees.
  • Manage or oversee Functional team platform strategy and execution.
  • Monitor the development of promising novel technologies with product or platform potential.
  • Develop and encourage use of standard approaches, tools and methodologies for portfolio management across teams to enable effective decision making.
  • Proactively work with peers/ fellow PPLs to ensure a consistent approach as well as application of appropriate rigor to portfolio management across the Global Health Program.
  • Communicate information related to the portfolio dynamics that will support strategy development and effectively communicate the state of the DTS portfolio and platforms to foundation leadership.
  • Effectively and proactively manage relationships with key internal stakeholders within the matrixed organization.
  • Support efforts to ensure teams represents foundation's core values of collaboration, rigor, optimism, and innovation.

Your Experience

  • 15+ years of professional experience in the biotech/pharmaceutical professional experience in the biotech/pharmaceutical and/or life sciences research sectors at a senior level.
  • Significant experience project managing R&D efforts at the product and portfolio levels in vaccines and/or biologics is required. While discovery and development experience is required, familiarity with the needs of commercial and/or delivery teams is recommended.
  • PhD and/or MD (preferred) in one of the life sciences, or relevant experience/advanced degree.

Other Attributes

  • Integrated product development project management (methodology, metrics, best practices).
  • Portfolio/platform management (in pharma/biotech context) and associated tools.
  • Project management, implementation planning and associated tools.
  • Risk assessment and management (mitigation and contingency plans).
  • Broad working knowledge and/or specific knowledge of several elements of product and/or service development and launch (e.g., discovery, development, commercial launch).
  • Strong oral and written communications.
  • Strong meeting and relationship facilitation.
  • Facility working within a highly matrixed organization.
  • Strong negotiating skills.

The salary range for this role is $182,600 to $283,100 USD. We recognize high-wage market differences where our offices are located, in Seattle, Washington D.C., and Boston (Cambridge). The range for this role in these locations is $199,000 to $308,400 USD. As a mission-driven organization, we strive to balance competitive pay with our mission and new hires are typically brought into the organization at a salary between the range minimum and the salary range midpoint. Actual placement in the range will depend on a candidate’s job-related skills, experience, and expertise, as evaluated during the interview process.


Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Candidate Accommodations

If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request here.

Inclusion Statement

We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We strive for a global and cultural workplace that supports ever greater diversity, equity, and inclusion — of voices, ideas, and approaches — and we support this diversity through all our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.