Research Project Manager

Pharmica Consulting - San Francisco, CA

Research Project Manager

Pharmica is seeking an experienced Research Project Manager to manage novel therapeutic drug development projects from late-stage discovery through IND. In this key role, the Project Manager will manage teams of researchers, consultants, and contractors to facilitate smooth delivery of agreed project plans within time and budget constraints, advancing projects from compound identification and optimization through IND. This position requires strong project management skills in planning, execution, options assessment, and risk management.


The Research Project Manager (PM) partners partner with discovery research project team leadership to initiate the Early Development Project Team (E-DPT) and together with the Early Development Project Leader (E-DPL) and Early Development Team members develops detailed cross-functional development plans, facilitate science-based and business/portfolio oriented discussions in research teams. The Research PM may be responsible for one or more early teams across the assigned Thematic Research Center (TRC).

The Research Project Manager will have a clear idea of the late lead optimization through Phase 1 development path and is accountable for proactive cross-functional planning and execution of one or more programs including definition of the operational strategy, management of timelines, cost, quality, and risk assessment and mitigation.

The Research Project Manager provides an independent voice to shape the overall project strategy and drive optimal decisions for the broader portfolio value. She/he is accountable for fostering development of high performing teams, actively monitoring the health and operating efficiency of teams and guiding teams toward entry into the early development space.

Roles & Responsibilities:

  • The Project Manager (PM) is accountable for initiating the Early Development Project Team and leading the work from Development Candidate (DC) readiness to entry into early development for one or more transitional E-DPTs of moderate complexity.
  • The Research Project Manager is embedded with and highly autonomous in their day to day work in collaboration with the assigned TRC but serves as part of a research PM team supporting the entire research portfolio under the guidance of and reporting into the Head of Research PM.
  • Accountable for consistent development of integrated cross-functional project timelines, risk assessment and mitigation plans for their assigned programs and managing progress versus plan.
  • Ensure all Development Candidate Selection (DC) decisions are assessed as to their impacts and communicated to stakeholders within R&ED and in particular the Early Development PMs who will take programs forward, in a transparent and timely manner, highlighting the interdependencies and downstream impacts of strategic decisions taken in the research space.
  • Partners with the Early Development Program Lead (E-DPL) to lead development of a strong data package and forward plan at DC. Partner with all functions to ensure optimal resourcing of research teams preparing for entry into Early Development.
  • Facilitates effective, science-based business decisions including development of scenarios (base-case, buy-ups, buy-downs) as needed, highlighting interdependencies and downstream impacts (including but not limited to timelines and budget) of strategic decisions.
  • Ensures all decisions are assessed as to their risks and impacts and ensures mitigation plans are implemented.
  • Accountable for communication to team and stakeholders in a transparent and timely manner.
  • Acts as an integrator within the transitional E-DPT and across the enterprise to ensure alignment and connect best practices
  • Develops and coordinates resource and budget planning across functions to assure adequate resources are applied to the project and any changes are highlighted appropriately
  • Maintain and assess the effectiveness of the team operating model within their assigned teams
  • Coach research teams to drive excellence and accountability, governance expectations and preparation for key decision point discussions with focus on cross-functional input and rigorous debate
  • For projects that are being jointly developed, works closely with a key strategic alliance partner
  • Change Agent for continuous improvement and transformational initiatives within R&ED PM and RDSP


  • Advanced degree in Life Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Physical sciences or other relevant discipline.
  • 10-15 years of experience in the late discovery - early development space, including 5 years leading cross-functional matrix teams in this space.
  • Demonstrated competency in early phase drug development, a solid understanding of disease area and early phase drug development pathway with the ability to contribute to strategic discussions.
  • If prior experience is in leading discovery research teams, must have experience as discovery lead at a global drug development team level with knowledge of requirements supporting IND/CTAs and initiation of Phase 1 studies.
  • Leadership skills including situational leadership, ability to lead a team of experts and influence without authority
  • Demonstrated ability to lead matrix teams, knows how to work at the strategic level with the E-DPL and when to delve deeper to resolve issues and challenges.
  • Experience with commonly used project management tools including but not limited to Microsoft project.
  • Strong communicator able to integrate and succinctly summarize the various parts of a project and effectively tailor messages to audience including senior leaders.
  • Guides transitional E-DPT in preparation of high-quality documents and presentations for review at governance committees
  • Ensures appropriate transitional E-DPT membership during the progression of the program.
  • Ability to resolve complex problems and manage difficult stakeholder situations
  • Ability to lead the development of critical path analyses and scenario planning
  • Excellent Project Management Skills – drives execution while balancing speed, quality, and cost.

Around the world, we are passionate about making an impact on the lives of patients with serious diseases. Empowered to apply our individual talents and diverse perspectives in an inclusive culture, our shared values of passion, innovation, urgency, accountability, inclusion and integrity bring out the highest potential of each of our colleagues.



Posted On: Monday, December 21, 2020

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