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Executive Director, Comparative Medicine

Semma Therapeutics

Semma Therapeutics

Boston, MA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Job Description

General Summary:

Preclinical Sciences is seeking a highly motivated leader to join our Global Preclinical Sciences Organization (PCS) as Head of Comparative Medicine. The candidate has a desire to support the discovery of transformative medicines for the treatment of serious human diseases by leading a high-quality animal care and use program, with animal health and wellbeing being considered essential to scientific rigor and data integrity. The Head of Comparative Medicine will set the strategic direction and broad goals for the department, serve as subject matter expert to the internal and external scientific community in the conscientious care and use of laboratory animals in research, and implement programmatic oversight to meet the needs of the company’s diverse and growing pipeline. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of leading and inspiring diverse teams, a keen interest in collaborating with in vivo scientists to generate high quality preclinical data, a passion for learning, strong communication and organizational skills, and a comprehensive understanding of the use of animal models in biopharmaceutical Research & Development.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Serve as the Head of Comparative Medicine at the Vertex flagship R&D site in Boston, providing strategic oversight to all Vertex R&D sites and ensuring compliance with established company, industry and regulatory standards
  • This position serves as the primary point of contact for site matters, including AAALAC, and other regulatory agencies, and is ultimately responsible for providing and/or overseeing the veterinary care and animal welfare of all animals at the site
  • Responsible for directing all Comparative Medicine operational, scientific and collaborative activities, as well as oversight of regulatory compliance, resources and budget allocation
  • Provide leadership, management and administrative direction to Comparative Medicine staff, students, and interns
  • Responsible for hiring, retaining, and developing a diverse population of colleagues; ensures staff recruitment and professional development to support Vertex’s objectives and future growth
  • Participate in internal compliance assessments, regulatory inspections and accreditation visits as needed, including assistance with maintenance of the AAALAC Program Descriptions and applicable regulatory documentation with oversight of continued AAALAC accreditation at all Vertex R&D sites
  • Perform external site audits to ensure alignment with Vertex policies and animal care, use, and welfare standards
  • Oversee vivarium operations and technical in vivo study support at all Vertex R&D sites through management of local technical teams
  • Participate in clinical veterinary duties, including monitoring preventative health protocols, follow up on health cases reported by animal care technicians, develop treatment and supportive care plans
  • Provide, on a rotational basis, veterinary care support on weekends and holidays
  • Develops and refines departmental strategy, policies, and procedures for Comparative Medicine operations, including written protocols (SOPs) for facility operations
  • Provides direction for laboratory and/or vivarium safety both at a site level and globally and performs veterinary reviews of new animal use protocols and study protocols
  • Member of the Preclinical Sciences Leadership Team
  • Domestic travel to support sites is required, and international travel may be required

Knowledge and Skills:

  • ACLAM board certification
  • Advanced training in laboratory animal medicine
  • Strong collaboration skills to effectively interact with internal or external stakeholders at all levels of the organization and work effectively as a member of a multidisciplinary team across geographically separated sites. Thorough working knowledge of in vivo techniques and animal model used in a biopharmaceutical R&D setting, including familiarity with various therapeutic modalities such as small molecule therapeutics, cell therapy, and gene therapy
  • Comprehensive and in depth understanding of the drug discovery and development process
  • Proven track record with departmental leadership including budgeting, scheduling, performance management, resource allocation, and compliance in the context of an animal care & use program
  • Expert knowledge of laws, regulations, guidelines, and policies dealing with the humane care of use of animals in research

Education and Experience:

  • Veterinary degree (DVM/VMD) from an accredited School of Veterinary Medicine
  • 15 years of relevant experience and 7+ years of leadership/management experience, required



Company Information

Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation.

Vertex is committed to equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination for all employees and qualified applicants without regard to a person's race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, or any characteristic protected under applicable law. Vertex is an E-Verify Employer in the United States. Vertex will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities, in accordance with applicable law.

Any applicant requiring an accommodation in connection with the hiring process and/or to perform the essential functions of the position for which the applicant has applied should make a request to the recruiter or hiring manager, or contact Talent Acquisition at