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Global Project Leader / Senior Global Project Leader/ Oncology

Location Waltham, Massachusetts, United States Cambridge, England, United Kingdom Job ID R-082991 Date posted 05/28/2020

Global Project Leader / Senior Global Project Leader in Oncology Research and Early Development

AstraZeneca is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, with strong positions in many therapeutic areas of the global pharmaceutical market.

At AstraZeneca we work together across global boundaries to make an impact and find answers to challenges.  We do this with the upmost integrity even in the most difficult situations because we are committed to doing the right thing.

AstraZeneca’s Research & Development is based in a number of centres of excellence with state-of-the-art facilities in Sweden, United Kingdom and North America, including an important site in Waltham, MA. 


Within AstraZeneca, the Oncology Research and Early Development (Early Oncology) unit has the accountability for all activities in small molecule oncology research up to the start of Phase 3 clinical studies.  The unit aims to deliver compelling preclinical, clinical and translational data packages providing confidence in the dosing strategy, tolerability profile and therapeutic efficacy of our candidate drugs to support investment in late stage clinical development.

We are looking for a high calibre candidate to lead the development and execution of the product strategy for one or more projects (both clinical and/or pre-clinical). The individual will develop a range of strategic and tactical options, secure governance and budget approval, and secure cross-functional resource for the projects and then take accountability for execution, monitoring and reporting of progress / issues. The individual will articulate the project goals, strategy and the underlying science and clinical need to internal and external audiences with clarity and credibility.

In this role you will work with other project leaders, scientific and clinical leaders and external experts to develop integrated project plans which can be delivered across functional boundaries including the delivery of platform studies, non-interventional studies and multi-drug (‘basket’) trials.  You will ensure that diverse views within the team are heard and that a strongly empowered and motivated team is created.

You will demonstrate highly visible leadership within the oncology community, both within AZ and externally, and support the broader goals of Early Oncology beyond the projects they hold accountability for.  In this role, you will develop strong networks with the disease area leadership, downstream customers and with external experts will articulate the unmet clinical need and the commercial opportunity addressed by Early Oncology projects.

Key Deliverables

As a Project Leader

  • Lead projects from preclinical Lead Optimisation Investment Decision to clinical Proof of Concept (PoC):
  • Responsible for all aspects of project strategy including preclinical, translational, clinical development, patient selection, regulatory, paediatric, intellectual property, CMC and Asian development strategy
  • Development of the Target Product Profile, ensuring alignment with disease area strategy and late stage development
  • Accountable for the delivery of project according to quality, time, budgets and resources
  • Ensure, together with functional leaders in and outside Early Oncology, that the project team is appropriately resourced and ensure resources from functions are managed effectively in the project team
  • Ensure that there are robust processes, plans and data to enable Governance Bodies to make investment decisions and prioritise projects across the portfolio.


  • Create a vibrant, entrepreneurial and externally facing team focused on the delivery of successful PoCs that supports the overall oncology business through effective collaboration
  • Build a culture which values focused innovation, is open to challenge and new ideas and allows all team members to deliver to their maximum through an open and inclusive culture

Talent Management & Development

  • Provide high quality feedback and coaching to deployed reports and mentor key talent in the organization
  • Collaborate with other Project Leaders, the oncology combinations group, and deployed functions to build outstanding project leadership within the Early Oncology


  • Champion projects, the broader AZ portfolio and disease area science to build external profile and support portfolio development
  • Develop key external networks to access external talent and assets

As a member of the Early Oncology Projects group

  • Support development of a winning disease area strategy, driving portfolio value
  • Share responsibility for the delivery of sufficient successful PoCs, demonstrating therapeutic relevance, with high probability of successful market access and delivery of valuable new medicines
  • Support portfolio delivery by seeking the appropriate tiering for their own projects and supporting higher priority projects led by others when appropriate

Essential Requirements – Education, Experience and Capabilities


  • Advanced degree in life sciences, MD and/or PhD or equivalent



  • Deep knowledge and broad experience (likely ≥5 years) of drug discovery and early development including significant experience of cross-functional project team working. 
  • Good awareness of the Oncology therapeutic area: current and emerging treatment pathways in major tumor types
  • Demonstrated leadership and decision making in a cross-functional project team environment and at significant governance interactions
  • Good awareness of commercial, regulatory, and broader strategic aspects of drug development and understanding of relevance of competitor environment
  • Demonstrated experience of building external networks and fostering effective relationships with external experts


  • Proven leadership skills in delivering projects
  • Proven enterprise leadership skills in working to maximise value of whole portfolio


  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and with an entrepreneurial mindset.  Partners effectively with colleagues from wider business to ensure alignment
  • Has built high performing teams:
  • Building a shared team vision
  • Building team culture which values innovation and is open to challenge
  • Has built high levels of credibility with key senior stakeholders, both internal and external network of experts. 
  • Has strong communication skills with the ability to describe complex issues concisely & effectively and secure stakeholder buy in to cross functional investment proposals
  • Is resilient: able driving team performance and delivering plans whilst under pressure.  Able to distil out key issues in complex problems and proactive in identifying potential solutions
  • Is decisive: Highly effective in dealing with ambiguity and reducing complexity

Next Steps – Apply today!

To be considered for this exciting opportunity, please complete the full application on our website at your earliest convenience – it is the only way that our Recruiter and Hiring Manager can know that you feel well qualified for this opportunity.  If you know someone who would be a great fit, please share this posting with them.

AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorisation and employment eligibility verification requirements.

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Great culture, great work assignments, supportive management. Rotation opportunity within the company. They value inclusion and diversity.