GARDP Scientific Director

Geneva, Switzerland
[Closing date: April 9, 2017]


Established in 2003, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization that develops new, improved, and affordable medicines for deadly neglected diseases that afflict millions of the world’s poorest people.

DNDi focuses on discovering and developing treatments for sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, filarial infections, paediatric HIV, mycetoma, and hepatitis C. In 2016, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, DNDi launched the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, a not-for-profit research and development organization to develop new antibiotic treatments addressing antimicrobial resistance and to promote their responsible use for optimal conservation, while ensuring equitable access for all.

Since its inception, DNDi has developed seven new treatments for neglected patients for malaria, sleeping sickness, visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, paediatric HIV with several new drug candidates in the R&D pipeline including two for sleeping sickness. Our objective is to deliver 16 to 18 new treatments by 2023, ensure equitable access to these treatments, and build a robust pipeline of new drug candidates.

The Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) is a not-for-profit research and development organization that addresses global public health needs by developing and delivering new or improved antibiotic treatments, while endeavoring to ensure sustainable access. Initiated and incubated through close collaboration between WHO and Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), GARDP is part of the implementation of the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance that calls for new public-private partnerships for encouraging research and development of new antimicrobial agents and diagnostics.

GARDP’s mission is to work in partnership with the public and private sectors, to develop and deliver new treatments for bacterial infections where drug resistance is present or emerging, or for which inadequate treatment exists.

GARDP is currently hosted and facilitated by DNDi, which provides the scientific environment, necessary personnel, and infrastructure to ensure an effective start-up phase.


Purpose of the position

The GARDP Scientific Director, in close collaboration with the other GARDP Directors, works to develop the overall R&D strategy as well as the specific drug development projects which will form the initial activities. S/he is responsible for procuring, overseeing, and directing all discovery and development projects undertaken by GARDP (including discovery, development, science, and regulatory aspects). S/he therefore provides strategic and scientific leadership for the overall scientific strategy and action plan not only during the GARDP incubation period of two years, including the first year of business plan, but also will support GARDP’s transition from the incubation period into a dedicated structure with a solid drug development strategy and pipeline. S/he is responsible for advancing GARDP’s pharmaceutical development activities and is capable of building a team from scratch. S/he reports to the GARDP Director.


Specific Job Responsibilities

Identify and evaluate GARDP R&D projects

  • Gain extensive insight into the state-of-the-art of drug discovery and drug development and innovations in the field of antibiotic treatments.
  • Lead the development of portfolios for target diseases and define and refine target product profiles (TPPs).
  • Develop and review the portfolios, disease strategies, and target product profiles (TPPs) for each target disease.
  • Provide oversight on building the necessary project management tools.

Implement GARDP research and development

  • Oversee (through direct or matrix management) of all operational issues for discovery and development projects.
  • Support Project Managers in building R&D plans and project schedules.
  • Evaluate progress of each project to ensure that GARDP resources are being put to best use and that the project will meet all critical success factors.
  • Implement a project monitoring and review system, including establishment and overview of internal advisory groups and subcommittees.
  • Recruit, motivate, organize training and manage GARDP Portfolio Development, Regulatory Affairs, and Project Managers within a balanced R&D team.

Develop relationships with potential partners

  • Act as the most senior scientific contact for GARDP
  • Provide feedback to GARDP on the scientific capabilities and resources of potential partners.
  • Support the GARDP Business Strategy and Development Director in identifying, evaluating, and establishing new relationships with potential partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and contract research/manufacturing. industries (search and evaluation process).

Supervise Portfolio development

  • Work with the GARDP Business Strategy and Development Director and licensing experts to understand and protect GARDP interests in clinical and regulatory concerns.
  • Master pharmaceutical regulatory requirements and processes for major international agencies, including trends and specific requirements for antibiotics.

Contribute and attend the GARDP Scientific Advisory Committee

  • Contribute to building a network of scientific experts including individuals who could serve on the GARD Scientific Advisory Committee.
  • Prepare and attend all meetings as the primary scientific expert and responsible of the executive.
  • Review, with the GARDP Director, the internal and external review process of each funded R&D project, and take scientific decisions on termination or continued support.

Additional /specific/projects responsibilities

In the first two years, the Scientific Director will specifically achieve the following:

  • In close collaboration with the initial small core team, identify short-medium term projects, analyze their scientific rationale and risk/benefit and initiate a set of pilot projects.
  • Build a pipeline of medium- to long-term opportunities and establish effective methodology to ensure the projects progress through the drug development pipeline.
  • Build a network of scientific and industry experts to advise and support the scientific strategy and initial projects.


Job Requirements

Skills and Attributes

  • Excellent ability to use initiative, prioritize, multi-task, and work well under pressure to meet deadlines.
  • Very clear and systematic thinking that demonstrates strong judgment and problem solving competencies.
  • Excellent communication skills in multicultural, multi-lingual environments.
  • Excellent ability to work effectively as part of a multicultural team.
  • Highly organized and structured.
  • Excellent analytical skills.
  • Excellent ability to lead large strategic programs.
  • Excellent ability to manage organization wide programs with budget management.
  • Excellent strategic thinking and leadership abilities as defined in the leadership competency model.
  • Excellent management, negotiation, and advocacy skills.
  • Excellent ability to exercise high degree of independence to ensure program delivery and explore new areas of activities.
  • Excellent ability to interact with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Excellent ability to lead and motivate a team for optimum performance.

R&D Technical Skills

  • Senior executive experience (10-15 years) in managing drug research and development programmes in the biotech / pharmaceutical industry.
  • Vast and proven experience in development of antibiotics, spanning discovery to clinical research.
  • Possess solid R&D networks
  • Ideally some exposure to clinical R&D in low- and middle-income countries.


  • Minimum 17 years’ relevant experience.
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a team environment and matrix structure is critical.
  • Experience building and leading teams in a startup environment.
  • Proven track record in resource mobilization / business development.
  • Experience of working in R&D is mandatory.


  • Master degree or Ph.D. in Life Science or Pharmaceutical Chemistry.


Other requirements

  • Fluency in English.
  • Proficiency in local languages desirable.
  • Willingness and ability to travel globally.
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Suite.
  • Based in Geneva, extensive travel.


To apply

  • Open until April 9, 2017.
  • As an exclusive partner, ODGERS BERNDTSON has been tasked to undertake the recruitment for this position. We thank you for sending your application to Mr Norman Nashed at: 
    For further information please call +41 43 344 31 31.