NTD Director (Neglected Tropical Diseases)

Geneva, Switzerland
[Closing date: 10 February 2018]


Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) (www.dndi.org) is a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization Established in 2003 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. DNDi’s headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland, with seven offices around the globe which are based in Nairobi, Kinshasa, New Delhi, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, and Kuala Lumpur.

The NTD’s programmes aim to develop patient-adapted treatments which are affordable and effective for the poorest of the poor (see DNDi website). The NTD team has a global composition with the core of the team based in Geneva, and growing numbers of team members based in the Regional Offices involved in clinical trials. NTD’s initiative is focused on HAT, Leishmaniasis, Filarial, Mycetoma, and Chagas portfolio with conducting clinical development and identifying new opportunities across the value chain, from NCE to late-stage drug development and access of affordable drugs for neglected patients.


Purpose of the position

The Director for NTD initiative takes the leadership in defining and supervising the clinical development and access programme strategy for the current NTD portfolio and identifying new opportunities in the future across the value chain, from NCE to late stage development, access to affordable drugs, and ensuring success of clinical development of new therapies. The Director of the NTD programme is a veteran of the drug development industry, preferably with expertise/public health programmes for low income countries as well as middle income and mature economies, and strong knowledge of clinical development. S/he knows how to make the economic argument work for placing DNDi’s treatments at an affordable price to benefit the neglected patient. A strong leader, managing a team in Geneva, operations across three continents and DNDi offices plus partner organizations, the Director of NTD programme is expected to deliver on programme objectives and ensure future growth of the pipeline. The Director is expected to represent DNDi at a global level, communicating at high level conferences and events to promote partnerships between private and public sector and advocating for removing barriers to access and treatment. The Director is expected to maintain and grow a large network of stakeholders and partners.


Specific job responsibilities

  • Act as the leader for the NTD portfolio on disease area and project goals in the fields of sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, filarial infections, and mycetoma. Leads a balanced risk assessment of portfolio and project strengths and makes recommendations to executive team on priority setting
  • Accountable for reviewing and approving the disease strategies and supporting the translation of strategies to effective operational plans and deliveries
  • Lead and advice the heads of diseases in adapting strategies based on careful evaluation of situations and opportunities
  • Develop the annual plan / budget and planning + resources for the NTD development plan and access
  • Ensure clinical development plans are developed, updated, and monitored
  • Ensure clinical development and implementation, projects run on time and according to plan, and takes corrective action when necessary
  • Secure a smooth transition from discovery and translational projects to clinical development projects
  • Accountable for sound NTD project portfolio management in concert with disease area leaders
  • Orchestrate a complex programme management, composed of senior team management through clear delegation of roles and responsibilities, operations and delivery planning, monitoring stakeholders and partner’s, careful management and maintaining of key advocacy/government relationships
  • In collaboration with the R&D director, the Discovery Director, the Head of CMC and the Head of Translation, ensure end-to-end planning and execution of R&D projects
  • Supervise the detailed planning of annual work and business planning, with careful setting of timelines and milestones
  • Responsible for the organization and leading of monthly portfolio review meetings and reports on progress and issues to the executive team
  • Collaborate with the BD Director on business development opportunities. Identifie new partners for the NTD’s programmes as well as potential new programmes
  • Collaboration with Finance/planning, Fundraising and Communication to support the portfolio of NTDs
  • In concert with the Executive Director and the executive team, maintain good relations at high levels with stakeholders in the NTD programmes and keep abreast of political developments to ensure DNDi remains on top of the latest developments
  • Responsible for developing and implementing an access strategy and plan for the products, in collaboration with the DNDi regional offices and local stakeholders/partners.
  • Responsible under the supervision of the R&D Director for the systematic scientific review of the projects as well as the strategic milestones/stage gates.
  • With the R&D Director, is accountable for a careful review of documents presented to the DNDi’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)


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 communication, and public speaking skills, ability to convince and represent DNDi at high level events
  • Knowledge of managing global multicultural teams
  • Highly organized and structured
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Excellent ability to lead large strategic programmes
  • Excellent ability to manage organization wide programmes with budget management
  • Excellent strategic thinking and leadership abilities
  • Excellent management, negotiation, and advocacy skills
  • Excellent ability to exercise high degree of independence to ensure programme 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

  • Knowledge of Drug Discovery/ Development
  • Excellent knowledge of Clinical Research/ Development
  • Knowledge of Regulatory (GCP, GLP and GMP)
  • Excellent knowledge of disease/ academia knowledge
  • Strong command of technical writing skills (procedures, protocols and reports)


  • Minimum 17 years’ relevant experience at senior management level and 20 years of management experience
  • Experience with public health programmes and liaising with appropriate government structures (MoH, regulatory bodies), preferably in several regions of the world is an asset
  • Experience in the pharmaceutical industry is an asset
  • 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


  • MD is a requirement
  • Postgraduate studies in life sciences, pharmacology or equivalent is an asset
  • Executive management training or managerial certification
  • Ph.D. in public health or related fields is an asset

Other requirements

  • Fluency in English
  • Proficiency in other languages desirable
  • Willingness and ability to travel globally
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Suite


Reporting line

  • S/he reports to the Executive Director of DNDi to implement the plan and has a secondary reporting line to the R&D Director for scientific evaluation of the projects
  • S/he supervises five Disease Programme Heads (senior managers) + collaborators on BD, Finance planning, Communication and FR



  • S/he represents NTD’s initiative at the highest level
  • Interacts with Initiative Directors and members of the Extended Executive team to ensure organizational coherence and strategy alignment of initiative vs global strategy and business plans
  • S/he creates networks and relationships to expand programme interaction and bring resources or expertise
  • S/he works with DNDi transversal teams and departments, such as Pharmaceutical Development, Medical Affairs, Discovery, External Affairs and Operations


To apply

  • Deadline for application: Accepting applications until 10 February 2018
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.