NTD Product Development Planning Leader

Geneva, Switzerland
[Closing date: 20 December 


Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a collaborative, patients’ needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that is developing new treatments for neglected diseases (www.dndi.org)

The DNDi NTD Initiative is dedicated to the clinical development and access plans for the 5 following neglected tropical disease areas: human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, filarial diseases, and mycetoma. The Initiative is responsible for designing the strategy, conducting and reporting the research, as well as ensuring resources and managing budget from phase 1b/proof of concept up until policy change. The team is equally based in Geneva office as well as well as in our offices located in Africa, Asia, and South America.


Purpose of the position

The NTD Product Development Planning Leader will be the focal point for ensuring project management excellence across the NTD Initiative. Working closely with project teams, Heads of diseases, and senior management, this individual will ensure that up to date, high quality, business-relevant information is available to define project milestones, track progression, and manage risks. S/he will be responsible for planning and ensuring the timely execution of the clinical development plan of the NTD pipeline of drugs being tested with the objective of being registered and made accessible to patients in relevant geographic locations. S/he ensures the planning and tracking of product development activities in accordance with the clinical development, regulatory, and access strategies. The NTD Product Development Planning Leader is responsible for effecting efficient and optimized project management of these workstreams.


Specific job responsibilities

Project management & planning

  • Accountable for ensuring the proper project management practices across the NTD Initiative by implementing a product management framework and tracking progress
  • Work closely with the R&D Portfolio Planning Leader, the finance and fundraising leadership to develop and implement a consistent planning framework and scheduling tools (from overall business planning to Initiative/disease strategies and project operational planning) ensuring increased alignment between (a) programme goals and project operational plans, (b) financial and human resources needs, and (c) budget and expenditures management
  • Provide support for development and implementation of a planning framework for activities such as setting up and running clinical trials to improve consistency and efficiency across all disease and relevant geographic areas
  • Participate in maintenance and ensure the use of a standard DNDi scheduling tool in partnership with the R&D Portfolio Planning Leader
  • Optimize development timelines as well as financial and human resources required to meet registration and access objectives
  • Coordinate the product development strategies of the NTD teams for the successful registration, launch, and uptake of the products by end-users through feasibility/risk analysis involving or led by relevant colleagues
  • Work with Heads of diseases to ensure that every project has a realistic, achievable schedule, including all major activities and milestones
  • Ensure that schedules are updated on a regular basis and after major changes
  • Work with Heads of diseases and project team members to understand and document the planning assumptions and constraints for each project
  • Provide regular updates on project and portfolio progress to the NTD Director, including understanding the reasons for change, assessment of risks, identification of opportunities, etc.
  • Produce summary reports of project and portfolio delivery against milestones for use by the NTD Director and relevant internal stakeholders (including the Executive team)
  • Train, mentor, and support project staff, as required, in scheduling, risk management, and other aspects of project management to ensure consistent performance across the disease areas and project teams
  • Work closely with BD, Legal, and Procurement teams to ensure partners’ and providers’ contributions and constraints are effectively integrated in overall planning and coordination

Financial management and budgeting

  • Coordinate the development of entire project budgets for the duration of the projects, and ensure coherence with global programmes’ action plans together with Heads of diseases/delegates with the support of the Finance team
  • Ensure with the Finance team that the clinical teams (in regional offices and Geneva) understand and control the budget and are accountable for their expenditure against the budget
  • Support the Finance team and Fundraising team to produce/prepare intermediate and final financial reports

Resource management and fundraising

  • Work with the Fundraising team to prepare grant/fundraising proposals and donor reports
  • Contribute to identify funding gaps
  • In collaboration with the Fundraising team, review earmarked proposals and reports before sending to donors
  • Work with the HR team on administration of consultant contracts; support the NTD Director on the preparation of team retreats, drafting role & responsibility charters, job descriptions, and staffing plans for the NTD programmes


Job requirements

Skills and attributes

  • High 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 and good public speaking skills
  • Knowledge of managing global multicultural teams
  • Highly organized and structured
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • High ability to lead large strategic/large size projects, including budget management
  • Very strong strategic thinking and leadership abilities
  • Excellent management, negotiation, and advocacy skills
  • High ability to interact with internal and external stakeholders
  • Strong soft skills

R&D technical skills

  • Excellent knowledge of drug development project management
  • Good knowledge of drug discovery/development
  • Excellent knowledge of clinical research/development
  • Good knowledge of drug regulation and registration requirements (GCP, GLP, and GMP)
  • Excellent technical writing skills (dossiers, procedures, protocols and reports, grant applications)


  • Over 10 years in senior portfolio management / product planning & development role, preferably in the pharma/biotech industry
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a team environment and matrix structure
  • Proven track record in project management


  • Master’s degree or PhD in relevant field; diploma in the relevant scientific area
  • Project management certification or equivalent degree is a plus

Other requirements

  • Fluency in English
  • Proficiency in local languages desirable
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Suite


Reporting line

  • S/he reports to the NTD Director, who is the primary manager, and has a secondary dotted reporting line to the R&D Portfolio Planning Leader
  • S/he is the first supervisor of the NTD Finance & Planning Manager



  • Works closely with NTD disease teams, R&D transverse functions, Fundraising, and Operations teams
  • Interacts with the R&D Portfolio Planning Leader and works under his guidance to maintain coherence in DNDi‘s portfolio planning
  • Member of the NTD Core Management team
  • Member of the Planning-Resource-Budget Transverse Committee


Other information

  • Status: full time – permanent role


To apply

  • Deadline for application: Accepting applications until 20 December 2018
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted