R&D Liaison

Tokyo, Japan
[Closing date: 31 March 2020


Established in 2003 the 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.

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 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 was hosted and facilitated initially by DNDi, in order to provide the scientific environment, necessary personnel, and infrastructure to ensure an effective start-up phase. As of 1 January 2019, GARDP established itself as a legal identity, nevertheless keeping strong links with DNDi, that are formulated by a 3 year Collaborative Agreement. As part of this agreement, the R&D Transverse team Leadership, Policy and Advocacy Leadership will be shared by the two organizations.

After 15 years of sustained growth, DNDi has built a team of approximately 200 full-time employees working across nine offices (Geneva, Rio de Janeiro, Kinshasa, Nairobi, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Tokyo, and Cape Town). DNDi began working in Japan in 2004, supporting the development of discovery projects and building its profile and donor relationships. Based in Tokyo, the DNDi Japan Liaison Office exists to develop relationships and collaboration with academia, pharmaceutical companies, the media, and the Japanese government to support the mission of DNDi.


Purpose of the position

The R&D Liaison is responsible for providing support in Japan to R&D project activities managed by DNDi and GARDP in collaboration with Japanese partners, together with the Scientific Liaison. He or she will also be expected to work with Business Development, Fundraising, and Communications teams where needed to support DNDi and GARDP in raising the profile of NTDs and AMR, DNDi and GARDP open innovation R&D model, and secure funds for R&D projects in Japan. This position is based in Tokyo.


Specific job responsibilities

  • Support R&D team with DNDi’s and GARDP ‘s local project activities and building of trustful relationships with Japanese partners
  • Assist Business Development (BD) Directors in defining business opportunities and establishing collaboration
  • Provide scientific assistance to DNDi Japan’s activities in support of R&D – communications, fundraising, and advocacy

Support project activities and maintain trustful relationships with current strategic partners in collaboration with DNDi’s and GARDP’s global R&D team, especially basic research, discovery, and pre-clinical

  • Provide support to the Discovery team in the areas of:
    • Support for local drug discovery networks
    • Project meetings – agenda, minutes, reports on local drug discovery status
    • Review of Japanese scientific literature and visit to research institutes for identification of potential new screening tools and chemical series of interest
    • Follow projects with Japanese partners closely with regular visits and meetings to provide partners with support on a timely basis in close cooperation with the Geneva team
    • Organize visits for R&D team (Chagas/Leishmaniasis/Discovery/AMR)/BD team
    • Report result of interaction with local partners to GARDP and explore further action
  • Liaise with local partners and internal stakeholders at DNDi and GARDP for clarity and understanding to ensure robust management of the partnerships
  • Facilitate DNDi’s and GARDP’s access to relevant science/technologies
  • Maintain an accurate understanding of DNDi’s and GARDP’s global R&D direction and continuously keep track of the disease strategies
  • Provide clarity and problem solving to maintain a fluid and transparent relationship with Japanese partners
    • Provide partners with up-to-date information
    • Provide partners with advice and context on current DNDi and GARDP R&D directions

Support DNDi and GARDP to establish new collaborations and gain broader access to our current partners’ resources in collaboration with the Geneva BD and R&D teams

  • Assisting BD Directors in defining business opportunities and establishing collaboration
  • Reinforce local BD support capacity and improve the quality of local–global coordination in approaching and following up with potential partners.
  • Prepare in close cooperation with Geneva the proposals/slides in Japanese, and fine-tune DNDi’s and GARDP’s project strategies in adjustment to the local context/logic flow
  • Keep Geneva team informed of the target company’s current business portfolio and R&D strategy for developing effective proposals/strategy

Provide scientific assistance to DNDi Japan’s activities in support of R&D – communications, fundraising, and advocacy

  • Participate in meetings with donors where necessary
  • Participate in scientific conferences
  • Help conduct high quality advocacy from a scientific/medical viewpoint
  • Support organization of seminars, symposia, etc.
  • Support production of DNDi and GARDP communication tools by ensuring correct use of scientific terminologies

The above list of responsibilities is not exhaustive, and you may be required to undertake other responsibilities appropriate to your grade. This job description may be subject to review.


Reporting line

  • S/he reports primarily to the Discovery Director (DNDi) based in Geneva and the Head of DNDi Japan Regional Office
  • With Secondary reporting to GARDP R&D Director based in Geneva for all activities related to GARDP


Job requirements

Skills and attributes

  • Very strong communication skills in multicultural, multi-lingual environments
  • Very strong ability to work effectively as part of a multicultural team
  • Very strong 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
  • Very well organized and structured
  • Very strong analytical skills
  • Very strong ability to lead project delivery
  • Very strong ability to manage large size projects with budget management
  • Strong strategic thinking and leadership abilities
  • Very strong management, negotiation, and advocacy skills
  • Very strong ability to exercise high degree of independence to support programme delivery and explore new areas of activities
  • Very strong ability to interact with internal and external stakeholders
  • Lead and motivate a team for optimum performance, supervising junior staff

R&D technical skills

  • Life science background
  • Pharma Industry background
  • Excellent knowledge of Drug Discovery/Development
  • Good knowledge of Clinical Research/Development/CMC
  • Excellent knowledge of Regulatory (GCP, GLP and GMP)
  • Excellent technical writing skills (procedures, protocols and reports)


  • Over 5 years in Senior role
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a team environment and matrix structure
  • Experience of working in public and private sector is highly desirable


  • A successful candidate will have a postgraduate degree in a discipline relevant to Drug Discovery (e.g. Chemistry, Biology, Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology, Formulation, etc.)
  • PhD can be a plus

Other requirements

  • Fluency in English
  • Native level in Japanese
  • Cultural fluency and ability to navigate between Japanese and global business practices
  • Very good knowledge of Microsoft Suite


Other information

  • Status: part-time at 80 %


To apply

  • Deadline for application: accepting applications until 31 March 2020
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted 
  • Application submission for this position may close early if we have enough suitable applicants