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Associate Director, Research Partnerships (Industry Engagement)

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease in our lifetime. The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus—thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s disease research worldwide, having funded more than $850 million in research projects in academic and industry labs worldwide. We exist to put ourselves out of business, so we deliberately hold no endowment but instead spend what we raise quickly and efficiently; 88 cents of every dollar spent goes directly to research programs. Core to our philosophy is how we think of our capital and its risk profile relative to other stakeholders in the drug development pipeline. We work aggressively to de-risk various treatment ideas and tools in the hopes of building a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients. Today, the Foundation has about 140 full-time employees.

Within MJFF, Research Partnerships supports the Foundation’s mission of developing improved Parkinson’s therapies through its focus on four key activities:  1) driving business development by establishing partnerships with various stakeholders, including biopharma, government, nonprofits, health care providers and patients; 2) developing and managing clinical studies that inform drug development and disease understanding; 3) promoting data accessibility and sharing across the Parkinson’s and broad neuroscience community; and 4) integrating the patient experience and viewpoint across the research spectrum.  This position is focused on developing partnerships with various stakeholders with a focus on industry (pharma, biotech, and health tech).

Position Description: 

MJFF helps industry get better treatments to patients faster.

There are huge unmet patient needs in Parkinson’s. We build partnerships with companies invested in Parkinson’s disease to accelerate drug discovery through clinical development and to ensure that new therapies that come to market make it into the hands of people with Parkinson’s. We actively partner with the pharmaceutical and biotech industry in a variety of ways including funding research projects, consulting on therapeutic development and clinical operation plans, developing pre-competitive multi-stakeholder consortia, and facilitating connections with the Parkinson’s patient community. 

By joining MJFF as an Associate Director, you will play a critical role in cultivating partnerships and developing programs designed to increase the Foundation’s engagement with industry.   The job enables you to collaborate cross-functionally with diverse internal colleagues, members of the scientific community, and the industry sector. The position also provides you opportunities to develop and manage partnership programs with a focus on aligning novel projects with MJFF’s mission and inserting strategic business input and oversight.  You will report to the Director of Research Partnerships while engaging in frequent, direct interactions with senior leadership across MJFF and leading drug development companies globally.

As Associate Director of Business Development your primary roles and responsibilities include:

  • Manage a portfolio of relationships with companies (e.g. pharmaceutical, biotech, health-tech) invested in Parkinson’s with a focus on relationship stewardship – deepening alliances with existing partners and cultivating new collaborations and contacts (individuals and companies)
  • Act as external partner’s liaison and consistent point of contact at MJFF; facilitate handoffs with technical experts and sub-teams across MJFF departments to accelerate collaborative research and educational programs
  • Evaluate industry sector R&D portfolios using primary and secondary research to provide objective, in-depth understanding of the PD drug development landscape, players, and challenges in order to prioritize MJFF’s internal intellectual and financial industry engagement tactics
  • Provide insights, analyses and strategic recommendations to C-suite management at MJFF to support dynamic partnership cultivation based on key industry sector challenges for PD therapeutic development
  • Identify synergies between individual company needs and MJFF-scientific and educational priorities to develop and pitch proposals for partnership and/or sponsorship; provide recommendations to align MJFF engagement strategies and initiatives with industry sector practices
  • Act as a strategic internal spokesperson to frame and address key programmatic research questions with the goal of identifying partnership opportunities that advance MJFF’s mission
  • Communicate MJFF research, policy, and educational activities across relevant internal and external forums (e.g. industry-relevant conferences, workshops, partnering meetings); share information and broadly inform key decision makers; embed a holistic MJFF point-of-view into investments in industry partnership opportunities

Technical Skills and Competencies:

As Associate Director of Business Development, you will play an integral role in executing MJFF’s industry partnership strategy, gaining a full understanding of our relationships with various biotech and pharmaceutical companies and continuing to build on those existing relationships to create new mechanisms for partnership. 

An outstanding Associate Director is a self-starter who can delve into projects that support aggressive organizational goals while prioritizing multiple concurrent relationships and initiatives involving internal and external stakeholders.  Excellent communication (written, verbal and presentation) and interpersonal skills are a must.  The best candidates will also have experience in business development or client management.  The role demands the ability to quickly learn, think on one's feet, and understand and communicate scientific information at a high standard – a background in drug development, pharmaceutical industry and/or the healthcare sector is a bonus though not required.  This is a fulltime onsite position located in New York City and is not conducive to telecommuting.  The Associate Director must also be willing to travel as needed.

Ideal candidates will also bring:

  • Ability to think big picture and strategically, while maintaining excellent attention to detail
  • Sophisticated project and relationship management skills, ideally with 3-5 years’ experience managing a portfolio comprised of complex multi-party projects and/or relationships; ability to balance multiple initiatives and prioritize activities
  • External relationship management focus with strong networking capabilities and integration with individuals from all levels of an organization; ability to understand individual stakeholder goals and objectives 
  • Exceptional communication skills – can readily align his/her interpersonal style with the individual needs of internal and external partners; can understand, translate and distill complex, technical findings into clear and simple information that enables decision making
  • Experience leading and achieving results through matrixed organizations
  • Commitment to teamwork; ability to collaborate and manage projects with and through others; ability to influence action without direct authority
  • Non-compensated leadership experience (community outreach, committee involvement)
  • Willingness to adapt when necessary; comfortable with ambiguity and flexible to changing business dynamics and priorities

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit resume, links to a portfolio or relevant work samples, and thoughtful cover letter describing specific qualifications and interest in the position. To apply, please click on this link. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered. Please, no telephone inquiries and do not contact our staff directly. Only applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted. 

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

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