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Sr. Scientist, Translational Oncology, Onkaido

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POST DATE 9/8/2016
END DATE 1/5/2017

Moderna Therapeutics Cambridge, MA

Cambridge, MA
AJE Ref #
Job Classification
Full Time
Job Type
Company Ref #
Mid-Career (2 - 15 years)
Doctoral Degree


Sr. Scientist, Translational Oncology, Onkaido


Onkaido Therapeutics is a Moderna Venture focused on discovering and developing messenger RNA therapeutics. The application of novel cancer immunotherapy approaches forms a substantial component of the core business. Onkaido is committed to understanding the biological principles that determine which patients will derive clinical benefit from modulation of specific immunologic targets, and providing appropriate combination therapies accordingly. As a result, Onkaido is seeking a Sr. Scientist, Translational Oncology to lead the evaluation and understanding of differential response of patients with cancer to mRNA-based immunotherapies.

The role involves interrogating and reporting data derived from patient samples obtained from Onkaido clinical trials, as well as collaborating with Onkaido Research to establishing appropriate preclinical systems for hypothesis generation and testing. Ultimately, it is envisioned that the program will result in the development of predictive diagnostic biomarker assays to support clinical development of novel mRNA-based therapies for cancer, as well as to feed information back to the Research scientists to guide discovery and development of novel combination approaches.

Due to the translational nature of the work, the position is part of the Onkaido Development Organization but will work closely with the Research group and with Moderna scientists. In the first instance the position holder will report directly to the President of Onkaido although this is subject to change. The ideal candidate will have a strong knowledge and track record of high-impact research in tumor immuno-biology, a determination to understand what drives patient outcomes to novel cancer therapies, and a strong desire to make a significant impact on cancer outcomes. Prior experience in biomarker discovery or diagnostics would be an advantage but not critical for success in the role.


* Work closely with Onkaido Research teams, Onkaido/Moderna clinical teams, collaborators and CROs to develop and test hypotheses that could determine which patients are likely to respond to Onkaido mRNA therapies

* Validate fit-for-purpose biomarker assays, providing supporting in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo data as appropriate, including primary cell cultures and patient samples

* Participate in Oncology team meetings to analyze, report and interpret data

* Maintain expertise in the field of immuno-oncology biology as it pertains to biomarker discovery and patient outcomes, through keeping abreast of literature, attending relevant meetings, and liason with external experts in the field

* Work with contract research organizations and co-ordinate activities and timelines with Development teams to ensure seamless execution of biomarker capabilities to support clinical trials

* Contribute to reports, regulatory submissions and presentations


* Ph.D in cancer biology with 6+ years of post-Doctoral experience, either in industry or academic setting

* Demonstrated excellence in oncology research through a track record of high impact publications

* Experience with a range of laboratory analytical technologies including DNA/RNA analysis, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry and immunoassays

* Experience with cutting edge next-generation assays such as NGS profiling, Nanostring, CyTOF and analysis of multi-omics data for assay discovery and optimization


* Experience in Oncology biomarker development in the pharmaceutical industry or academia, particularly in the Immuno-Oncology setting

* Demonstrated success in the integration of preclinical research and clinical drug development


* Strong work ethic

* Demonstrated desire to ensure the success of the team above success of the individual

* Technical expertise

* Scientific rigor

* Attention to detail

* Results orientated

* Readily adaptable to change and new challenges

* Highly effective oral and written communication skills