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Job Details

Merck & Co. Inc.

Director, Vaccines Biophysical Characterization



Full Time

On Site


West Point, Pennsylvania, United States

Job Description

The Molecular & Materials Characterization (MMC) department within Analytical Research & Development is seeking a highly motivated leader with a passion for people development who is interested in positively impacting our Company’s vaccines pipeline from discovery to launch. This position is for the Director of the Vaccines Biophysical Characterization team at our West Point, PA site.

The Director, Vaccines Biophysical Characterization, is responsible for providing strategic and technical leadership for biophysical characterization of vaccine candidates in our Company's portfolio from discovery to launch. The core responsibility of the successful candidate will be to provide strategic leadership for phase appropriate bioanalytical and physical analyses enabling deep understanding of drug substances and drug products across the vaccines portfolio and will require strong collaboration with analytical, formulation, and process development teams, as well as our partners in commercialization and manufacturing.

The Director reports to the Executive Director, Molecular & Materials Characterization, and will be directly responsible for a team of approximately 10 of our Company's scientists. This team is accountable for delivering biophysical characterization methodologies and expertise to enable deep biophysical investigations to ensure successful advancement of vaccines from discovery through development and commercial launch. Enhanced complexity of the vaccine portfolio requires strategic focus on biophysical characterization capabilities and workflows. To impact this complex portfolio, the Director will focus on building enhanced partnerships with drug substance and drug product colleagues. More specifically, this individual will be expected to strengthen partnerships with process and formulation development teams as well as increase synergies with analytical partners to influence decisions around process and product optimization and definition. They will also partner with leaders within the expanded Molecular & Materials Characterization department to purposefully expand automation and advanced characterization capabilities and machine learning platforms.

The incumbent will be responsible for the recruiting and development of talent under her/his supervision. The Director will need to be a passionate people manager who is committed to talent development of her/his team to capitalize on the unique capabilities and strong scientists in the group. The role will also be responsible for proactive resource planning, risk assessment strategies and budget management as necessary (including merit and promotion planning). Maintaining a strong network internally and across the external academic and regulatory community is expected, as well as advancing a culture of scientific excellence, compliance mindset, and collaboration with various partners and stakeholders across our Company's network.

The successful candidate must be highly self-motivated, demonstrate strong leadership, possess strong mentorship skills, have excellent written and oral communication abilities, collaborate effectively on multidisciplinary teams, and be able to demonstrate flexibility in adapting to change in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. The ideal candidate will have strong technical expertise in biophysical and materials characterization as well as experience managing scientists.

Education Minimum Requirement:

PhD in Biophysics, Chemistry, Materials Science, Pharmaceutics, or a related field with 10+ years of relevant experience in the pharmaceutical industry; MS with 12+ years of relevant experience; BS with 14+ years of relevant experience.

Required Experience and Skills:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, demonstrated creativity and innovative problem solving, strong interpersonal and collaborative skills.

  • Demonstrated ability in leading cross-functional teams and influencing team strategy and decision-making.

  • Proven talent development skillsets.

  • Experience in biophysical and/or physicochemical characterization.

Preferred Experience and Skills:

  • Encourages innovative thinking/risk-taking and eliminates obstacles to implement change.

  • Experience in vaccine development, including attributes definition, methods development, validation and/or transfer in support of product manufacture, and authoring of relevant sections of regulatory filings.

We are a research-driven biopharmaceutical company. Our mission is built on the simple premise that if we “follow the science” that great medicines can make a significant impact to our world. We believe that a research-driven enterprise dedicated to world-class science can succeed by inventing medicine and vaccine innovations that make a difference for patients across the globe.

Who we are …

We are known as Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA in the United States and Canada and MSD everywhere else. For more than a century, we have been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Today, our company continues to be at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions and advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and animals around the world.

What we look for …

Imagine getting up in the morning for a job as important as helping to save and improve lives around the world. Here, you have that opportunity. You can put your empathy, creativity, digital mastery, or scientific genius to work in collaboration with a diverse group of colleagues who pursue and bring hope to countless people who are battling some of the most challenging diseases of our time. Our team is constantly evolving, so if you are among the intellectually curious, join us—and start making your impact today.


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We are proud to be a company that embraces the value of bringing diverse, talented, and committed people together. The fastest way to breakthrough innovation is when diverse ideas come together in an inclusive environment. We encourage our colleagues to respectfully challenge one another’s thinking and approach problems collectively. We are an equal opportunity employer, committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace.

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Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, does not accept unsolicited assistance from search firms for employment opportunities. All CVs / resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at our company without a valid written search agreement in place for this position will be deemed the sole property of our company. No fee will be paid in the event a candidate is hired by our company as a result of an agency referral where no pre-existing agreement is in place. Where agency agreements are in place, introductions are position specific. Please, no phone calls or emails.

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Requisition ID:R132224