Director/Senior Director, Development Program Lead

About Ikena
Ikena Oncology (NASDAQ: IKNA) is a clinical-stage, targeted oncology company that discovers and develops biomarker-driven therapies for cancer patients who need life-saving treatment, by understanding what drives their disease. Ikena is advancing five clinical, preclinical, and discovery programs and has a global strategic collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb. Since inception, Ikena has raised over $300 million from leading life sciences investors and companies that include Atlas Venture, OrbiMed, BMS, Fidelity, Omega Funds, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Invus, Farallon Capital Management, BVF Partners, Cowen Healthcare Investments, Logos Capital, and HealthCor Management. Ikena priced its IPO in March 2021 and trades on the NASDAQ (Ticker: IKNA).

Ikena Oncology is seeking a highly talented, diversely experienced, and self-motivated early development program lead to join an innovative, scientifically driven, and fast paced team committed to developing breakthrough cancer therapies. Reporting to the SVP, Translational Research and Early Development, this individual will be accountable for leading multiple cross-functional early development teams and driving programs from Development Candidate (DC) to Phase I/II Proof of Concept (POC) and beyond. The Early Development Program Lead will be a champion and a decision maker for his/her programs, working closely with program management, clinical, translational research, toxicology, CMC, regulatory, and clinical operations to build and execute an integrated development plan for the successful delivery of development milestones. This position is a high impact and highly visible role. He/she will be able to clearly articulate the scientific rationale and clinical development plan and represent the team to internal and external stakeholders.


  • Responsible for the success of a program from DC to POC and beyond
  • Provide overall strategic leadership and set short- and long-term goals/directions for the program
  • Collaborate with senior management and program team members to expand clinical development opportunities
  • Working closely with the Program Manager, plan, and manage the program timelines, budget, and resource allocations
  • Lead the cross-functional team to drive program deliverables and meet program milestones
  • Set expectations and ensure execution of key functional deliverables by leveraging program team members and outside consultants/CROs
  • Identify and anticipate challenges, develop risk management, and mitigation planning
  • Drive effective resolution of program issues and communicate with executive leadership regarding proposed solutions
  • Represent the program team at the internal and external stakeholder meetings
  • Additional duties and responsibilities as required


  • Advanced degree in a scientific discipline (PhD, PharmD, or equivalent)
  • Minimum of 10+ years of biotech or pharma experience in drug discovery and clinical development
  • Proven track record of leading successful clinical development programs
  • Adept at leading cross-functional development teams that include line function experts in clinical, translational research, toxicology, DMPK, CMC, regulatory, clinical operations, and program management
  • Proven ability to use highly effective influencing skills in a matrix setting to help teams achieve program milestones
  • Knowledge of preclinical and clinical oncology drug development a must
  • Clinical experience in managing Phase 1/2 studies
  • Strong understanding of scientific concepts and experience in translational research and biomarker development
  • Expert strategic capabilities
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Personal attributes: team oriented, goal-driven, organized, highly collaborative, open-minded, data-driven, creative, persistent in the face of obstacles and uncertainty, flexible, self-aware of strengths and weaknesses, objective in the evaluation of data and strongly optimistic about overcoming challenges.

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