Senior Director, Translational Research

About Ikena
Ikena Oncology is a 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. We have raised capital from top tier investors OrbiMed Advisors and Atlas Ventures and recently announced the closing of a $120M in an oversubscribed Series B financing.

Role Description
Ikena Oncology is seeking a highly talented, diversely experienced, and self-motivated translational research leader to join an innovative, scientifically driven and fast paced team focused on developing breakthrough cancer therapies. This individual will play a highly impactful and visible role in the development and execution of the translational research and biomarker strategy, that will inform clinical development plan and enable proof of mechanism / proof of concept evaluation in early clinical trials.


  • Direct and drive preclinical and clinical translational research strategies including, but not limited to, indication/patient selection and combination approaches to influence program specific clinical development plan
  • Provide clinical biomarker direction and leadership, oversee the development of clinic ready patient enrichment and pharmacodynamic (proximal and distal) biomarker assays as well as their implementation in clinical trials
  • Drive and support clinical trial biomarker data analysis and interpretation, to correlate biological response with clinical outcome, and enable proof of mechanism / proof of concept evaluation
  • Establish relationships and effectively partner with other key functions including discovery, clinical development and clinical operation to execute translational activities
  • Identify and lead the evaluation, validation and implementation of novel technologies and capabilities both internally as well as at CROs for translational and biomarker research
  • Provide strategic translational input and guide bioinformatics support to early discovery projects to ensure a clear sight into the clinic
  • Lead, mentor and develop a highly effective team of translational and clinical biomarker scientists, optimize existing processes to ensure best practice
  • Communicate critical translational and biomarker activities, risks, and milestones to key stakeholders including Executive Team, functional heads and program teams
  • Develop strong external collaborations with academia, industry and KOLs to support translational strategy, gain access to patient samples and datasets, and influence clinical development strategies


  • Advanced degree in a scientific discipline (PhD, MD, PharmD, or equivalent)
  • 12+ years of relevant experience in biotech/pharmaceutical industry, with a minimum of 5 years in a clinical translational setting
  • In-depth knowledge of oncology and understanding of the role of translational research in drug discovery and clinical development
  • Established track record of leading successful indication / patient selection and biomarker development / clinical implementation in oncology clinical trials
  • Demonstrated experience and desire to lead, motivate and develop others
  • Knowledge of IVD/drug co-development is a plus
  • Proven ability to use highly effective influencing skills to drive collaboration, achieving results, and resolving conflicts across function areas and project teams
  • An innovation mindset of incorporating new technologies in translational and biomarker research
  • Excellent interpersonal and written / 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.

Application Form

Our supportive work environment fosters creative thinking and freedom of expression.