Vice President, Innovation & Commercialization

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Jan 08, 2020
Full time   Biology/Biotechnology/Life Sciences Sciences and Technology: other Provost/Academic Vice President Other Executive

Job Description


Job #: G827

Posted Date: December 17, 2019

Closes On: Open Until Filled

Job Title: Vice President, Innovation & Commercialization

Status: Regular Full Time

Benefits Eligible: Yes

Special Instructions:

No submissions from search firms/agencies/consultants for this position will be accepted.

Position Description:

Reporting to the President, the Vice President (VP), Innovation & Commercialization will be responsible for facilitating Salk’s foundational biological science research mission by providing vision and leadership in efforts to advance, disseminate and commercialize Salk discoveries through the formation of strategic partnerships, collaborations and Institute-wide alliances.

The ideal incumbent will have broad generalist knowledge and experience that allows for orthogonal innovation pathways to take basic discoveries into various application domains. Ideally these would span across biology, molecular, cell and organ/physiology levels, ecosystems, quantitative methods in sensing, imaging, actuation, design, quality control, medicinal chemistry, regulatory matters and international variations, technology or engineering for diagnostics and POC devices, disposables, computational and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling, etc.

The VP will have executive or senior-level leadership experience in pharma, biotech or a similar industry, experience in academia, and a proven track record of identifying and closing successful business transactions. The executive will demonstrate an understanding of, a genuine passion for, and the ability to compellingly translate the Institute’s complex, cutting-edge biomedical research to a broad range of audiences.

The VP must be a collaborative, innovative, imaginative and creative deal-maker with an entrepreneurial spirit, well-connected, and a tenacious self-starter with the ability to plan and act strategically. At all times, it is incumbent upon the VP to align all of their actions with the Salk mission and represent that alignment to external constituents. In doing so, this VP will remain cognizant that while revenue is a goal, scientific discovery is the core mission, which will be key to structuring transactions and making decisions involving intellectual property.

Through well-defined initiatives and effective partnerships, this role presents an opportunity to design and deliver a transformative and strategic function that values and supports principles that are consistent across the organization in support of Salk’s mission to explore the very foundations of life through scientific discovery for the benefit of all. Facilitating the translation and commercialization of Salk discoveries enables people to avail themselves of this benefit.

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Salk provides a competitive compensation and benefits package.



  • MS in Life Sciences


  • MBA, PhD in Life Sciences or JD



  • 15+ years of increasingly responsible and successful leadership experience in academia and/or therapeutic or diagnostic product development, marketing and/or business development in the biotechnology, life science or pharmaceutical industry. Individuals with fewer years of experience may qualify if they have exceptional leadership skills and a demonstrated track record of contributions that have had significant organizational impact.
  • Deal sheet that demonstrates the ability to analyze and optimize deal structures and terms to successfully deliver returns that result in sustained profitability.
  • Experience developing and maintaining domestic and global connections and direct contacts in life sciences, venture capital firms, the broader investment community and other organizations that would add value to this role.
  • Extensive experience shaping and leading corporate transactions, preferably with focus on strategic collaborations, including negotiating, drafting, reviewing, revising and closing a variety of sophisticated and complex transactions
  • Track record of successes in establishing and maintaining harmonious, productive relationships (both internal and external), managing through ambiguity and obstacles with confidence and optimism, seeing them as opportunities to bridge the gap between scientific innovation and translation
  • Experience with “nuts and bolts” of intellectual property and technology transfer: invention disclosures, patent filings and maintenance, patent portfolio strategy for each technology and/or lab group, smart use of external domain experts, material transfer agreements (MTAs), contract terms approval, license terms and negotiations, start-up formation, cap tables, and mentoring staff in business development and commercialization
  • Experience in managing a moderately-sized staff with multi-functional roles, managing large and complex budgets, assessing outcomes.
  • Experience structuring transactions with not-for-profit, basic research or academic institutions.


  • Experience performing academic or commercial research and development.

Special Requirements:

  • Must be resident (or willing to reside) in the greater San Diego area.
  • Must be able to travel as needed to support the role.
  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Successful completion of the Institute’s background investigation.

Physical Requirements:

This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, keying, hearing, seeing, sitting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside.


Application Details

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Applicants with dual-career considerations can find university jobs such as professor jobs, dean jobs, chair / department head jobs, and other faculty jobs and employment opportunities within the Dallas County Community College District and at other institutions of higher education in the region on

Application Deadline

Open Until Filled