Director of Biology

Req ID:  139323

Saffron Walden, GB, CB10 1XL Harlow, GB, CM19 5TR

For 70 years, Charles River employees have worked together to assist in the discovery, development and safe manufacture of new drug therapies. When you join our family, you will have a significant impact on the health and well-being of people across the globe. Whether your background is in life sciences, finance, IT, sales or another area, your skills will play an important role in the work we perform. In return, we’ll help you build a career that you can feel passionate about.

Job Summary

We have a fantastic opportunity for an experienced individual to join Charles River as a Director in Biology. In this role, the successful candidate will manage the part of the biology department split across the UK sites (Cambridge and Harlow), joining an overall group of between 75-100 scientists working on projects covering a range of therapeutic areas including: oncology, inflammation, cardiovascular, metabolism and CNS diseases. The integrated biology department works on projects through all stages of the drug discovery process from Hit Identification through to Pre-clinical Candidate Nomination. The Biology group is responsible for activities such as target validation, assay development and HTS, Molecular, Cellular and structural Biology and Biomarker assay development. 

In addition to the line management, scientific supervision of the group and resource planning, the successful candidate will also be involved in aiding Business Development activities to identify new clients and collaborations. These activities will include meeting potential collaborators and preparing scientific presentations which outline Discovery’s capabilities and expertise. The successful candidate will also work closely with the other biology department heads at in the UK and Europe.


Main Tasks

  • Management of a group of approximately 40-50 scientists, including direct line management of Group and Team leaders and Research Fellows with potential to grow the group further.
  • To ensure the UK biology department meets the company’s goals in resource utilization and revenue / Operating Income (OI) generation
  • To lead, manage and develop the personnel within the group and the Biology department as a whole.
  • Ensuring that the department complies with company and statutory health and safety regulations. 
  • To be responsible for the leadership of project(s) ensuring effective integration across disciplines and delivery on project objectives. 
  • Review of interpretation of data, review of reports and ensuring delivery of presentations internally and at project meetings with collaborators.
  • Maintain an up-to-date understanding of scientific developments within the appropriate fields.
  • Scientific support to Business Development activities aimed at identifying new collaborations.
  • To ensure a high level of scientific standard is maintained on all programs
  • To promote high scientific visibility of CRL Discovery capabilities 



  •  Ph.D within a Life Science discipline or BSc + many years of directly relevant industry experience.
  • Extensive biopharmaceutical industry experience (outside of academia), preferably across a range of therapeutic areas with high level experience in client interaction and oversight of strategy 
  • The successful candidate must have broad experience of the direct line management, mentoring and scientific direction of scientists within project teams.
  • Expertise in one or more frequent platforms used in drug discovery across a variety of therapeutic areas such as CNS, respiratory or oncology
  • Expertise in leading biology aspects of integrated drug discovery projects with ability to work across a multi-disciplinary function effectively and liaise with other colleagues 
  • Experience of resource allocation and budget oversight, combined with an ability to work closely with support functions such as HR and Finance in a collaborative manner 


This role can be based at either our Chesterford Park or Harlow sites but there will be travel involved to our other Biology sites in Europe. 

About Discovery
Discovery from Charles River is industry-proven in the successful development of novel therapies, with over 350 patents and 80 preclinical drug candidates delivered to our sponsors in the past 17 years. Backed by more than 650 scientists, our comprehensive, integrated portfolio employs the latest technology and platforms to provide chemistry, biology, and pharmacology services that support clients from the earliest stages of hit identification all the way through to IND. Our client-focused, collaborative approach creates true partnerships that anticipate challenges, overcome obstacles, and move us forward together on the journey of getting new drugs to market.


About Charles River
Charles River is an early-stage contract research organization (CRO). We have built upon our foundation of laboratory animal medicine and science to develop a diverse portfolio of discovery and safety assessment services, both Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and non-GLP, to support clients from target identification through preclinical development. Charles River also provides a suite of products and services to support our clients’ clinical laboratory testing needs and manufacturing activities. Utilizing this broad portfolio of products and services enables our clients to create a more flexible drug development model, which reduces their costs, enhances their productivity and effectiveness to increase speed to market.


With over 17,000 employees within 90 facilities in 20 countries around the globe, we are strategically positioned to coordinate worldwide resources and apply multidisciplinary perspectives in resolving our client’s unique challenges. Our client base includes global pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, government agencies and hospitals and academic institutions around the world. And in 2019, revenue increased to $2.62 billion.


At Charles River, we are passionate about our role in improving the quality of people’s lives. Our mission, our excellent science and our strong sense of purpose guide us in all that we do, and we approach each day with the knowledge that our work helps to improve the health and well-being of many across the globe. We have proudly supported the development of ~85% of the drugs approved by the FDA in 2019.