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Director, In vitro Diagnostics

Research | Santa Monica, CA | Full Time

Job Description

Kite Pharma Inc, founded in 2009, is dedicated to the development and commercialization of novel cancer immunotherapy products designed to harness the power of a patient’s own immune system to fight tumor cells.  We are a dynamic and accomplished team with an exciting growth trajectory for the coming year.

We are seeking a highly motivated individual to join us as the of Director, In vitro Diagnostics.  You will work with the research team in supporting our efforts in this exciting new area of cancer immunotherapy.  This role will be a hands-on resource to senior management, department heads and project leads. You will report to the Vice President of Translational Medicine. 

Responsibilities (include but are not limited to):

  • Works with the research and translational leadership to build, coordinate and execute multiple companion diagnostics projects in various development stages
  • Generates internally or through managing CROs target expression analysis information necessary to advance Kite’s programs through development 
  • Identifies and transfers necessary protocols, reagents and documentation from Kite’s collaborators or CROs, in support of companion diagnostics and biomarkers analysis
  • Creates and optimizes reagents, methods, diagnostics at Kite Pharma or CROs managed by Kite Pharma
  • Identifies and manages CROs that develop, optimize and bring through regulatory clearance companion diagnostics for Kite’s therapeutic candidates
  • Works closely with the research and translational leadership to lead or support the process of technical identification, evaluation and de-risking of new opportunities in the space of companion diagnostics and biomarkers
  • Achieves operational objectives by contributing technical information and recommendations to plans; preparing, monitoring and completing relevant project plans; monitoring relevant technical literature and publications; identifying and communicating timely trends and risks; implementing change and pre-empting roadblocks
  • Meets financial objectives by forecasting requirements; supporting budget preparation; scheduling expenditures; initiating corrective actions
  • Communicates with the stakeholders of projects – research, translation, regulatory, quality, management - to ensure appropriate alignment and seamless execution of action items
  • Updates job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities; maintaining professional networks; participating in professional organizations
  • Other duties as assigned


  • PhD in biochemistry, cell or molecular biology
  • At least 8 years in industry environment, with at least 5 year experience in biopharmaceutical R&D leading in vitro diagnostics development
  • Expert knowledge of in vitro diagnostics
  • Demonstrated success in leading projects, technical proficiency, scientific creativity, collaboration with others and independent thought
  • Prior experience managing a team and growing a functional area in house, including outsourcing management
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills are essential in this collaborative work environment
  • Comfortable in a fast-paced small company environment with minimal direction and able to adjust workload based upon changing priorities

Kite Pharma, an equal opportunity employer, is located in beautiful Santa Monica, CA just steps from Santa Monica Blvd and right off the 10.  We are able to offer the opportunity to be part of the first 100 employees in this successful, fast growing company.  A place everyone knows your name and respects your opinion while at the same time offering benefits and time off packages commensurate to any large corporation.   Did we forget to mention the stock options?   To learn more about us, please visit our website at

If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, please submit your resume or CV, cover letter and salary requirements.  All submissions will be evaluated and interviews will be conducted for those applicants who most strongly fit our needs. If you are not contacted for an interview, your resume will remain on file and active for available positions for a period of one year.

No phone calls please and no agencies or recruiters.