Head of Medical Affairs

Clinical · Seattle, Washington
Department Clinical
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Experienced

Chinook Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing precision medicines for patients with kidney diseases.  We apply our proprietary research platform to discover and develop therapeutics with novel mechanisms of action against key kidney disease pathways. The development focus is on rare, serious disorders with clear unmet medical needs and defined and rapid clinical development opportunities.  Chinook recently in-licensed a late-stage product, atrasentan, and plans to initiate a phase 3 trial for chronic kidney disease during 2020.  Our pipeline has several other internal programs at the validation and lead optimization stages, the first of which is rapidly progressing to enter clinical trials by 2021.  We are also evaluating business development opportunities for early and late-stage clinical assets to enhance the pipeline. 

Chinook has raised a $65 million Series A financing from top tier venture capital firms Versant Ventures, Apple Tree Partners, and Samsara BioCapital. The company has approximately 40 employees and is based in Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington. 


The Head of Medical Affairs will set Chinook’s scientific strategy to prepare for the launch of a commercial product in approximately a 3 to 4-year time horizon.  This individual will interact with KOLs in the broader renal community, specifically glomerular disease experts, to inform the scientific community on Chinook’s mission, stimulate recruitment to patient trials, and interact with clinical trial leads to shape the organization’s medical communication strategy.  The Head of Medical Affairs will be responsible for ensuring Chinook successfully initiates a Phase 3 trial in primary glomerular disease in the second half of 2020, followed by a Phase 2 glomerular disease basket trial in 2021, as well as an ultra-rare kidney disease Phase 1 trial in the first half of 2021.  As the organization grows, The Head of Medical Affairs will have the potential to build out a team of MSLs to effectively disseminate scientific information internationally.  This position reports the the CMO and is based in Chinook's Seattle location.

Responsibilities include:

  • Develop medical affairs strategy and plan with cross-functional teams working closely with key stakeholders including the Heads of Regulatory Affairs, Clinical Operations, CMC, and R&D stakeholders.
  • Work with future CMO to shape direction of overall medical organization.
  • Ensure Medical Affairs provides medical/scientific leadership to the organization, creating a culture ensuring medical accuracy of Chinook’s scientific strategy.
  • Ensure all Medical Affairs staff act as Company ambassadors, establishing Company awareness and scientific reputation.
  • Ensure all activities are compliant with global, regional and local regulations, with appropriate processes and documentation.
  • Provide medical/scientific expertise to cross-functional teams throughout development and commercialization. As a content expert, review abstracts, publications, medical information letters, and other medical documents as needed.
  • Work with R&D to maximize clinical trial execution, facilitating communications between Company and study investigators.
  • Develop the Scientific Communications strategy to support global, regional and local objectives, developing and executing product Publication Plan and Medical Education Plans, including dissemination of clinical trial results both at scientific meetings and in peer reviewed journals.
  • Ensure excellent external stakeholder engagement, working with cross-functional colleagues, including mapping and profiling of KOL’s, understanding stakeholder needs and value drivers and mapping patient journey.
  • Plan and lead advisory boards and trainings including development of content and presentation of data.
  • Develop and lead infrastructure to identify, assess and execute specific data generation projects to address identified medical data gaps, including Investigator Initiated Studies.
  • Ensure rapid and accurate responses to external and internal medical information enquiries from clinical trial sites.
  • Ensure operational excellence, including developing and measuring clear Medical Affairs KPIs, objectives and development plans.
  • Ensure all relevant insights, knowledge and activity is systematically captured and disseminated within the Company as appropriate.
  • Recruit, manage, direct and mentor a high performing team of Medical Science Liaisons to ensure delivery of the Medical Affairs strategic plan.
  • Manage resources/budget allocation necessary to deliver on strategic and operational plans.
  • Provide a resource of deep scientific expertise in renal biology and disease, and maintain high visibility among internal and external peers.
  • Contribute to the development and maintenance of a positive team-focused company culture.

 Education, Experience, and Skills: 

  • MD/PhD/PharmD Ph.D. with 10+ years of experience in the medical affairs arena. 
  • Prior scientific knowledge and experience in the renal disease arena strongly preferred, specifically glomerular disease. Alternatively, clearly demonstrated the ability to master a new therapeutic area deeply and quickly.
  • 10+ years of medical affairs leadership experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology industry, preferably including headquarters and field experience.
  • Experience in the evolving healthcare system, with payers, IDNs or both.
  • Successfully supported the launch of multiple transformative drugs, preferably in renal disease space.
  • Strong and consistent track record of success, developing strategy and executing operational plans.
  • Possess a strong understanding of medical management principals and experience with supporting data analytics focused on outcomes analysis and management.
  • Prior experience in a decision maker role in a startup life science company is a plus.
  • Intimate understanding of the role of healthcare regulators and compliance.
  • Have experience in handling media / PR issues.
  • Have an ability to form a strong network of influential relationships with KOLs.
  • Pragmatic business approach to problem solving.
  • Be a confident and engaging presenter as part of the business team and to conference audiences.
  • Understand the science and business of medicine, and can speak both languages.
  • High level of emotional intelligence along with outstanding ability to lead and inspire others.
  • Translate concepts and ideas into timely action and high-impact results; known for both innovation and execution.
  • Strong executive presence, able to communicate complex ideas with clarity and concision.
  • High energy, collaborative spirit and an entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty.
  • Positive attitude and high personal and ethical standards in achieving corporate goals.

Chinook is an Equal Opportunity Employer and we do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.



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  • Location
    Seattle, Washington
  • Department
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience