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Vice President, External Research & Development, CRO Relationships



Customer Service
Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Company Overview

Curie.Bio is a founder-focused seed-stage venture firm combined with an industry-grade therapeutics accelerator focused on one thing: helping entrepreneurial founders launch viable therapeutics companies. Curie.Bio does this by giving founders access to a team of the world’s best drug hunters and drug makers, seed capital, and best-of-breed services - everything a founder needs to get from concept to a compelling dataset that enables an awesome Series A financing. In a nutshell, we want founders in control of their own company and focused on their area of expertise and creativity, while we help make the rest happen smoothly.

Curie.Bio was designed by founders for founders. Our founding team of Zach Weinberg, Christoph Lengauer and Alexis Borisy, has collectively helped start numerous therapeutics companies and been intimately involved with the Series A financing of many more. We have witnessed first hand the difficulty of going from a seed stage concept to generating the data package necessary for a successful Series A raise; targets need to be properly selected, experiment plans designed, vendors selected and contracted, experiments need to be run, people need to be hired - all with a few million dollars. These perennial challenges are what led to the creation of Curie.Bio. If we want to dramatically increase the number of viable drug companies created every year - we’re going to have to reduce the complexity of getting to a compelling POC data package required for a Series A. Reducing this complexity requires us to provide real support to these new companies - support that is both strategic (think target selection, unique access to strategic partnerships, early introductions to top Series A investors) and operational (experiment execution, vendor management, back office support).

As an early employee joining us on this mission, you will see first hand what it takes to successfully bring a company from concept at the seed stage to compelling wet-lab derived POC data with an industry-grade progressible drug (candidate) that enables a Series A financing. You will work alongside the world’s best drug hunters and industry veterans whose experience spans all facets of drug discovery and preclinical drug development - from disease biology to medicinal chemistry, to recruiting, to business development, and more.

In order for Curie.Bio to achieve its mission, we need the best people. Companies are nothing more than a group of people working together on a shared objective. Great companies are when those individuals come together to form something larger than the sum of its parts.

The Role

The VP, External Research and Development (ERAD), Strategic Partnerships, will be responsible for driving operational excellence in the day to day working relationship between Curie’s portfolio companies and external vendors (e.g. CROs/CDMOs). Day to day, you will work closely with our portfolio companies to ensure the work being done with our external partners is high quality and on time. When problems inevitably arise, you are responsible for getting to ground truth on the facts, diagnosing the root cause of the problem, and coming up with the next set of actions that maximize the probability of success for the program.

At Curie, our portfolio company founding teams come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of experience when it comes to early stage drug discovery. Because of this, a critical element of this role is being able to teach and implement best practices of alliance management across a wide breadth of therapeutic modalities. To be successful in this role, you will need to have a sound grasp of the drug discovery and development process, allied to a love of building and maintaining relationships whilst being driven to achieve operational excellence through maximizing probabilities of success. This role will be critical in our aim of never failing in execution!

Our ideal candidate is also excited by the breadth (majority of modalities/indications), scale (~30 new companies per year), and stage (primarily early discovery) of our portfolio.

This role reports directly to Christophe Muller, Curie’s Chief of External R&D & Partnering.


  • FOUNDER PARTNERSHIP: Be the point of contact with the founding team on all vendor relationship topics during all phases of execution (from onboarding to closing), working closely alongside with Curie Bio’s internal scientific teams
  • VENDOR RELATIONSHIP: Build deep and trusted relationships with our external partners (CROs/CDMOs) including the customer facing teams (Business Development and/or, Project Management and/or Alliance Management and/or Senior management and/or consultants)
  • GUIDES & PLAYBOOKS - Be responsible for creating and maintaining guides and playbooks to be shared internally and with our portfolio companies. These documents will capture best practices in Vendor-Portfolio company partnership and be used in support of training activities.
  • TRAINING - Be accountable for setting up and running training / refresher sessions with portfolio companies covering agreed processes, best practices, DOs and DON’Ts, and case studies
  • BEST PRACTICES - Through your knowledge, experience and by staying close to existing Curie.Bio portfolio companies’ vendor collaborations, be accountable for the identification, justification and consolidation of best practices. These would then be leveraged in training sessions, training material but also contributing to vendor selection, contractual governance set-up as well as contributions to RFP and SOW template updates.
  • REPORTING - Build a system to continuously collect datapoints and examples from key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive, specific, and up-to-date picture of our external vendors’ performance in order to help drive accountability for results and inform future vendor selection decisions
  • ESCALATION - Be accountable for driving any conflict resolution activities, inclusive of potential escalation protocols in a professional and unbiased way
  • ROADMAP FOR SCALE - Contribute to the design, build, and constantly improve the processes and infrastructure required to do this at serious scale (~30 new companies per year)

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Degree in Biology, Chemistry or related field with experience in the pharmaceutical or life science industry, ideally as a project lead (PhD preferred)
  • At least 10 years experience in Alliance/Vendor/Project Management or related function with increasing levels of responsibility and demonstrated success in managing large and strategic external relationships, ideally with discovery stage experience
  • Understanding of how the CRO/CDMO operates and its key drivers essential
  • Familiarity with dealing at C-suite level internally and externally
  • Prior experience or exposure to business development (as part of deal teams for example or through selection and contract negotiations with CROs/CDMOs) is a distinct advantage
  • Familiarity with legal agreements in the biopharmaceutical field
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with ability to negotiate, persuade, resolve conflict, and manage through significant ambiguity and complexity
  • Experience managing geographically diverse partners and adaptability towards cultural differences
  • Ability to travel 10-25% of the time depending on need

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