Head of Translational Research

Reports To: Executive Vice President, Research and Pharmaceutical Development

Position Type: Salaried, negotiable according to experience and fit; package includes company stock options, as well as tax advantaged employee benefit plans.

Tocagen is a clinical-stage, cancer-selective gene therapy company focused on developing first-in-class, broadly applicable product candidates designed to activate a patient’s immune system against their own cancer from within.

Every member of our team plays a significant role in our success. Tocagen hires individuals who share our passion for ending cancer mortality and have exceptional talent that will contribute to this goal.


The Head of Translational Research manages the scientific and operational functions for preclinical research and product development and the integration of such programs into R&D overall goals to support the company’s overall goals. Has experience or understanding of a wide range of scientific disciplines with an emphasis on Immunology, but including Virology, Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Biology, and Cell Biology. She/he will have an understanding of cancer research, animal experimentation methods and norms and modern biological research technology. Should have demonstrated success in a field of technical expertise, and be a recognized scientific leader. Manages research associates, Ph.D. level scientists, and external collaborations/contracts to achieve agreed upon goals, and is able and willing to provide hands-on leadership as required. Is responsible for performing at an advanced scientific level and is extremely independent in proposing scientific and operational activities and projects to support achieving company goals. Communicates scientific concepts, approaches and results to others inside and outside the organization; provides strategic scientific and operational advice to senior organization executives and demonstrates an understanding of the business and financial aspects of the company’s operation.

Duties and Responsibilities Include But Are Not Limited To:

  • Provides a center of scientific excellence and knowledge for preclinical research, builds expertise in cancer immunobiology and vector/drug delivery. Provides high level product development capability, including an awareness of clinical and regulatory issues to support development of the company’s products.
  • Provides strategic direction, manages direct reports and collaborates with all company employees to meet personal, group, R&D and company goals.
  • Presents budget estimates and manage budgets to meet department, R&D, and company goals.
  • Directs and manages research and development in department in support of regulatory submissions, either in house or with outside contractors.
  • Establishes standard operating procedures (SOP’s) and related documentation in compliance with GLP or other agreed upon standards in areas of responsibility to support regulatory affairs, quality assurance and clinical trials.
  • As required, conducts audits for contractors in cooperation with company quality assurance function.
  • Writes reports and documents for regulatory or other submissions, scientific white papers, and manuscripts for publication.
  • Invited speaker, makes presentations to internal and external entities, and represent the company in areas of responsibility and expertise.
  • Comply with the company safety policies and minimize risk to self, others and the environment, consistent with the community and industry standards.
  • Performs other duties as required.

General Responsibilities:

  • Run Translational Research function and import technological advances to meet goals
  • Provide support for EVP & Research & Pharmaceutical Development.
  • Provide solutions to Tocagen’s current product development issues
  • Be an advocate for new product development and technology opportunities
  • Interact productively with other Tocagen functional groups, external partner and collaborators

Desired Knowledge and Abilities:

  • Intact active scientific curiosity and excellent expertise in immunology and current scientific technology.
  • Understanding of biological drug development and familiarity with animal models and veterinary practices.
  • Understanding of cancer biology, animal experimentation methods and norms and modern biological research technology including statistical analyses.
  • Previous experience with gene transfer technology is a plus.
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal and managerial skills.
  • Excellent scientific/regulatory writing and communication skills.
  • Experience in writing and successfully prosecuting patents preferred.

Education & Experience:

  • Ph.D. or equivalent experience in immunology; background expertise in virology, cell and cancer biology and/or biochemistry or related scientific discipline.
  • Minimum 12 years (prefer longer) postdoctoral work or equivalent.
  • Minimum 10-12 years Industrial experience (prefer longer) required or equivalent.

Application Form