Director of Program Management

Juvena Therapeutics

Juvena Therapeutics

Palo Alto, CA, USA
Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Position Description

Juvena Therapeutics, Inc. is a regenerative medicine biotechnology startup inviting applicants for Director of Project Management and/or Chief of Staff to assist in helping drive key senior management priorities and managing our drug discovery platform and preclinical development projects. Candidates should be excited to join a company focused on the discovery and validation of novel disease-modifying biologics that promote tissue regeneration by inducing tissue-specific rejuvenating phenotypes. We are discovering and developing various biologics that can promote disease-modifying effects such as increased stem cell activity, reduced chronic or localized inflammation, reduced fibrosis, improved differentiation, or increased mitochondrial function and metabolism.

The Director of Project Management and/or Chief of Staff will work closely with the CEO, CSO, and senior management to help manage, and be the hands-on project manager for Discovery, Preclinical, Platform, and Corporate Development projects that are core to Juvena’s mission, strategy and corporate objectives. Working with senior leadership and other stakeholders, the successful candidate will lead the development of integrated KPIs, R&D program plans, and portfolio management processes that provide a foundation for driving operational objectives, deliverables, execution, and timelines. They will lead and mentor the company on project management best practices while proactively driving weekly project objectives, identifying and analyzing dependencies, resource planning, determining impact of scenarios with priority changes and pivots on KPIs and milestone objectives, liaising with key stakeholders, and providing key status updates and recommendations to Senior Leadership.

The position is full-time starting as early as possible. This is the perfect opportunity for someone interested in the exciting and fast-paced environment of a startup company and looking to make a significant difference in improving the human healthspan.

*Title commensurate with experience

Company Summary

Juvena Therapeutics is on a mission to discover and develop biologics for rare and chronic degenerative diseases by mining the secretomes of human pluripotent stem cells through a machine learning (ML)-enhanced platform. Juvena’s approach integrates proteomics, transcriptomics and imaging with phenotypic human in vitro disease model screening and extensive preclinical validation to mine stem cell secretomes as a rich source of new medicines for chronic and rare diseases. We are advancing leads for muscular dystrophies, muscle atrophy, injury, and osteopathies. Since our launch in mid-2018, Juvena has discovered and validated 22 hits for neuromuscular, skeletal, and metabolic diseases. Juvena is advancing a lead program for Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1, a rare autosomal dominant, progressive muscle-wasting disease.

Juvena Therapeutics has secured venture capital, NIH, and CIRM funding to develop their top lead to a clinical-stage investigational new drug, to build their stem cell secretome database, and to leverage their discovery platform to rapidly identify and validate novel protein-based drug candidates for multiple rare and chronic diseases across inflammatory, cardiometabolic and hepatic therapeutic areas. At Juvena we embrace a diversity of backgrounds, experience and approaches that all combine to lead us to world-class scientific results in an inclusive environment.

Position Requirements and Duties

  • Working with senior leadership and other stakeholders, lead the establishment of integrated KPIs, R&D program plans, and portfolio management processes that provide a foundation for driving operational objectives, deliverables, governance, execution, and timelines.
  • Understanding and focus on translating operational outputs into executive governance tactics/strategies
  • Drive program and project management processes & activities such as managing priority, scope, time, cost, risk, and quality while ensuring key company milestones & KPIs are defined and met. Manage meetings, including setting agendas, scheduling, and capturing meeting minutes.
  • Work alongside scientists as peers, transforming their insights and work into actionable information/intelligence for program leads and executives to base key decisions off of
  • Develop and directly manage project portfolio plans for a) the Discovery program through IND-filing for multiple Therapeutic Areas, and for b) the Platform program including Data Science/Bioinformatics/AI-ML projects.
  • Monitor ongoing projects for potential risks and develop proactive mitigation strategies with management and the relevant R&D teams. Identify, track, and support resolution efforts for all program-related issues and effectively communicate to relevant internal and external contractor teams via regular and ad-hoc status updates.
  • Work on timelines and plans associated with and dependent on grant funding: aligning grant timelines with the associated funding needs of our programs
  • Drive resource planning and impact analysis of priority change/pivot scenarios. Manage changes to project scope, ensuring that all impacts and changes are approved and appropriately communicated.
  • Identify and execute on ad-hoc project / program needs as necessary
  • Liaise with external partners such as pharmaceutical companies and critical suppliers.
  • Support the development of TCPs (Target Candidate Profile) and initial TPPs (Target Product Profile).
  • Work with external vendors to develop fit-for-purpose solutions involving material, equipment, reagents, ELN, LIMS, and QMS
  • Develop and maintain project/portfolio dashboards, reports, and metrics including timeline GANTTS and status summaries.
  • Lead and mentor the company on project management best practices adoption.
  • Step in as necessary to drive down general administrative or technical debt associated with a fast moving start-up environment
  • Other tasks as assigned.


This position is a great fit if you have/are:

  • Advanced degree + PMP certification (Scientific or Computational focused advanced degree is a plus).
  • 5+ years relevant experience in pharmaceutical drug discovery/development.
  • Experience with biologics development is a plus.
  • 5+ years project management experience in pharmaceutical industry R&D.
  • Track record of advancing R&D projects though Discovery to developmental candidate nomination
  • Direct experience initiating and advancing an internal portfolio & product management organization
  • Experience advancing through preclinical to IND filings a plus
  • Ability to take ownership and make decisions as necessary as well as escalate when senior leadership input is required
  • ​​Ability to operate in a fast-paced, multi-disciplinary industrial environment.
  • Industry and startup R&D experience is a plus.
  • ​​Strong oral and written communication skills and meeting facilitation skills with the ability to work with others to achieve objectives.

Compensation and Benefits

  • Competitive salary, Medical/Dental/Vision, paid holidays, and generous stock options.