Client: GlaxoSmithKline
REF: 20370

 “The most important changes that I wanted to make were, firstly, to focus again primarily on pharma, our biggest business, where we allocate the most capital—and which has the highest risk, highest return. And at the heart of that is R&D. Because I believe that is why a company like GSK should exist, and hopefully should endure, because we discover and develop medicines that make a meaningful difference. […] I wanted to get back to our R&D, and to our mojo around science and discovery and development again.”

 – Emma Walmsley, CEO, in conversation with Fortune.

GlaxoSmithKline is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. The company has 3 global businesses that research, develop and manufacture innovative pharmaceutical medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products. Their goal is to be one of the world’s most innovative, best-performing and trusted healthcare companies.

GSK’s Pharmaceuticals business has a broad portfolio of innovative and established medicines with leadership positions in respiratory and HIV. The company is strengthening its pipeline through a focus on science related to the immune system, human genetics and advanced technologies.

The Opportunity

GSK is going through an unprecedented period of growth and change. With significant product launches planned in the next few years, substantial business development of both assets and technologies and a robust pipeline of biologics, small molecules and cell and gene therapies in development for the future, IP will continue to remain indispensable to the successful execution of the company’s strategy.

Against this background, as the VP Pharma Patents – US, you will assume lead responsibility for all patent matters arising from non-oncology R&D in the United States. Approximately half of GSK’s global R&D operations are based in the US. You will also lead a team of approximately 20 US patent attorneys, and be accountable for ensuring that appropriate IP support is provided to GSK’s HIV joint venture, ViiV.

Responsibilities will therefore include, but not be limited to:

• Establishing and implementing patent strategies and practices to optimise global patent procurement and enforcement for non-oncology assets originating from GSK’s US R&D hub.
• Providing high level advice and counselling pertaining to GSK’s patent rights to senior clients across R&D and commercial, from target identification to post-launch.
• As a member of the Pharma Patents leadership team, working with the VP, Global Head Pharma Patents and your UK counterparts to: set overall patent strategy and priorities; manage headcount, budget and allocation of attorney resources; contribute to strategic decisions impacting Pharma patent strategy, operations, and substantive legal matters.

The Candidate

The successful candidate will possess:

  • A strong academic background in chemistry or biology, ideally to doctorate level;
  • A JD with registration before the USPTO;
  • Over 10 years’ practical IP experience, primarily focused on pharmaceuticals;
  • Prior experience leading and managing a team of IP attorneys;
  • Extensive experience advising senior executives across all functions on crucial IP issues.

It is also essential that candidates demonstrate a familiarity with and passion for cultural transformation projects. An appreciation of the complexities involved in redesigning best practices and strategies to align with changes in R&D, and an ability to effectively execute on a new vision, is central to the new vice president’s mandate. Whether your career to date has developed primarily within one company or several, and whether your experience has been acquired within clinical-stage biotech, Big Pharma or generics, evidence of your creativity and adaptability will be sought.

If you would like to explore this opportunity further, please contact

Julian Adamson


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