Job Details

Requisition Number 16-0072
Post Date 3/13/2017
Company Akcea
Title Head of Europe
Employment Type Full Time

Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. is a development and commercialization company focused on impacting the lives of patients with serious cardiometabolic lipid disorders. Our priority is to bring important new therapeutics to patients in need. In order to do so, we must drive clinical program execution, understand patient and physician needs and work with regulators, payers, health care providers and patients to ensure the therapies reach and help those in need. Established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in late 2014 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Akcea was founded with a robust portfolio of development-stage drugs covering multiple targets and disease states using advanced antisense therapeutics.


The Head of Europe is a critical role for Akcea’s growth plans. This individual will be responsible for developing and leading the “go to market” strategies and execution within Europe for Volanesorsen and future pipeline products. This highly visible leader will have demonstrated success at a senior level in planning and launching products in the orphan disease space, including ensuring market access in multiple countries, and will also have a track record of hiring and leading outstanding in-country teams across Europe.


  • Lead, develop and communicate the commercial vision, strategy, and resource requirements to successfully launch volanesorsen in the European markets
  • Initially, where there are no in country resources, be the “first in” employee to begin assessments of key stakeholders – including market access authorities and KOLs
  • Ensure the management of all financial aspects of the European organization including budgeting, forecasting, long-range planning and overall management and accountability of the EU P&L
  • Hire and lead a group of General Managers, who will be responsible for all aspects of the volanesorsen launch in their respective territories
  • Lead the integration of the European business and launch plan objectives and strategies with the global activities
  • Ensure that all operations are performed in accordance with applicable laws, SOPs, and/or guidance documents to maintain the highest standards of compliance
  • Lead the GM’s and the global market access team in obtaining and managing the pricing and reimbursement from relevant National Authorities
  • Develop and maintain an effective internal and external network, including key stakeholders such as KOLs, government representatives, to achieve business objectives
  • Achieve positive outcomes, in conjunction with local country teams, with payors as well as other business and government groups dealing with pharmaceuticals and especially orphan drugs policies
  • Support development of patient associations and advocacy groups, and build strong relationships for the patient’s benefit
  • Ensure uninterrupted supply of product to patients
  • Lead the GMs in forecasting territory sales and activity objectives, and be accountable for overall sales performance in Europe
  • Operate as integrated member of global leadership team and build strong sense of organizational culture
  • Develop account strategies for all appropriate customers
  • Anticipate and identify customers challenges, real and perceived


  • 15+ years of commercial experience, including new product planning, marketing, market analysis, sales & operational leadership experience
  • Prior experience as a country or regional GM and/or medical director
  • Experience in multiple EU countries is a plus
  • Demonstrated success in building commercial organizations and successfully launching new products
  • Extensive experience with developing and executing marketing strategies and tactics, field leadership, market research and analysis and business forecasting
  • Experience in orphan/rare diseases is a plus
  • Sound knowledge of pricing and reimbursement strategies and plans
  • Experience in national reimbursement negotiation and/or private insurances a definite advantage
  • Extensive knowledge of compliance and all laws and regulations that govern promotional and non-promotional activities
  • BS / BA in business, management or science
  • Graduate degree (MBA) and / or equivalent experience and education in strategic leadership and business preferred


  • A resourceful and creative problem solver who will ‘roll up his/her sleeves’ to get the job done
  • Proven track record of being able to “do more with less”, creatively deploying resources to address market needs
  • Self-starter; Strategic decision making in rolling out European infrastructure build thoughtfully with budget and risk in mind, balancing timing of reimbursement and market access
  • Strong executive presence, focus and drive to succeed — confidence, passion and high energy
  • Strong leadership skills, communication, presentation and business partnering ability
  • A strategic/analytical and results-driven thinker with the ability to plan, direct, and lead a robust commercial organization
  • Demonstrated ability to build strong customer relationships
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work with others in a positive, collaborative manner
  • Ability to travel (~50%).

Excellent salary and benefits package offered

Please visit our website,, to apply for this position.

Reference Requisition #16-0072


Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. are proud to be EEO employers.

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