Job Details

Requisition Number 18-0009
Post Date 2/2/2018
Company Akcea
Title Vice President, Human Resources
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 to gain global approval and market access to these new therapeutics.

Established as a subsidiary of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in late 2014 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Akcea was founded with a portfolio of development-stage drugs covering multiple targets and disease states using advanced antisense therapeutics. In July 2017, Akcea closed its initial public offering of common stock and is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “AKCA.”



The Vice President, Human Resources will lead all aspects of Human Resources for Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. in a dynamic, high growth environment. S/he will operate as part of the Akcea executive team to provide leadership and execution in HR strategy, programs, policies and practices to support the Akcea’s business plans and objectives.

Reporting to the COO, this individual will develop and deliver effective solutions for talent acquisition and management, total rewards, automation of people related processes, employee relations, performance management, organizational development, learning and succession planning. Key to success in this role will be developing an understanding of Akcea’s business, growth strategy, culture and the evolution of the company and translating that knowledge into practical HR solutions that position the organization for future success.


  • As a member of the senior leadership team, work closely with senior leadership, functional and business unit leaders to determine, develop and execute global human resource strategies that effectively support overall business strategies
  • Work with senior leadership to determine talent acquisition needs and help establish recruitment plans; support hiring managers on a global basis to rapidly expand their teams by enabling rapid screening and recruitment of outstanding talent
  • Proactively lead the development of HR policies, processes, programs, and practices that support the continued evolution of the business
  • Ensure a relevant, competitive total rewards offering that enables the company to attract and retain top talent
  • Oversee and support the performance management process and provide guidance to leaders on their employee reviews, evaluations and resulting compensation
  • Advise management regarding hiring decisions, equal employment opportunity, compensation, benefits, and health/safety issues on a global basis
  • Design, implement and coordinate health benefits and retirement savings plans for employees of the company that meet executive approval and encourage employee engagement; oversee selection and management of benefits broker relationships, including evaluation of optimal benefits based on local standards
  • Assist leadership with translating Akcea’s strategic goals into actions
  • Serve as an advisor to senior leadership team by providing insight, coaching and HR related solutions to functional and business unit leaders in the effective management and development of their people and their organizations
  • Provide leadership and guidance to the HR team, as well as a network of global consultants to support an expanding team in multiple countries
  • Build organizational bench strength by ensuring business wide commitment to the talent management & succession planning process
  • Partner with senior leadership to analyze organizational trends in employee engagement/satisfaction, retention, etc. and establish plans to ensure employee satisfaction and company success
  • Champion company culture, team spirit and a collaborative work environment
  • Policies & Procedures
    • Monitor State and Federal laws, along with industry best practices to develop and maintain company policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the various government regulations
    • Develop and implement human resources policies to meet the organizational needs, comply with state and federal laws and support the organization’s mission and vision
  • Employee Relations
    • Evaluate employee relations and work-related issues; meet with supervisors and managers to determine effective remediation techniques, such as training or personal intervention to resolve employee relations issues
    • Conduct investigations on employee relations issues and advise management on appropriate resolution
    • Monitor employee counseling, disciplinary actions, and performance improvement plans; oversee involuntary termination procedures and approve employee separations notices and related documentation
    • Establish, build and maintain strong relationships with employees and management
  • Maintain a human resources information system that meets management information and compliance needs
  • Prepare Board of Director’s Compensation Committee materials and other presentations as required for management and staff


  • Ten (10) years progressive, generalist experience in all aspects of Human Resources management, with five (5) years in management or executive level position in a comparable size organization, preferably in biotech, pharmaceuticals, or healthcare
  • Master’s degree in Human Resources Management, Business Administration or related field preferred
  • Experience working directly with senior business leaders with the ability to influence
  • Experience developing and leading a high performing diverse team of HR professionals and managers in multiple locations
  • A track record of successfully developing HR strategies and implementing efficient HR procedures that align with the company culture
  • Strong knowledge of Talent Acquisition, Benefits, Compensation, Leadership and Organizational Development and Employee Relations functions
  • Knowledge of US state/federal labor laws and regulations required
  • Experience supporting and building teams outside of the United States preferred
  • Strong interpersonal skills, sensitivity and confidentiality
  • Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook
  • Ability to travel both domestically and internationally 20% of the time
  • Position may be based in either Carlsbad/San Diego or the Boston/Cambridge area
  • Requires ~25% travel between Carlsbad/San Diego and Boston/Cambridge

Excellent salary and benefits package offered.
For more information on Akcea and to apply for this position, please visit our website: Reference requisition #18-0009


Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. is proud to be an EEO employer.

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