Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0026
Post Date 9/28/2017
Company Akcea
Title Head of Nordics
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 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. Akcea's most advanced program, volanesorsen, is in development to treat patients with either familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS) or familial partial lipodystrophy (FPL), two orphan lipid disorders that are characterized by extremely high triglycerides and ApoC-III. The most advanced of these 2 indications is FCS with Phase 3 data successfully meeting the primary endpoint. We plan to file for marketing authorization for volanesorsen in the third quarter of 2017 to treat patients with FCS and therefore have started to build our commercial and medical teams in preparation for launch.


Head of  Nordics

The Head of, Nordics will be responsible for the successful planning and execution of pre-launch and launch activities for volanesorsen for the Nordic countries and for building and leading the necessary headcount and resources for a successful launch in the region. S/he will report to the General Manager, UK/ROI & Nordics and will be a key member of the UK/ROI & Nordics management team working closely with multiple functions both locally and globally, in particular the UK/Nordics field medical director (FMD) and UK Sales and marketing director, Global Medical Affairs, Marketing, Global Operations & Effectiveness, and Patient Advocacy.



Near term:

  • Developing pre-launch & launch budgets & plan for volanesorsen (headcount and expenditure) in collaboration with the General Manager (GM)
  • Develop and execute an effective market access strategy & plan for the Nordic markets, engaging with relevant local and national stakeholders
  • Proactively communicating with relevant internal stakeholders (e.g., Global Marketing, Global Commercial Ops, Medical Affairs, Legal, Global Clinical Operations etc.) and external stakeholders (e.g., Patient groups, medical societies etc.)  to identify, plan, develop and/or revise project deliverables which are identified for product or launch success
  • Working with UK/Nordic team to help deliver against launch metrics, and track and monitor progress against plan (KPIs and the like)
  • Supporting strategic commercial initiatives for the Nordic region, including such activities as forecast modeling, market planning etc.
  • Planning and executing medical community leadership initiatives in collaboration with the FMD, to build awareness, understanding and consensus of FCS amongst the medical community prior to launch
  • Liase with and support the development of an FCS patient community across Nordic countries through collaboration with relevant patient groups and networks
  • Develop, plan & Initiate a relevant patient support program for volanesorsen for Nordic countries, engaging with relevant internal and external stakeholders


Longer term (Q2 2018 onwards):

  • Recruit, build & lead an appropriately sized high performing team for the Nordic region
  • Lead pricing and reimbursement submissions and activities for the Nordic countries in collaboration with the General Manager and global market access
  • Develop and execute on key account strategies/plans
  • Meet or exceed revenue targets through effective implementation of the sales operational plan as established with the GM
  • Manage, train, motivate and develop team to perform at a high level and to deliver exceptional customer service
  • Plan the effective use of resources to achieve targets & objectives e.g. budget, workforce planning and product planning
  • Interact with stakeholders and decision makers to establish a significant presence for volanesorsen and Akcea
  • Adhere to all local compliance, employment law, SOPs and policies
  • Develop and execute innovative and high quality education programs for HCPs 
  • In collaboration with the GM, Human Resources and other relevant functional teams, set performance targets, incentives, and regularly review progress vs. target
  • Instill and develop a true key account management philosophy to maximize the treatment benefit of volanesorsen for all relevant stakeholders


  • Minimum 10 years’ experience in biotech or pharmaceuticals, including work with orphan or ultra-orphan products and at least 4 years in leadership positions.
  • Bachelor’s degree in a science or technology; advanced degree in a related field (business, technology, or science) preferred
  • Extensive and up to date knowledge of the Nordic region with in depth knowledge of each countries healthcare and market access environments
  • Significant (at least 3-4 years) marketing experience at a county or regional level required; Global level would be a plus
  • At least 3-4 years’ experience and successful track record of sales and sales management, ideally having built and managed account teams for orphan/ultra-orphan or specialty products
  • Demonstrable experience developing teams and driving successful launch across the Nordic region and individual countries.
  • Ability to leverage knowledge of marketplace, competitor landscape and economic forces and translate them into clear short term and long term strategies
  • Extensive successful experience working and building relationships with patient organizations, professional societies and the medical community
  • Collaborative and able to drive performance through teamwork in a multi-disciplinary environment with both local and international teams while working remotely
  • Superior project management skills, highly effective at managing time and resources
  • Superior written and verbal communication in English
  • Self-starter, used to working with a great deal of autonomy
  • Travel approx. 40-50% - this position requires extensive travel across the Nordic region and more occasionally to UK, EU and US


Excellent salary and benefits package offered.

Please visit our website,, to apply for this position. Reference Requisition #17-0026


Apply On-line
Send This Job to a Friend