South San Francisco, California, United States

Vice President,Intellectual Property

At Lyell, our vision is to develop curative cell-based immunotherapies for solid tumor cancers. We have innovative science originating from our founder’s world class labs and a unique and disruptive approach to research and development. Our company is first and foremost focused on understanding the science. We are a learning organization, dependent on deep collaborative relationships between all of our colleagues, partners and founders. Our culture is based on Science, Respect, Collaboration and Courage and it reflects who we are and the environment we are creating.


The position is responsible for creating intellectual property strategies that will enable the company to protect and grow its asset portfolio. As an internal intellectual property leader, this role needs to be versatile and passionate about developing new ways to craft intellectual property positions and protect groundbreaking innovation. This incumbent will work with scientists, manufacturing professionals, external counsel, and senior management to protect existing inventions and develop and execute strategies for new inventions for existing assets and new programs.


  • Lead global intellectual property strategy and contribute to patent prosecution strategies for the organization's lead product candidates. 
  • In consultation with external counsel and key internal stakeholders, develop a multi-layered strategic approach to optimally manage the company’s portfolio of innovative programs, products, and technologies to maximize the duration of exclusivity and limit the freedom to operate of potential competitors. This approach will include, but not be restricted to, strategic management and enforcement of global intellectual property rights, including drafting & prosecuting patent portfolios, freedom-to-operate, infringement, validity analyses, risk evaluation, and mitigation strategies working individually and in cross-functional global teams. 
  • Provide intellectual property diligence, advice, and strategy for intellectual property transactions to Business Development, Finance, and Senior Management in support of the negotiation, due diligence, execution of strategic transactions, intellectual property licensing agreements, and financings. 
  • Serve as a strategic intellectual property advisor to the Lyell Leadership Team, CEO, and Board of Directors. 
  • Maintain awareness of the evolving intellectual property landscape and anticipate the impact on future challenges and risks to the company. Develop innovative solutions and create business value in response to a highly competitive, dynamic marketplace that includes innovators across multiple modalities targeting similar drug mechanisms. 
  • Work with the Executive Committee to create a culture of high awareness of the IP and the potential to invent across the drug discovery and development continuum. 
  • Foster strong, collaborative relationships with stakeholders across all functional areas and create efficient and effective processes for communicating, advising, and working with stakeholders at all levels of the organization. 
  • Direct and manage outside counsel, and related budgets and, where applicable, negotiate rates, project fees, and timelines.
  • Where applicable, perform BPCIA risk evaluation and deploy mitigation strategies across the product portfolio.


  • MA/MSc degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, chemistry, bioengineering, chemical engineering or similar field with a minimum of 15 years’ experience; 
  • Juris Doctor (J.D.) (U.S.) with admission to the United States Patent & Trademark Office Bar and to a US State Bar 


  • Minimum of 12+ years experience in creating, prosecuting, and advising on complex global patent portfolios and associated strategies for late-stage or marketed large molecule pharmaceutical products
  • 5+ years of experience serving as a strategic IP legal advisor to senior business leaders
  • Experience with adverse patent proceedings and litigation, complex licensing, and/or other transactional matters in the biopharmaceuticals industry 
  • Experience and expertise in global patent portfolio preparation, prosecution, and enforcement for large molecule therapeutics, modalities and related technologies that are in development or being commercialized, experience in enzyme therapeutics a plus 
  • Experience and expertise in global adverse patent proceedings such as IPRs, reissues, reexamination, post-exam, and opposition practices
  • Significant experience providing advice on complex licensing and/or other transactional matters 
  • Significant experience with adverse proceedings including USPTO adverse proceedings (e.g., re-exams, interferences and/or IPRs/PGRs) and European adverse proceedings (e.g., Oppositions) is strongly desired; leading such proceedings and US and/or ex-US litigation experience is a plus 


  • Proven track record of success in leading strategy, innovating and creating business value in a biopharma company that includes fostering teamwork and collaboration with other teams / stakeholders and influencing conflict resolution.
  • Expert knowledge of global intellectual property, transactional, and litigation laws and practices related to the biopharmaceutical industry, and solid functional knowledge of research, development, manufacturing and commercialization of biopharmaceutical products 
  • Expertise in opinion practice with respect to patentability, validity, and freedom to operate 
  • Exceptional communication skills evidenced by consistent highly articulate oral and written communication to all levels of an organization as well as a willingness to listen and learn from others 
  • Demonstrated ability to operate in and advise on issues at the intersection of science, business, and legal matters. 
  • Demonstrated excellent judgment, pragmatism, and negotiation skills 
  • Proven track record as an adaptive and results-oriented performer. This includes balancing competing priorities while managing IP portfolios; multitasking with ease; working effectively both independently and in cross-functional teams; and managing external relationships with outside counsel and collaborators
At Lyell, we believe that highest performing teams include people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences who respectfully challenge each other. We are committed to building an open, diverse and inclusive culture for all employees.
Lyell is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, citizenship status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, veteran status or any other characteristics protected under applicable federal, state and local laws.
The Company complies with all laws respecting equal employment opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants with regard to any protected characteristic as defined by federal, state, and local law.  This position requires you to work onsite at the Company’s facilities and the Company requires that all employees working in its facilities be fully vaccinated (except as required by applicable law).  Therefore, this position requires you to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19, subject to reasonable accommodations for medical or religious reasons, and/or as otherwise required by applicable law.  The Company considers you fully vaccinated once 14 days have passed since you received either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.  The vaccine must have been FDA approved, have emergency use authorization from the FDA, or, for persons fully vaccinated outside of the U.S., be listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization.”
We’ve learned from experience that some of the best people don’t always match our requirements perfectly - if you’re interested and think you could fit, please don’t hesitate to apply.
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