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Senior Director/ Vice President, Head of IP



Sales & Business Development
South San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Friday, April 26, 2024


The Opportunity

insitro is changing the way drugs are discovered and developed for patients by using AI/ML to address bottlenecks throughout the drug discovery and development process. Our models are derived from a combination of external human cohort data and high-quality in vitro data generated in-house. To enable and implement this vision, we're building a unique, high-efficiency research and development engine that incorporates a range of modern technologies - both experimental and computational - and deploys them robustly and at scale to generate a pipeline of differentiated therapeutics.

We are seeking an experienced patent attorney to lead our intellectual property efforts in developing and executing a robust intellectual property strategy, addressed to advancing business goals at the intersection of computation, biology and chemistry. Reporting to the Chief Legal Officer, you will have a broad scope of responsibilities related to the development, management and deployment of intellectual property assets for business value, as well as managing third-party intellectual property risk, licensing and freedom to operate matters. Our unique scientific strategy requires a similarly unique approach to intellectual property, spanning cutting edge capabilities in AI/ML, cell biology, chemistry, and more; novel approaches that often bring together ideas from these diverse disciplines; and therapeutic intervention patents that include both molecules and new types of biomarkers. In this role, you will need a deep understanding of these diverse disciplines as well as the ways in which they can synergize to create disproportionate value. Your role will require you to craft new IP strategies for cross-disciplinary inventions to provide a much stronger competitive moat for our work at insitro.

The role requires exemplary leadership, collaboration, communication, and influencing skills as well as a curious mind and desire to learn. The role also requires a business-oriented and outcome-driven approach. The role will be based in South San Francisco, with a hybrid approach of three days per week in the office. This is an excellent opportunity for a seasoned IP attorney who is passionate about using their skills at the intersection of legal matters and company building to advance therapeutic discovery and help make a difference to patients.


Your responsibilities will include, but not be limited to:

  • Patent portfolio development: Position and prosecute currently filed cases for success. Identify new subject matter for filing, obtain approval and work with outside counsel on case strategy. Work with scientists and engineers across disciplines such as therapeutic molecules, stem cell engineering, chemical engineering, molecular biology, genetics, software, machine learning, and automation on the prioritization and disclosure of patent-worthy innovation. Coordinate the work and focus of insitro's IP Review Committee in support of the foregoing. Select and implement a patent docketing platform that supports robust metrics generation and reporting capabilities.
  • Trademark portfolio management: Prosecute for registration existing and new company trademarks. Manage trademark portfolio, including brand preservation.
  • IP rights clearance & licensing: Evaluate emerging technical and scientific operations of the company to determine FTO risk and in-licensing opportunities. Conduct patent landscape assessments in business areas of interest. Support sourcing and execution of license arrangements and advise on disputed claims.
  • Manage proprietary information: Identify and catalog trade secrets and proprietary know how. Advise on research capture, knowledge management and both internal and external publishing efforts.
  • Legal function administration: Support management, content sharing and communication systems for providing scalable support to insitro employees across IP-impacted issue areas. Develop form documents, policies and best practices to support a company in a rapid growth stage. Identify and scope future IP management needs of the Legal Department, including new hires, outside counsel expansion and internal support resources.

About You

  • Graduate studies in either (i) computer science, machine learning, or a related computer science discipline or (ii) chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology or bioinformatics.
  • J.D. from a top tier law school.
  • Active membership in good standing in at least one state bar.
  • USPTO Patent Bar registration.
  • Minimum of 12 years practice as a patent professional, preferably with 5+ years in an in-house legal department and 3+ years' experience at a top tier national law firm.
  • In depth understanding of ML techniques required.
  • Exposure to computational methods relevant to drug design and development strongly preferred
  • Experience with biopharma-specific patent and IP conventions strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and execute on IP strategy across integrated technical disciplines, particularly with respect to the application of computational based methods for therapeutic discovery and development.
  • Demonstrated ability to bring creative and tactical IP solutions to complex technology, R&D and business issues.
  • Able and willing to quickly learn new technologies and deploy integrated thinking across multiple technical disciplines.
  • Dynamic self-starter, with a results-oriented approach, who can intuitively prioritize, juggle and advance multiple projects under the resource, information and time constraints in a small, fast paced environment.
  • Able and willing to play a hands-on, sleeves-rolled-up role in drafting and reviewing patent-related filings while managing the engagement of outside counsel efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Collaborative and proactive team player.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • A sense of humor and a desire to have fun while working hard and doing good work.

Nice to Have

  • Experience supporting the due diligence, drafting and negotiation processes for life science business development transactions including research and development agreements, collaborations, and license agreements.
  • Experience with patent-impacted biopharma regulatory matters, particularly with respect to the interplay between the drug approval process and patent considerations.
  • Experience working at an early stage startup.
  • Familiarity with open source software license concepts and legal agreements.

Compensation & Benefits at insitro

Our target starting salary for successful US-based applicants for this role is $275,000.00 - $345,000.00. To determine starting pay, we consider multiple job-related factors including a candidate's skills, education and experience, market demand, business needs, and internal parity. We may also adjust this range in the future based on market data.

This role is eligible for participation in our Annual Performance Bonus Plan (based on company targets by role level and annual company performance) and our Equity Incentive Plan, subject to the terms of those plans and associated policies.

In addition, insitro also provides our employees:

  • 401(k) plan with employer matching for contributions
  • Excellent medical, dental, and vision coverage (insitro pays 100% of premiums for employees on our base plans), as well as mental health and well-being support
  • Open, flexible vacation policy
  • Paid parental leave
  • Quarterly budget for books and online courses for self-development
  • Support to occasionally attend professional conferences that are meaningful to your career growth and development
  • New hire stipend for home office setup
  • Monthly cell phone & internet stipend
  • Access to free onsite baristas and cafe with daily lunch and breakfast
  • Access to free onsite fitness center
  • Commuter benefits

insitro is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.

We believe diversity, equity, and inclusion need to be at the foundation of our culture. We work hard to bring together diverse teams–grounded in a wide range of expertise and life experiences–and work even harder to ensure those teams thrive in inclusive, growth-oriented environments supported by equitable company and team practices. All candidates can expect equitable treatment, respect, and fairness throughout the interview process.

About insitro
insitro is a drug discovery and development company using machine learning (ML) and data at scale to decode biology for transformative medicines. At the core of insitro’s approach is the convergence of in-house generated multi-modal cellular data and high-content phenotypic human cohort data. We rely on these data to develop ML-driven, predictive disease models that uncover underlying biologic state and elucidate critical drivers of disease. These powerful models rely on extensive biological and computational infrastructure and allow insitro to advance novel targets and patient biomarkers, design therapeutics and inform clinical strategy. insitro is advancing a wholly owned and partnered pipeline of insights and therapeutics in neuroscience, oncology and metabolism. Since launching in 2018, insitro has raised over $700 million from top tech, biotech and crossover investors, and from collaborations with pharmaceutical partners. For more information on insitro, please visit www.insitro.com.