The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is an international, not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization that develops and delivers new treatments for neglected diseases affecting millions of the world’s poorest people.
Together with more than 200 public research and industry allies worldwide, we use the power of partnership, innovation, open science, and advocacy to find solutions to a great injustice: the lack of medicines for life-threatening diseases that disproportionately impact poor and marginalized people. Driven by collaboration, not competition, and by patients’ needs, not profits, we promote equitable access, foster inclusive and sustainable solutions, and advocate for a more effective global biomedical R&D system that meets the needs of neglected patients.
Since our inception, DNDi has delivered 12 new treatments for people with sleeping sickness, visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, HIV, hepatitis C, and malaria that have saved millions of lives. We now aim to deliver an additional 11-14 new treatments by 2028 – addressing R&D gaps for neglected tropical diseases and viral infections, including new pandemic-prone diseases (such as Covid-19) and climate-sensitive diseases (such as dengue) with a focus on the needs of patients in low- and middle-income countries.
With more than 250 employees of 33 nationalities located in nine offices on four continents, DNDi is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential parts of our culture and key drivers of our success. We encourage candidates of diverse profiles and backgrounds to apply.
The DNDi Strategy and Operations Department manages the DNDi corporate infrastructure globally (Finance; Human Resources; Information Systems and Technology; Legal Affairs; Alliance Management, Business Development, Procurement, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Facilities)) across its 8 locations. The Department plays a central role in DNDi’s compliance and performance and is the custodian of its Strategic Plan, its IST strategy, People Strategy, Diversity Equity and inclusion Strategy, and Code of Conduct.
Counting Brazil’s Fiocruz as a founding member and numerous collaborations with science and access leaders in Latin American region, DNDi established itself in Rio de Janeiro in 2004. An integral part of DNDi’s global network, DNDi Latin America nurtures R&D and access partnerships in the broad region eco-systems, including for Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, hepatitis C, and dengue, while contributing to DNDi's global strategy. It also undertakes advocacy in support of neglected patients and leads capacity-building projects through multi-country clinical research and drug discovery platforms, including the Chagas Clinical Research Platform and RedeLEISH and the Lead Optimization Latin America (LOLA).
Purpose of the position
DNDi manages numerous contracts with a variety of partners around the world, ranging from academia, research institutes, local government departments, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, CROs, consultants or donors. The drafting, finalization and management of these contracts require a dedicated professional with the appropriate legal qualifications necessary to design appropriate agreements encompassing the various activities of the organization (R&D in life sciences, fundraising, communication, IST, procurement, HR, administration and finance).
DNDi also requires specialist services to operational line or project team, working within tried and tested policy, process, or practice, as well as solving non-routine problems on a case by case/project basis, reflecting complete understanding of the projects, programmes, and DNDi environment
The Senior Legal Counsel will work closely with Project Managers and other internal stakeholders, as well as external legal advisors (if and when required).
Specific job responsibilities
- Draft, review and negotiate all international (worldwide) and local contracts for the specific disease, products or departments (including CDAs, MTAs, various kinds of technical, preclinical and clinical Service Agreements, Clinical Trial agreements, MOU, collaboration agreements, IP licensing agreements, etc.) in close collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.
- Deal with complex matters involving multiple stakeholders.
- Conduct legal due diligence:
- Identify and assess, with relevant internal stakeholders, contractual and legal risks
- Ensure consistency between interconnected contracts (e.g. confidentiality, intellectual property and licensing issues)
- Ensure conformity with DNDi’s statutory and legal requirements, objectives, donors’ and partners’ requirements as well as with internal policies, processes.
- Manage decision processes by providing timely and practically sensible advice on appropriate courses of action
- Provide legal support and advice on corporate governance matters in several jurisdictions
- Conduct legal research when needed or requested and prepare relevant high-quality documentation for relevant leadership teams.
- Be the focal legal person for specific departments, disease programmes or offices, for local and global worldwide requests.
- Liaise with external lawyers, when needed.
The above list of responsibilities is not exhaustive, and you may be required to undertake other responsibilities appropriate to your grade. This job description may be subject to review.
- The Senior Legal Counsel reports to Director of Legal Affairs in Switzerland
- The Senior Legal Counsel reports in dotted line to the Head of Operations of DNDi office in Brazil
- Works with the Legal team, and this role will work closely with Project Managers and other internal stakeholders, as well as external legal advisors (if and when required).
Skills and attributes
- Very strong ability to use initiative, prioritize, multi-task, and work well under pressure to meet deadlines
- Very clear and systematic thinking that demonstrates good judgment and problem-solving competencies
- Very strong communication skills in multicultural, multi-lingual environments
- Very strong ability to work effectively as part of a multicultural team
- Very well organized and structured
- Very strong analytical skills
- Very strong ability to provide high level support in project/programme delivery
- Very strong ability to manage medium/large projects with budget management
- Strong strategic thinking and leadership abilities
- Very strong management, negotiation, and advocacy skills
- Very strong ability to exercise high degree of independence to support programme delivery and explore new areas of activities
- Very strong ability to interact with internal and external stakeholders
- Lead and motivate a team for optimum performance, supervising junior staff, in case needed
- At least 8 years in-house legal experience among which at least 3-4 years at Legal Counsel level. Post-qualification experience in law firm will be considered
- Working experience in corporate, international or non-profit organization; ideally gained within a healthcare / pharmaceutical/ biotechnology environment, or alternatively, with a top-tier law firm representing pharmaceutical & technology clients.
- Proven ability to work effectively in an international environment (i.e. cross-border projects) and matrix structure
- Experience working on international contract negotiations, and legal advice involving different jurisdictions.
- Experience working with affiliates or other group member entities located across geographies.
- Experience working with different legal systems. Work experience in Europe would be an advantage.
- Advanced post graduate degree or graduate degree with equivalent in experience to reach Master level.
- Qualified lawyer with strong academic performance from a reputable university (postgraduate degree would be an added advantage). Qualification in common law is a plus.
- Fluent in Portuguese, English, and Spanish
- Proficiency in French is a plus.
- Very good knowledge of Microsoft Suite
- Please submit your application using the online form
- Deadline for application: Accepting applications until 10 December 2022.
- Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
- This position might close early if we have filled the position.