International Association for the Study of Pain

Program Director (lead), Pain

Spotlight Preferred
Remote, United States
13 days ago



Exicure, Inc. is a biotechnology company developing nucleic acid therapies targeting RNA against validated targets to neurological disorders and hair loss. Our team includes a diverse scientific group with expertise in nucleic acid chemistry, drug development and neuroscience. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Exicure conducts its discovery and development efforts in-house with a dedicated 30,000 sq ft. facility, including rapid and automated high throughput nucleic acid synthesis and screening.

Our platform for therapeutic nucleic acids demonstrates high potency, broad uptake, and prolonged efficacy in both in vitro and in vivo neurological models. The basis of our discovery approach harnesses our expertise in oligonucleotide chemistry to validated targets where we can screen thousands of oligonucleotides efficiently and validate top candidates in the appropriate cell and live animal models.

Exicure's lead program is a non-opioid pain analgesic directed against the genetically validated target SCN9A (Nav1.7). Exicure has also identified several promising candidates across a series of CNS conditions with high unmet need including Huntington disease, Angelman syndrome, Batten disease, spinocerebellar ataxia, and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Program:  Pain, SCN9A                                                           

Chronic pain is a major burden on society, costing the United States economy alone, greater than $600 billion annually.  Affecting approximately 100 million Americans, chronic pain is the leading cause of disability. There are insufficient treatment options for patients and a desperate need for the development of new analgesic treatment options, particularly ones that are highly efficacious and can be given for many years without concern of tolerance or addiction.  Antisense oligonucleotides have potential for highly effective, non-addictive pain relief that are well tolerated: Oligonucleotides are capable of modulating gene expression via multiple mechanisms, enabling therapeutic applications to previously undruggable targets. 

SCN9A is a validated target for the treatment of chronic pain.  This target is the gene encoding Nav1.7, a trans-membrane sodium channel that plays a critical role in pain signaling.  Exicure is developing XCUR-SCN9A, a SNA for the treatment of chronic pain. XCUR-SCN9A decreases Nav1.7 protein expression via RNase H-mediated degradation of SCN9A mRNA. Nav1.7 is translated from SCN9A mRNA within the cell body of the dorsal root ganglia, a critical tissue in pain signaling. Preliminary data to date has identified several promising SNA candidates that achieve greater than 95% knockdown. Human genetic studies suggest that reduction of SCN9A expression by approximately 50% may have therapeutic benefit. Additionally, animals dosed SNAs intrathecally demonstrate robust distribution across the spinal cord and DRGs, which will facilitate SCN9A knockdown in the pain-relevant cells.

From these promising findings, Exicure continues development with the aim of helping patients with chronic pain where quality of life is significantly impacted and few long-term treatment options exist.

Position: Program Director, Pain

The Program Director, Pain will lead the overall efforts of our most critical internal program.  Reporting to the CEO, the incumbent will be a key leader and will be responsible for working across functional areas to create and execute our pain program strategy and deliverables.


Lead program strategy effort, which will integrate plans for research, pre-clinical and clinical development. 

Apply pre-clinical development knowledge and program management best practices in the development, initiation, planning, and execution of a major program.

Provide clear direction on product development requirements to meet internal and external stakeholders expectations.

Internal lead for late-stage development considerations (regulatory, clinical, and commercial)

Oversee program performance, risks and financial management, and issues resolution.

Interact with leaders across research, development, manufacturing, regulatory and other functions to drive execution of high quality, integrated cross-functional project plans.

Interact with senior management, executives, and major external partners, to drive matters of significance to the program and the organization. Reconcile multiple stakeholder views to drive program and company results.



BS in life sciences field, preferably an MS or PhD

Demonstrated experience in successfully developing pain therapies, at minimum to IND approval, ideally through NDA

Experience in pain drug development planning and execution through pre-clinical development, with working knowledge of clinical and commercial needs

Experience with oligo drug development and/ or intrathecal route of administration is a plus

Ability to successfully interact with and across multiple senior executives to meet company objectives

Job Information

  • Job ID: 63212868
  • Location:
    Remote, United States
  • Company Name For Job: Exicure
  • Position Title: Program Director (lead), Pain
  • Sector: Private Industry
  • Discipline: Other / Not Listed
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Job Duration: Indefinite
  • Min Education: BA/BS/Undergraduate

Please refer to the company's website or job descriptions to learn more about them.

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