Senior Director Patient Advocacy

Corporate Communications Waltham, Massachusetts


Apellis is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapeutic compounds to treat disease through the inhibition of the complement system, which is an integral component of the immune system, at the level of C3, the central protein in the complement cascade.

We believe that our lead product candidate, APL-2, has the potential to be a first-in-class treatment targeting C3 that may address the limitations of existing treatment options or provide a treatment option where there currently is none. APL-2 has already shown activity that we believe is clinically meaningful in clinical trials for two distinct medical conditions—geographic atrophy in age-related macular degeneration (GA) and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). We plan to conduct additional clinical trials in GA, PNH, autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) and complement-dependent nephropathies.

Position Summary:

Apellis seeks an experienced, collaborative, and highly motivated leader for the role of Senior Director, Patient Advocacy. The senior director will be responsible for developing and implementing a patient advocacy and engagement strategy for the company, and for leading Apellis’ advocacy efforts in geographic atrophy, a chronic disease that affects one million people in the US and often results in permanent loss of vision. This individual should bring a strong understanding of the biotech/pharma industry, creative solutions for how to partner with the community to achieve shared goals, and proven experience collaborating with Clinical and Medical teams in patient group engagement.

The senior director will have accountability for setting the advocacy strategy for grants and sponsorships, and will work collaboratively with Medical and Clinical to ensure an aligned corporate approach to giving. She/he will also be responsible for instilling the patient voice into the everyday operations of the company and for bringing critical patient insights to inform decision making. This role will report to the VP, Corporate Affairs who is responsible for communications and patient advocacy.

Key Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive patient engagement strategy, ensuring that the company establishes strong relationships across several serious diseases.
  • Drive all patient advocacy engagement activities in geographic atrophy and build Apellis’ reputation in rare disease.
  • Create and bring forward innovative approaches to partnering with patient advocacy groups in areas of strategic alignment.
  • Build the sponsorship and grants strategy for Advocacy, ensuring cross-functional alignment, and manage the budget. Put in place policies and systems to effectively execute the giving strategy.
  • Champion the patient voice and experience internally.
  • Work collaboratively with Medical, Clinical and other groups, and bring in critical patient insights to inform corporate strategies and key decisions.
  • Build a high-performing team and ensure advocacy efforts are aligned across the United States, Europe, and other geographies.
  • Lead and develop patient advocacy focus groups and related advisory boards
  • Develop and manage annual budget and forecasting for patient advocacy and engagement activities
  • Ensure compliance with all internal and external guidelines.


  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in patient advocacy and the pharmaceutical/biotech industry
  • History of building strong and trusting relationships with patient advocacy groups, consistently reflecting a high degree of professionalism, sensitivity, and confidentiality
  • Proven team leadership, development, and management skills. Experience building and/or leading high-performing patient advocacy teams.
  • Strong planning and organization skills with the ability to set priorities effectively and efficiently, and the ability to manage multiple priorities and stakeholders simultaneously
  • Experience developing creative initiatives to enhance patient engagement
  • Understanding of the compliance governing patient engagement and interactions, and the drug development process
  • An entrepreneurial spirit coupled with a drive to embrace innovation and develop creative solutions to challenges
  • Excellent verbal, written, and presentation communication skills and an ability to summarize complex medical and scientific information using terms
  • Ability to travel up to 30% of the time as needed and attend events outside of business hours


  • BS/BA degree

Benefits and Perks:

Apellis offers a great benefit package which includes: health insurance with full premium coverage, 401K with company match, paid time off (PTO), long- term disability insurance, life insurance and more!  Visit to learn more.

Company Background:

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapeutic compounds to treat disease through the inhibition of the complement system, which is an integral component of the immune system, at the level of C3, the central protein in the complement cascade. We believe that this approach can result in broad inhibition of the principal pathways of the complement system and has the potential to effectively control a broad array of complement-dependent autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Visit to learn more


EEO Statement: Apellis is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all applicable federal, state and local fair employment practices laws. Apellis strictly prohibits and does not tolerate discrimination against employees, applicants or any other covered persons because of race, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy), gender (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender or transsexual individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, past, current or prospective service in the uniformed services, genetic information, marital status, AIDS/HIV status, smoker/nonsmoker, and occupational pneumocononiosis or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local law.