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Oncology Discovery Safety Cell Therapy Lead

Location Cambridge, England, United Kingdom Job ID R-070490 Date posted 02/10/2020

Become a key player in the discoveryof innovative oncology medicines

At AstraZeneca we work together across global boundaries to make an impact and find answers to challenges. We do this with integrity, even in the most difficult situations because we are committed to doing the right thing. We are committed to advancing the science of oncology to deliver life-changing medicines to patients with a pipeline that exploits the power of six scientific platforms (Tumour Drivers and Resistance, DNA Damage Response, Immuno-Oncology, Antibody-Drug Conjugates, Epigenetics and Cell Therapy).We currently have nearly 100 Phase 1, 2, 3 and Lifecycle Management Oncology projects in our robust pipeline.

We are seeking a highly motivated Principal Scientist to lead and develop AstraZeneca’s Oncology Safety research program for cell therapies. As an integral member of an “Oncology Cell Therapy Virtual Biotech”, the Safety Lead will influence portfolio shape, decision making, guidance on project progression, discovery and risk mitigation. The successful candidate will have a thorough understanding of cell therapy and CAR T cell field and be highly experienced in designing, executing and overseeing in vitro and/or in vivo studies into cell therapy research.

The candidate will help lead the company’s efforts to develop next generation cell therapies for solid tumours with a focus on investigational and mechanistic safety strategies to quantify and mitigate safety risks to enable selection of leads with the “right safety” profile. Activities will include the development and application of new in vitro and in vivo models to assess cell therapy safety with interpretation of experiments to meet internal and external requirements. The candidate must have an established record of leadership in an academic or industry setting with laboratory-based cell- or immuno- therapy expertise.

Within AstraZeneca we place a strong emphasis on talent development. You will be able to develop your leadership by working together with leaders in cell and molecular biology, pharmacology, investigative safety, drug discovery and development, multi-modal imaging, pathology and predictive safety science.

This position will report to the Head of ICA Discovery Safety. We are based in Cambridge UK Gaithersburg and Boston US.

Oncology Discovery Safety Cell Therapy Lead

Job responsibilities include:

  • Leadership and development of cell therapy safety assessment strategy
  • Identification of CAR T and cell mediated safety risks and mitigation plans
  • Supporting the generation and review of technical, regulatory and other project associated documents, and facilitate management of timelines
  • Engagement with experts across the organisation to develop, refine and implement experimental strategies to engineer cell therapy control mechanisms to mitigate propensity for adverse immune reactions
  • To ensure that teams can make the right decisions regarding safety risks associated with CAR T and cell projects with engineered enhancements
  • To develop innovative solutions and research proposals to pursue cutting edge cell therapy science and technologies such as tumour organoids and humanised PDX mouse models for safety and efficacy assessment
  • To design, execute studies to assess CAR T cell on-target off-tumour cytotoxicity, cytokine release syndrome, neurotoxicity and exaggerated pharmacology with new or enhanced CAR constructs using e.g. multi-color flow cytometry, multiplex cytokine assays, multi-modal imaging and in vivo imaging
  • To make a significant contribution to cell therapy leadership within and outside AstraZeneca including external conferences, workshops and committees
  • To regularly publish in high quality, peer-reviewed journals, present at scientific meetings and engage with academic collaborators and regulators

Job requirements (education and experience) include:

  • PhD in immunology, cancer biology or related field ideally with 5 years of post-doctoral experience preferably in industry or academic CAR T cell therapy
  • A strong scientific track record with experience leading independent research with the ability to train and mentor research associates
  • A solid understanding of T cell biology is required, with an immunotherapy background preferred. Previous experience of working with engineered T-cells and/or cancer immunology field is desirable
  • Experience with the design and execution of in vitro experiments and in vivo models to determine the effects of immuno- or cellular therapies on biological systems, with line of sight to human safety risk understanding
  • Awareness of molecular, viral and genetic modifications of cells ideally related to cellular therapy e.g. retroviral vectors and CRISPR/CAS9 editingExperience with multi-colour flow cytometry, multiplex cytokine measurements, in vitro T cell activation/expansion and immunophenotyping
  • A collaborative, team-oriented mindset, able to solves problems in a goal-focused fashion with capacity to coordinate tasks across multiple projects
  • Excellent communication, presentation, interpersonal and influencing skills across levels/disciplines

Next Steps – Apply today!

To be considered for this exciting opportunity, please complete the full application on our website at your earliest convenience – it is the only way that our Recruiter and Hiring Manager can know that you feel well qualified for this opportunity.  If you know someone who would be a great fit, please share this posting with them.



AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorisation and employment eligibility verification requirements.

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Great culture, great work assignments, supportive management. Rotation opportunity within the company. They value inclusion and diversity.