Associate Director, Molecular Diagnostic Science

AstraZeneca UK

Location: Cambridgeshire

Job Type: Full time


Are you an experienced Molecular Biologist with a passion to apply your skills andbring technical expertise and scientific innovation to develop novel circulating tumour DNAdiagnostic tests for usein aclinicalsetting?If so, this could be the role for you!

AstraZenecadelivers companion and complementary diagnostic assays that match medicines to those patients who are most likely to benefit from them. This approach, known as Precision Medicine, is based on those individual characteristics that make some patients respond to treatment better than others. We use this knowledge to develop diagnostic tests that doctors can use to help prescribe the best treatment for each patient.

As an Associate Director,Molecular Diagnostics Science, you will use your knowledge of ctDNAand cutting-edge technologies(NGS, WGS, WES, MRD,epigenomics, fragmentomicsetc) to provide scientific andtechnical expertise to deliver innovative ctDNA diagnostics approaches to AstraZeneca’s clinical portfolio, through strategic partnerships with leading diagnostic companies.

The role holder will be accountable for

  • Overseeing the delivery ofctDNAdiagnostic science and innovation projects , through close collaboration withthe cross-functionalctDNA projectteam

  • Evaluating the performance of novel ctDNA diagnostics through delivery of diagnostic feasibility studies

  • Building and maintaining a knowledge of current and emerging technologies in area of expertise and identifying opportunities for innovation and internal/external collaborations

  • Developing innovative ctDNAdiagnostic science proposals across core therapeutic areas

  • Providing scientific and strategic input into precision medicine approaches for diagnostic and drug product teams

  • Ensuring that all activities are delivered demonstrating behaviours and values aligned to AstraZeneca Code of Conduct and supporting policies, standards and procedures, including compliant management of Budget, Safety, Health and Environment

Typical Accountabilities, what you will be doing:

Strategic direction

  • Make a marked contribution to overall ctDNA strategy to identifyand evaluate diagnostic partners who can further the mission of the relevant diagnostic and drug product teams

  • Deliver scientific and strategic advice to the development and execution ofctDNA diagnostic science projectsand feasibility studies to inform internal decision-making,address barriers to meet the needs of patient, payers, physicians and add value to drug products

  • Obtain and manage investment to enable ctDNA diagnostic innovation and science work packages

  • Deliver expert advice of high scientific quality on ctDNA diagnostic testing options for precision medicine approaches and companiondiagnostic development to relevant product teams


  • Provide leadership for delivery of ctDNAdiagnostic science within AstraZeneca’s Precision Medicine and Biosamples department, including communication of a clear ctDNA scientific strategy and inspirational vision

  • Draw upon previous experience and expert knowledge to provide and maintain a relevant knowledge base of ctDNAdiagnostic development and new technologies for the Molecular Diagnostics and ctDNA project teams.

Planning, Monitoring and Delivering

  • Ensure delivery of objectives and milestones for ctDNA diagnostic innovation andscience projects to ctDNA project team, including sourcing of human biological samples for feasibility studies

  • Accountable for the delivery of ctDNA diagnostic innovation and science projects to time, budget and quality

Assessing and Managing Risk

  • Provide regular updates on progress, risks, issues and opportunities to Molecular Diagnostic team, ctDNA project team, governance bodies or leadership teamsas required

  • Work with Molecular Diagnostics leadership team to resolve resource, quality and budget issues

  • Manage risk in an appropriate and compliant manner

  • Ensure compliance with all AstraZeneca Policies and Standards and immediately address instances of non-compliance

Governance processes and stakeholder interactions

  • Provide data to senior leaders and to governance bodies (e.g. Global Product Team (GPT)) as required

  • Ensure that all governance issues are identified and reported appropriately

Education, Qualifications, Skills and Experience:


  • Masters / PhD or equivalent experience in a relevant subject

  • Record of delivery in a scientific capability

  • Leadership ability and global team working

  • Excellent molecular biology skills including experience in Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), ctDNA, DNA and RNA handling methodsand other relevant molecular biology, genomics and/or epigenomics techniques.

  • Excellent knowledge of current technology trends in ctDNA detection and ctDNA diagnostics

  • Excellent knowledge of scientific literature with deep understanding in molecular biology, ctDNA detection and/or ctDNA diagnostics, demonstrated through publications in peer reviewed journals

  • Experience of leading projects within a diagnostic or drug development organisation

  • Experience of working with external partners or collaborators (ideally academic investigators and diagnostic companies)and in large cross-functional teams to drive timely and successful outcomes, through effectively working across internal and external boundaries.

  • Ability to communicate with cross-functional stakeholders for project updates through oral presentations and progress reports

  • Ability to identify risks and escalate appropriately

  • Good interpersonal skills and ability to act as an ambassador for Precision Medicine internally and externally

  • Can work in multidisciplinary teams/projects and can influence across disciplines

  • Ability to manage change and uncertainty

  • A confident team player who is assertive but willing to listen and learn from the views of others

  • Excellent organisational skills, with the proven ability to deliver high quality work under pressure and against tight timelines

  • Knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the aims and objectives of personalised healthcare

  • Willingness to travel both nationally and internationally


  • An understanding of drug and companion diagnostic assay co-development and commercialisation and experience working in early and/or late phase projects

  • Demonstrable experience of analytical diagnostic assay validation and use in a clinical testing setting

  • Demonstrable experience of successful scientific proposal applicationsincluding resource and budget planning

  • Good computational and data analysis skills enabling automated/semi-automated analysis of large datasets (e.g. using software and programming languages such as R, Python, knime or equivalent)

  • Knowledge of requirements related to handling of Human Biological Samples

  • Proven experience of delivery and use of data for diagnostic projects for regulatory submissions

  • Experience of leading projects within a diagnostic or drug development organisation.

Location: Cambridge, UK; Warsaw, Poland; Barcelona, Spain

Salary: Competitive + Excellent Benefits

Next steps, if you feel you are suitable for the role please apply!

Why AstraZeneca?

At AstraZeneca when we see an opportunity for change, we seize it and make it happen, because any opportunity no matter how small, can be the start of something big. Delivering life-changing medicines is about being entrepreneurial - finding those moments and recognizing their potential. Join us on our journey of building a new kind of organization to reset expectations of what a bio-pharmaceutical company can be. This means we’re opening new ways to work, pioneering innovative methods and bringing unexpected teams together. Interested? Come and join our journey.

So, what’s next?

A place built on courage, curiosity and collaboration – we make bold decisions driven by patient outcomes. Empowered to lead at every level, free to ask questions and take calculated risks that write the next chapter for our pipeline. If you are inspired by the possibilities, don’t hesitate in submitting an application today!

Competitive salary and benefits package available.

Where can I find out more?

Connect with our recruiter on LinkedIn: Zara Newman:

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Date Posted


Closing Date


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 authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements.

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