Director – Biocatalysis

AstraZeneca UK

Location: Cambridgeshire

Job Type: Full time


Location: Cambridge Biomedical Campus (DISC)

Salary: Competitive with Excellent Employee Benefits!

AstraZeneca is a global, science-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing, and delivering innovative, meaningful medicines and healthcare solutions that enrich the lives of patients. Here you’ll have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference to patients’ lives. With science at its heart, this is the place where breakthroughs born in the lab become transformative medicines – for the world’s most complex diseases. Answer unmet medical needs by pioneering the next wave of science, focusing on outcomes, and shaping the patient ecosystem.

AZ Cambridge

An exciting bioscience hotspot, Cambridge is home to one of AstraZeneca’s three strategic, global R&D Centres, alongside Gothenburg and Gaithersburg. Over 3,600 employees work from our various sites across Cambridge and our offices are internationally renowned for attracting exceptional talent.

The Discovery Centre (DISC), located at the heart of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, is designed to play a central role in our mission to deliver life-changing medicines to patients. As our largest research and development centre in the UK, it will have more than 2,000 people working across therapy areas and drug discovery and development once fully occupied.

Find out more about our Cambridge campus and the DISC, here:

Early Chemical Development (ECD) is a world class CMC department with responsibility for early phase Drug Substance. The department’s responsibilities span from early engagement with Discovery Chemistry groups to manufacture of Phase II Clinical material, and its key skill areas include Analytical Chemistry, Crystallisation, Isotope Chemistry, Large-Scale Laboratory (Kilo-Lab) Manufacturing, Process Chemistry, Process Design, Process Engineering, Route Design and Separation Science.

We now have an exciting opportunity for a Director of Biocatalysis, to lead our activities in this area. The individual will work across the business, developing and implementing a strategy for biocatalysis from Early Discovery through to Late Development. The role is based at the vibrant Cambridge Campus, where several Departments (including Discovery Chemistry and Early Chemical Development) are based.

Job Description

We are looking for dedicated and experienced scientist to lead our activities in the area of biocatalysis. The individual will have extensive knowledge of the field of biocatalysis, encompassing the fields of chemistry, biology, manufacturing and analytical including the application of this technology to drug development. The role will initially focus on developing and delivering a long-term business plan.

You will identify and solve problems, championing science and technology innovations in order to further develop AstraZeneca’s strategic capability in biocatalysis. You will set help set the direction and strategy for the long-term business plan, oversee the capability build and recruit staff. You will provide leadership across the chemistry departments, applying biocatalysis to make drug substances in a more sustainable, cost-effective manner.

A passion for implementing new technologies and developing solutions to technical and project challenges is a key requirement for the role, as well as leading collaborators and external partners. By driving innovation, contributing to scientific subject area networks, and delivering presentations and publications you will develop your own profile and improve AstraZeneca’s scientific reputation.

As a line manager of a team of scientists, you will provide leadership, coaching and mentorship alongside scientific/technical input into biocatalysis projects. You will work with your team, and in close collaboration with other skill groups and organisations, to ensure project activities are delivered in line with the overall project timelines, scientific rigour, and appropriate quality.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop a strategy for biocatalysis which will continue to evolve with advances in internal and external science

  • Lead the ongoing long term business plan development and capability build for biocatalysis

  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of technical advances in biocatalysis identifying potential benefits for the business

  • Engage with partners to ensure support and consensus for the long-term business plan and work with scientists on implementation

  • Ensure appropriate identification and purchase of biology, chemical and analytical equipment, working with users, authorities and external vendors

Required Qualifications, Skills, Knowledge and Experience

  • Degree or equivalent scientific qualification in a relevant subject area

  • Significant experience of biocatalysis with a track record of delivery and creativity

  • Experience of protein expression systems, fermentation and enzyme evolution

  • Experience of using biocatalysts on a manufacturing scale and the associated challenges

  • Experience of building capability and implementing new technologies

  • Experience of technical supervision, coaching and mentoring and/or line management

  • Experience of leading teams of people to deliver scientific projects

  • Ability to think and operate across functional boundaries, challenge the status quo and seek opportunities for business improvement

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 driven - finding those moments and recognising their potential. This means we’re opening new ways to work, ground-breaking methods and bringing unexpected teams together. Join us on our journey of building a new kind of organisation to reset expectations of what a bio-pharmaceutical company can be!

So, what’s next?

This role is open from 8th September 2023, and we encourage you to apply as soon as possible, but ahead of the scheduled closing date of Friday, 29th September 2023.

Where can I find out more?

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We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

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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