Head of Virology and Vaccine Discovery, Microbial Sciences

Here at AstraZeneca you'll have the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives every day. As one of the world's premier biotechnology companies, our mission is centered on delivering life-changing products that advance world health, and help fight and cure disease. As the Head of Virology and Vaccine Discovery in Microbial Sciences in Gaithersburg, MD, you'll play a pivotal role in driving our scientific knowledge and capabilities to make a positive impact on changing patients' lives.

The Microbial Sciences group at AstraZeneca is constantly pushing the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines to patients, with a passion for discovery and a pipeline to show for it. We're utilizing our expertise in microbiology, virology and vaccines to enable novel approaches to prevent and treat infectious disease. We're industry-leading in immunology, protein engineering and translational science. We offer a unique and strong collaborative network as part of the AstraZeneca family, as together we explore synergies between small and large molecules and novel biologics platforms.

We are seeking a Viral Immunologist with a background in antibody and/or vaccine development experience to join the Microbial Sciences Department at AstraZeneca. This role will have overall leadership and accountability for virology and vaccine research and discovery work. The candidate will provide exceptional project leadership to support the development of novel antibodies and vaccines for the prevention and/or treatment of viral infections in AstraZeneca's infectious disease portfolio. The successful candidate will integrate expertise/findings from discovery research, structural biology, nonclinical and clinical groups to develop programs from inception to the clinic. In addition, the individual will be required to support life cycle management for marketed vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. This role will lead a team of scientists developing novel vaccines and antibodies to prevent or treat Influenza, Rhinoviruses, human metapneumovirus, Respiratory syncytial virus, Coronavirus, as well as other viral targets in the AstraZeneca portfolio.

This is an impactful, high-profile and visible role and requires an individual with outstanding scientific, communication and project management skills as well as the ability to build positive relationships with key stakeholders in Clinical, Antibody Discovery and Protein Engineering, Regulatory and other relevant functions within AstraZeneca as well as external collaborators.

The successful candidate will have drug development experience, demonstrated leadership, and be able to critically evaluate the science, data and competitive landscape that underlies the development strategy. The candidate should be able to effectively communicate across a broad range of audiences and have an ability to clearly articulate project specific strategies as it relates to the overall Microbial Sciences portfolio and strategy.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Develop and execute strategy on new targets, technologies and drug/vaccine delivery programs
  • Manage a group of 20-25 PhD and associate scientists
  • Leads AstraZeneca's early research to develop in vivo expressed mAb programs using DNA, RNA adeno associated virus platforms
  • Provide oversight of laboratories performing in vitro and in vivo virology work
  • Develop and maintain strategic partnerships with academic, government and biotechnology organizations
  • Provide scientific and technical virology support for regulatory communications
  • Able to travel a minimum of 10% overnight
  • The individual must also be successful in a fast-paced product development organization to provide data and reports in a timely manner.

Education, Experience and Skills:
  • PhD in Virology, Immunology or similar scientific area
  • 10+ years of pharmaceutical/biotech industry experience in evaluating anti-viral drugs, vaccines or antibodies in research through early stage clinical trials
  • Experience leading cross-functional research and development teams
  • Laboratory management and environmental and safety compliance
  • Background in molecular biology and virology and cell-based assays to measure viral fitness or susceptibility and/or resistance to novel drugs
  • Outstanding record of contributions in drug or vaccine development for viral diseases particularly for influenza and RSV as evidenced by publications
  • Knowledge of good laboratory practices (GLPs)
  • Have successful consultative, strategic planning and organizational skills working in a matrix environment
  • Have a demonstrated ability to influence and build strong relationships with key external experts in virology and immunology


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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