UCB Celltech

Early-Stage Researcher

UCB Celltech

Slough, United Kingdom

Marie SkƗodowska-Curie Actions

Innovative Training Networks (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2017)“SECRETERS

An Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) position for 3-year PhD project is offered at Celltech R+D (UCB-Pharma) based in Slough, UK as part of a consortium of 11 participant organisations and 15 PhD students in the Marie SkƗodowska-Curie Actions International Training Network (ITN) project “SECRETERS”. This consortia is working towards common scientific goals focused on the secretion of recombinant proteins from microbial systems. The Celltech R+D project will focus on the expression of antibody variants in E. coli.

UCB is a global biopharmaceutical company, with a focus on neurology and immunology. We are more than 7,500 people in all four corners of the globe, inspired by patients and driven by science. UCB discovers and clinically develops its own therapeutic antibody drugs and recombinant expression systems are an important aspect of the drug discovery process.

PhD Description

SECRETERS offers a challenging PhD research training programme of 3 years, which is to be completed with a PhD thesis at the UCB research site in Slough, UK. Slough is to the west of London in the ‘Thames Valley’ area and hence has great connectivity to Europe via London Heathrow airport and Eurostar trains. The project will focus on improving existing industrial utility E. coli manufacturing platform but in this project explore and develop it for the expression of complex antibody formats The development will be achieved through use of proteomic and other analyses with the goal of development of engineered strains, expression plasmids, processes and/or tools. Complex antibody formats such as bispecific antibodies are overtaking standard IgG in clinical interest but their production in microbial hosts has not been well established. This PhD project will test the utility of E. coli to produce complex antibody formats.

UCB has an excellent infrastructure, is well-equipped with state-of-the-art technologies which are available for the students research. The student will be treated as an integrated member of team in our Discovery Sciences organization and hence will be exposed to a wide range of current company research goals. We are highly experienced in the hosting and training of PhD students, including ITN ESR’s and promote equal opportunities. In addition to hands-on training in multidisciplinary and intersectoral research, we offer extensive transferable skills training through network-wide training events. The ESR will undertake up to a 3-month intersectoral secondment with one of the recruiting organizations within the SECRETERS consortium. The PhD will be matriculated by the UK university, Kent.

We invite

Proficiency in English is a strict requirement. Applicants with a relevant degree in the fields of molecular biology, microbiology, biotechnology, biochemistry or process sciences, equivalent to or better than an upper second UK grade, are invited to apply. Practical experience and competencies in molecular biology, bacterial protein expression, proteomics or bacterial fermentation are preferable. Notably, at the date of recruitment, applicants must be in the first four years of their career and not have a doctoral degree. They can be a national of any country, but must not have resided in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date (and not have carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the UK).

Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview by phone / Skype followed by a face-to-face interview at UCB, Slough, UK. All travel and/or accommodation costs will be reimbursed. PhD will start between 1st June and 1st October 2019 and run for 3 years.

Applications should email a letter of motivation, curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, copies of relevant degrees (BSc/MSc) and, if applicable, a list of publications to Dr. David Humphreys at david.humphreys@ucb.com and Dr Emma Davé at emma.dave@ucb.com. The closing date for applications is 28th June 2019 but interviews may be conducted before this date

SECRETERS Consortium

The SECRETERS project “A new generation of microbial expression hosts and tools for the production of biotherapeutics and high-value enzymes” is coordinated by the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). The project will involve extensive collaborations between 6 academic and 5 industrial participants, who are based in 6 European countries. The ‘SECRETERS’ partnership aims to bring about a step change in the production of recombinant proteins, particularly Biotherapeutics and Industrial Enzymes. Both are critical products for the EU biotechnology sector, with combined markets in excess of $140 billion p.a.; the former are essential for the treatment of major diseases whereas the latter permeate every aspect of our daily life. Many proteins in these categories pose severe problems in production, especially disulphide-bonded proteins and new format ‘difficult-to-express’ proteins. SECRETERS will train a team of 15 PhD students (ESRs) to develop a new generation of super-producing microbial production hosts, including Escherichia coli, Bacillus species and the yeast Pichia pastoris. The project capitalizes on a series of recent innovations and involves close collaboration between 6 academic Beneficiaries, who provide world-leading expertise in redox chemistry, synthetic biology and protein expression, and 5 non-academic Beneficiaries, who include some of the world’s premier biotherapeutic and industrial enzyme companies. It will enable the biotherapeutics industry to produce challenging medicines at lower costs, resulting in new drugs and wider patient access, and allow the enzymes industry to deliver a range of powerful new products. Based on a responsible innovation approach, with clear foci on research and entrepreneurial training, SECRETERS will deliver a team of superbly-trained scientists, poised to engage in some of Europe’s most important biotechnology sectors.


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Early-Stage Researcher