Postdoc Fellow: Peptide Formulations For Long Acting Injectable


Competitive Salary, Bonus & Benefits

Are you passionate about using your peptide chemistry and formulation expertise to help develop simple and low cost sustained released dosage forms that brings life-changing medicines to patients? If so, this unique opportunity to collaborate with a world leading academic at the University of Cambridge and AstraZeneca could be the exciting next step you’ve been looking for.

About AstraZeneca:

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led, patient-centred biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines for some of the world’s most serious disease. But we’re more than a global leading pharmaceutical company. At AstraZeneca, we’re dedicated to being a Great Place to Work where you are empowered to push the boundaries of science and fuel your entrepreneurial spirit. There’s no better place to make a difference to medicine, patients and society.

About the Postdoc Programme:

Bring your expertise, apply your knowledge, follow the science and make a difference.

AstraZeneca’s Postdoc Programme is for self-motivated individuals looking to tackle exciting, high impact projects in a collaborative, engaging and innovative environment. You’ll work with peers and professionals from a diverse group of backgrounds, and a world class academic mentor specifically aligned to your project. We’ll help you develop valuable networks which support your research and future career development.

AstraZeneca Postdocs are respected as specialists and encouraged to speak up. They lead ground-breaking drug discovery and development research projects. Our vibrant, multi-disciplinary scientific teams empower and support our Postdocs, and we encourage them to share their research at conferences, publish papers, achieve their goals and make a difference to our patients.

You’ll learn from industry leaders working on innovative research across our organization. Our Postdoc Training Programme will support you to develop transferrable skills from influencing others to shape the agenda, to data analysis.

Are you ready to explore this exciting next step in your research career?

About the Opportunity:

Peptides are increasingly being recognised as a valuable modality for therapeutic applications due to their high specificity, potency and low toxicity. Nevertheless, peptide development into drug products is often limited by their poor stability and short circulatory half-life. Recent advances in half-life extension strategies include lipidation or incorporation into controlled release delivery systems. However, limitations (including loss of potency, poor solubility, loading efficiency, undesired toxicity of excipients and the high cost of goods) remain.

Self-association properties of certain peptide sequences to produce stable higher ordered structures which upon local injection can release the monomeric peptide at a kinetically controlled release rate into the systemic circulation. Fully understanding these peptide chemistries and external environments will accelerate the development of cost-effective formulations with reduced dosing frequency.

In leading this research you’ll join a vibrant, dynamic cross functional team with multidisciplinary experts covering peptide chemistry and sequence design, formulation, in silico modelling, in vivo biopharmaceutics/PK and analytical chemistry. You will establish the aggregation and disaggregation kinetics of select peptides under specific conditions (conc, pH, ionic strength, temp,). You’ll then develop a thorough understanding of the disaggregation process through the modelling work of the Knowles Group at the University of Cambridge. The analysis and interpretation of the data generated will lead to insights into the structural-activity relationship that drives self-assembly and disassembly. You will combine this knowledge to advance the chemical optimisation of the peptide to progress the mechanistic understanding at the molecular level.

You’ll receive training on a variety of techniques and assays to perform rapid, high-throughput screening. This could include specialist analytical techniques such as chromatography coupled with multi-angle light scattering (AF4 or SEC-MALS), isothermal titration calorimetry, and microscopy (TEM/AFM). Finally, you’ll liaise with our in vivo biosciences team to assess select peptide formulations in vivo and derive correlations between the in vivo PK profiles and kinetics of depots coupled with mathematical modelling and simulations.

This important research should lead to high impact scientific publications and support the development of more differentiated medicines for patients.

Qualification, Skills & Experience


  • A PhD (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Biochemistry or a related field
  • Experience in chemical peptide synthesis and stability / interaction measurement techniques
  • Strong planning and organisation skills
  • Ability to see opportunities, learn, and apply that learning to drive innovation
  • Good networking, collaboration and teamworking skills


  • Experience in synthetic organic chemistry
  • Formulation development for preclinical testing
  • Understanding of in vivo pharmacokinetics for long acting injectables
  • Desire to use computational modelling and simulations to advance scientific innovation
  • Experience of working in cross functional /multidisciplinary teams and data analysis

This is a 3-year programme. 2 years will be a Fixed Term Contract, with a 1-year extension which will be merit based.

Ready for an exciting, rewarding challenge? Apply today!

Advert Opens: 26th October, 2021

Advert Closes: 5th December, 2021

If you require any reasonable adjustments or accommodations during your application or interview process, please let us know.

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