Senior Scientist (strategic technology) Oncology R&D

Do you have expertise in, and passion for Cancer Genomics technology and innovation? Would you like to apply your expertise to impact identifying, evaluating and cultivating 3rd party innovation partners developing Early Detection and Minimal Residual Disease assays that can be deployed to our Early Oncology clinical trials in a company that follows the science and turns ideas into life changing medicines? Then AstraZeneca might be the one for you!

This is not a lab-based role; rather a 12 month fixed term contact where you will work with 3rd party laboratories who will generate data on their novel technologies using our samples.

We are seeking a candidate to work with us for a period of 12 months with a real excitement for cancer genomics technology and innovation, who is excited to be at the forefront of providing new technology solutions, who is a combination of “thinker” and “do’er”, and has a strong aptitude for understanding strategic goals then building and executing the tactics to accomplish them. This position can be based in Cambridge UK or Waltham US


AstraZeneca is a global, science-led, patient-focused biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for some of the world’s most serious diseases. But we’re more than one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.


From diagnosis to later stage development, we’re laser-focused on leading the way forward to create solutions that transform lives. We are focused on identifying and treating patients earlier, where there is greater curative potential. With the greatest number of early stage cancer trials in the industry, we are getting closer to finding cures every day.

It is the breadth and strength of our innovative pipeline that offers both security and stability. And with the goal to deliver 6 new molecular entities by 2025, it’s up to each of us to keep pushing our industry-leading Oncology pipeline forward and build the future

What you’ll do

We are seeking a talented Scientist to join our Translational Medicine team The successful candidate would be joining a world class center for discovery and development of innovative cancer medicines. Based at the heart of the Cambridge UK, or Waltham USA biomedical research communities, you will play a key role in identifying, evaluating and cultivating 3rd party innovation partners developing Early Detection and Minimal Residual Disease assays that can be deployed to our Early Oncology clinical trials.

The Translational Medicine Team is focused on delivering the tools and data required for patient selection and exploratory research in our early oncology pipeline. This role is for a key position in the PROTEUS project: a strategic review of Early Detection and Minimal Residual Disease technologies, that highlighted a need to further build our network of evaluations and collaborations that bring new technologies closer to clinical deployment.

Initially, this role will involve working with world-leading external partners to deliver exploratory data on novel assays using contrived and clinical samples. The candidate will help build our understanding of the global cancer Early Detection and Minimal Residual Disease technology landscape and deliver our engagement & evaluation strategy with prioritised technology partners.

You will deliver an internal knowledgebase of new and emerging technologies, as well as manage contracting with 3rd party laboratories on evaluation of these methods. This role will involve working with external partners to deliver exploratory data on novel assays using contrived and clinical samples. As a key member of our team, you will ensure that 3rd parties deliver to the needs of the organization; and develop strong, beneficial partnerships with these key suppliers. You will define and monitor quality and performance of relevant scope of work (SOW) deliverables in alignment with the project requirements. This will require you to be a primary point of contact with many of the companies new to AstraZeneca so you can ensure seamless execution, quality and timely delivery of relevant SOW deliverables. You will help to communicate our strategic view internally and externally. You will be able to work independently but also as a part of our growing global team of ‘omics and informatics experts.

  • Expand and maintain the internal knowledgebase of Early Detection and Minimal Residual Disease technologies

  • Develop, and execute evaluations of new Early Detection and Minimal Residual Disease platforms, vendors, and emerging technologies; lead evaluation, selection, due diligence and partnering with 3rd party laboratories for delivery of novel assays.

  • Provide internal scientific consultancy, technical advice and/or troubleshooting for Early Detection and Minimal Residual Disease platform technologies as required with input from TMLs and technical experts

  • Work with Translational Medicine Leads to understand the Early Detection and Minimal Residual Disease biomarker needs of their studies, develop plans to exploit the most appropriate technologies/assays

  • Manage day to day interactions with prioritised 3rd party partners, including liaison with senior managers and project teams both internally and externally to build collaboration and trust

  • Draw up Statements of Work and work-plans to support new exploratory biomarker analyses on clinical trial samples

  • Work with commercial partners to plan, procure, deliver and analyse epigenomic data via external labs

  • Maintain oversight of all programs with a partner, and be the “Go to person for the partnership” especially for issue resolution, contracting and governance. This will involve collaborating cross-functionally with Procurement, Business Development, Precision Medicine, etc to establish new relationships/maintain current working relationships, contribute to contracting process to meet project timelines

  • Build and maintain relationships with academic and commercial epigenomics KOL’s

  • Primarily responsible for coordinating processes, resources, and managing the program, constituent projects and relationships leveraging standard project management processes and tools including but not limited to MS Project, Smartsheet and Jira to provide guidance on timelines, resourcing, budget and reporting to senior leadership

  • Work with team members and aligned production informatics and bioinformatics experts to support data analysis/QC, interpretation and communication back to project team and other stakeholders

  • Record and communicate your data accurately, clearly and concisely

  • Maintain appropriate documentation, be compliant with all internal and external policies and legal requirements around use of clinical samples, consent, and privacy

Essential for the role

  • Advanced degree in a relevant discipline (MSc or PhD)

  • Hands-on experience utilising advanced molecular biology techniques (academic or industrial setting); recent/current experience greatly preferred, particularly in genomics/NGS

  • Cancer biology or genomics background

  • Evidence of effective problem-solving / troubleshooting

  • Ability to understand and work to detailed SOPs

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, able to document work clearly, concisely, and understand and describe its importance to others

  • Good organisational and planning skills, ability to manage a portfolio of work, prioritize, and deliver to agreed time and quality with meticulous attention to detail

  • Strong interpersonal skills – able to work effectively with colleagues/collaborators from diverse backgrounds, levels of seniority, and territories

Desirable for the role

Although training will be given where required, experience in the following areas would be a distinct advantage:

Duties/skills and experience outlined here are not intended to be exhaustive and we welcome applications from anyone with demonstrable talent in cancer genomics

  • Peer-reviewed publications in the liquid biopsy/cancer biology/cancer genomics field

  • Working with DNA/RNA from human clinical materials such as circulating cell-free DNA (cf/ctDNA) or formalin fixed paraffin-embedded tissues

  • Hands-on laboratory experience in genome technologies

  • Conducting work to Good Clinical Practice (GCP) within a regulatory /quality framework (e.g. ISO 15189-, CAP-, CLIA-accredited lab environment).

  • Analysis and interpretation of NGS data

  • Experience in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry and of the drug development process

  • Experience of working with and managing relationships with CROs / 3rd party labs

Close date: 20/10/2022

Competitive salary & benefits

Why AstraZeneca?

At AstraZeneca we’re dedicated to being a Great Place to Work. Where you are empowered to push the boundaries of science and unleash your entrepreneurial spirit. There’s no better place to make a difference to medicine, patients and society. An inclusive culture that champions diversity and collaboration, and always committed to lifelong learning, growth and development. We’re on an exciting journey to pioneer the future of healthcare.

So, what’s next?

  • Are you already imagining yourself joining our team? Good, because we can’t wait to hear from you.

  • Are you ready to bring new ideas and fresh thinking to the table? Brilliant! We have one seat available and we hope it’s yours.

  • If you’re curious to know more then please reach out to Louise Bennett

Where can I find out more?

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“As part of the application process for some roles at AstraZeneca, candidates may be asked to complete a series of online games, created by pymetrics, to assess certain candidate qualities to help evaluate potential match for the position. If the pymetrics process applies to this role, you will receive an email invitation with additional information following application. Once completed AZ will automatically receive your results – pymetrics will not be used solely in our decision-making process but will help us gather additional insight.”

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