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Job id: 086805. Salary: £43,205 – £45,521 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance.

Posted: 25 March 2024. Closing date: 22 April 2024.

Business unit: Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine. Department: Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine.

Contact details: Heather Kneale. Heather.kneale@kcl.ac.uk

Location: Guy's and Denmark Hill Campuses. Category: Professional & Support Services.

Job description

Role purpose

The KCL Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine (CGTRM) in collaboration with the KCL Gene Therapy Vector Facility (GTVF) develops and manufactures ATMPs for a wide variety of novel gene and cell therapies for the treatment of cancers to rare diseases. This is an exciting opportunity to work within one of the largest academic GMP facilities in Europe focusing on the delivery of gene therapy products for early phase clinical trials.

In 2021, MRC/LifeArc/BBSRC announced the establishment of this Gene Therapy Innovation Hub.  One of the main points of focus in the innovation component of the Hub will be the further development of new cell lines and vectors for the GMP compliant manufacture of viral vectors for the treatment of a host of acquired and inherited genetic disorders.  The appointee will report to the Head of Process Development/Senior Research Fellow.

Role profile

This role is for a qualified and experienced Scientist who has been working in an academic or commercial research laboratory/company related to the development, manufacturing and purifying viral vectors (lenti, retroviral) or other gene therapy products as IMPs.

You will help deliver technical innovation and lead specified work packages, developing the experimental plan with the Head of Process Development and allocating resources. You must have a strong background/knowledge of viral vectors and purification methods and have excellent interpersonal skills to work within and across diverse teams.

Additional experience in associated technologies, such as the use of bio-reactors and concentration technologies for the production of viral vectors are essential.

This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract until 30th Sept 2026 in the first instance.

This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent.

Key responsibilities

  • Plan, develop and execute experimental plans to determine procedures suitable for implementation in GMP manufacture. Adhere to PQS and set high quality standards for service and execution
  • Assist, supervise and train staff in hands-on cell culture, viral product harvest, purification, formulation and final product preparation
  • Contribute to setting goals for achieving project aims and actively identify areas for development and improvement
  • Support the coordination of the process development team and delivery of the work package tasks to realise the objectives of the grant
  • Support the technology transfer process providing subject expertise of the procedures being implemented in GMP analytical testing
  • Maintain up-to-date, accurate and comprehensive documentation records and laboratory reports, where applicable
  • Conduct work in a manner as required by the Pharmaceutical Quality System (PQS) to ensure innovative processes and new technology are implemented by incorporating quality risk management principles to ensure product quality, patient safety and GMP compliance
  • Communicate complex information in a clear and precise way, both verbally and in writing to key stakeholders in Production, Quality and Management teams and prepare reports for presentations, seminars, national or international meetings
  • Attend and contribute to team meetings for periodic review and progress
  • Support the preparation of manuscripts for publication in peer review journals or book chapters
  • Be an active member of King’s Technical Network, engaging in cross-King’s initiatives and building a strong network across the organisation to strengthen and facilitate best practice used by the service
  • Pro-actively interactive with, and contribute to, collaborative decision making with internal and external stakeholders including suppliers/contractors to ensure timely implementation and execution of all services to ensure quality standards, manufacturing schedule and regulatory compliance
  • Make independent decisions in a timely manner to solve problems that impact on the achievement of CCGT objectives and deadlines, informing management where necessary, and contribute actively to decisions affecting performance and meeting objectives
  • Support in the analysis and implementation of development, manufacturing and testing objectives and proposals for execution of project timeline in accordance with approved quality plan and PSF
  • Support staff in the conduct of individual and collaborative research projects as required by CCGT management, including analysing and interpreting research data and drawing conclusions on the outcomes
  • Engage in Continuing Professional Development and training initiatives, in line with the Technician Commitment and Research Concordat for a minimum of 10 days pro rata per year. Continually update knowledge and understanding in field of cell and gene therapy
  • Be responsible for the compliance with Health & Safety and other relevant regulations governing the work. Complete risk assessments, adjusting protocols and facilities, always ensuring GMP compliance, to reduce the level of risk including negative environmental impacts
  • Demonstrate leadership and innovation in the implementation of environmentally sustainable practices, recording progress through the King’s sustainability audit process and sharing good practice. Nurture and encourage sustainable practices and leadership within your team and networks
  • Participate in cross-School/Faculty/University projects as agreed with the line manager
  • Facilitate an inclusive culture and ethos working with academic, research and other professional services staff and colleagues external to King’s

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

A more comprehensive overview of the key responsibilities may be requested from Heather Kneale – heather.kneale@kcl.ac.uk.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria

  1. Level 6 qualification, e.g. relevant undergraduate degree or equivalent, in Biological and/or Engineering discipline related to life sciences
  2. Substantial work experience in relevant technical/scientific service post or extensive work experience in relevant technical/scientific post with management experience and/ or qualification 
  3. Expertise in molecular biology in cloning, PCR and viral vector expression
  4. Comprehensive background in purification methods development, hands-on experience in aseptic handling, cellular and bioprocessing techniques, analytical methods optimisation and development
  5. Knowledge and experience of GMP standards in developing analytical methods for manufacture of viral gene therapy products as IMPs/INDs for clinical trials for pre-clinical and clinical trials in an academic organisation or industry
  6. Comprehensive knowledge of wide range of analytical techniques and scientific practice and the theory underpinning these technologies
  7. Comprehensive knowledge of regulations and best practice (including Health & Safety and environmental sustainability) governing operations in a licensed GMP facility in addition to approved manufacturing procedures for use in GMP manufacturing and product release 
  8. Experience and knowledge of working within a Pharmaceutical Quality System (PQS) ensuring document control, training records, change control, investigations, CAPA, OOS, quality risk management, supplier qualification and approval, etc are in compliance with PQS 
  9. Excellent planning and organisational skills to manage own tasks and supporting the tasks of team members.  Excellent leadership skills to lead a team and set performance standards, monitoring the tasks and outputs to ensure successful delivery
  10. Comprehensive knowledge of the field of gene and cell therapy and expertise in translational research methodology with an organised and systematic approach to development and manufacturing
  11. Skilled in relevant cellular, molecular and bioprocess techniques for process and analytical development of protocols which can be transferred to manufacturing and release testing of gene therapy vectors
  12. Competent in managing and handling electronic or paper-based quality/batch documentation and records for IMPs/MS products
  13. Excellent spoken and written communication skills and ability to build strong networks with internal and external stakeholders
  14. Excellent record keeping and attention to detail and the ability to contribute to the team success such as training and professional development of colleagues, providing scientific input during meetings, keeping a healthy working atmosphere in the lab and GMP facility 

Desirable criteria

  1. Experience in process development, manufacturing and release of viral vector products.
  2. Experience in supervising/advising junior team members and working with multi-disciplinary team across production and quality assurance staff and successful interactions with internal and external stake holders, leading to successful implementation of processes and new technology in manufacturing and testing which can be implement in GMP
  3. Able and willing to provide support beyond core hours, as required

Further information

This post is subject to Occupational Health clearance.