Team Leader – Synthetic and Mammalian Upstream – Darlington, County Durham

Team Leader – Synthetic and Mammalian Upstream

Centre for Process Innovation Limited

Darlington, County Durham


About CPI

CPI helps make great ideas and inventions a reality. We’re a team of intelligent people using advances in science and technology to solve the biggest global challenges in healthcare and sustainability.

Through our incredible people and innovation infrastructure, we collaborate with our partners in industry, academia, government, and the investment community to accelerate the development and commercialisation of innovative products.

From health technologies and pharmaceuticals to sustainable food and materials innovations, we turn the entrepreneurial spirit and radical thinking of our people and partners into incredible impact that makes our world a better place.

Why this role is important for CPI’s work

CPI has an opportunity for an experienced Scientist to join the Synthetic and Mammalian Upstream team in the role of Team Leader. This is a growing team based at CPI’s Biologics facilities based in Darlington and reflects the continued growth of the advanced therapy sector as exemplified with the approval of mRNA-based products, as well as increasing interest in novel production approaches such as transient production. The Synthetic and Mammalian team support CPI clients and partners in developing expression systems and processes for their products, including gene design, synthesis, cloning and process optimisation. Delivering projects based around the development, validation and scale up/​scale down of synthetic and mammalian expression systems and processes for the production of biologics including recombinant proteins, mRNA, viral vectored products and other modalities, amidst the current and future projects in the fast-moving, collaborative workspace at CPI. 

The CPI Biologics technical group works on a varied portfolio of projects, working with a wide range of products including monoclonal antibodies, viral vectors, recombinant proteins, microbial therapeutics and synthetically produced nucleic acids using conventional and advanced manufacturing approaches. The work of the group is diverse, examples including: 

The group is also active at events, with recent presentations at events including:

  • World Bioprocessing Summit: Pharma
  • Cell free synthesis specialist working group
  • Intelligent Bioprocessing
  • 13th Annual Bioprocessing Summit

The Role:

Reporting directly to the Manager of Synthetic and Mammalian Upstream, the role of Team Leader will involve a blend of technical delivery and management of a team of scientists where the individual will be responsible for team development, progression, and growth. Working in collaboration with colleagues within the team, this is a fantastic opportunity to influence and shape the team’s growth through managing the delivery of business-as-usual activities as well as identifying areas for continuous improvement and capability enhancement. With an ever-expanding portfolio of projects in delivery and in the pipeline, which span across a breadth of expression systems, product types and customers, it is a great opportunity for an individual to be a part of and steer the future development of the Synthetic and Mammalian Upstream team. 

Key responsibilities:

Technical leadership of project teams and execution of experimental work focused on the development, validation and scale up/​scale down of synthetic and mammalian expression systems and processes for the production of biologics including recombinant proteins, mRNA, viral vectored products and other modalities. 

Gaining and keeping up with knowledge, new developments and trends in synthetic and mammalian upstream processing to support the advancement of CPI’s offer to external stakeholders, customers, partners and research organisations.

Working closely with business development and bid proposal team to develop proposals for commercial and collaborative projects.

Line management of a team of scientists to provide professional development support for both individual and team growth (up to five direct reports).

Supervision and coaching of team members to ensure delivery of departmental goals and project delivery.

Resource management, scheduling and planning to meet project deliverables and ensure project timelines are maintained.

Training of colleagues in techniques and processes required to consolidate learning and establish a versatile and flexible workforce.

The person we are seeking

It’s essential is you are educated to a minimum of HNC or Foundation Degree level (or equivalent) in a Scientific/​Engineering discipline plus hold significant industrial experience at a senior level. Ideally, you will be educated to a Degree level (or equivalent) in a Scientific/​Engineering discipline with relevant experience at a senior level, or Masters/​PhD level (or equivalent) with relevant industrial experience.

It is essential that you also exhibit professional mastery of principles and practices of molecular, cellular and vector biology, gained in academic or industrial environments Or that you exhibit professional mastery of principles and practices of upstream processing, gained in academic or industrial environments.

You will also be able to demonstrate significant practical experience using and/​or developing different expression systems for protein and nucleic acid-based biological products including both cell and/​or cell-free, stable and or/​transient systems.

Experience with the development and utilisation of relevant analytical techniques including qPCR, SDS-PAGE, ELISAs and cell-based reporter assays is another essential requirement.

Additional essential experience includes:

Practical mammalian cell culture experience.

Significant cloning experience including vector design, restriction, ligation and transformation.

You will have demonstrable experience in complex technical problem solving, with the ability to apply theoretical and scientific/​engineering methods to contribute to business activities..

You will have previous experience taking responsibility for diverse or complex technical activities where it is necessary to use your initiative and judgement, implementing innovative solutions in complex situations.


Experience of supervising a small group or team within an operational environment. 

Use of high throughput bioreactor platforms.

Familiarity with the use of the design of experimental methodologies to inform experimental design. 

Understanding of GMP &the requirements for the production of biopharmaceuticals.

What does CPI offer you?

At CPI, we offer a wide range of benefits to our employees, this includes:

  • Up to 36days holiday, including bank holidays – Plus a holiday purchasing scheme
  • Generous pension scheme
  • Life assurance and accident insurance schemes
  • Flexible working
  • Learning and Development Opportunities
  • Free parking

Find out more about our culture and benefits.

Additional information

CPI is an organisation based in the UK. Commencement of employment is conditional to demonstrating right to work in the UK, sponsorship may be available.


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