Scientist / Associate Scientist, Conjugation Development

Foster City, California
Jul 27, 2018
Science/R&D, Chemistry
Required Education
Masters Degree/MBA
Position Type
Full time

Company Profile:

SutroVax is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the delivery of best-in-class conjugate vaccines and novel complex antigen-based vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases. SutroVax’s lead product candidate is a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) that is designed to prevent invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. SutroVax’s broad-spectrum PCV is designed to provide expanded protection against circulating strains of pneumococcus and has the potential to replace the current vaccines used in infants and adults. The current mainstay vaccine only covers approximately 40% of the circulating strains causing IPD yet generates $6B in annual sales. SutroVax has generated positive pre-clinical proof-of-concept with its significantly broader-spectrum PCV compared head-to-head to current vaccines using well accepted immunological endpoints. In addition to its lead PCV product candidate, the Company also has a promising early-stage pipeline addressing other important disease areas.

SutroVax’s conjugate vaccines are developed utilizing the Company’s exclusive rights to Sutro Biopharma’s Xpress CF Platform, a cell-free protein synthesis technology. SutroVax closed its $85M Series C round in May of 2018 and is financed by a world-class syndicate of private equity, venture capital and corporate venture investors with over $170M in capital raised since 2015.


SutroVax is looking for an energetic and talented Scientist / Associate Scientist, Conjugation Development who will contribute to the development of a robust process for generating SutroVax’s proprietary pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Specifically, this will include synthesis, purification, and analytical characterization of antigen-protein conjugates. The successful candidate will be expected to optimize and troubleshoot the synthesis and purification procedures independently with minimal guidance. The candidate will also contribute when needed to a range of related areas such as analytical development and stability studies. Responsibilities will additionally include record management, authoring laboratory protocols and development reports, as well as interfacing with contract organizations as needed.

Essential Functions:

  • Optimize and troubleshoot multi-step syntheses of protein-polysaccharide conjugates.
  • Purify conjugates using a variety of methods including size-exclusion chromatography and tangential flow filtration (TFF).
  • Analyze intermediates and conjugates with methods including colorimetric assays, HPLC assays, and SEC-MALS.
  • Maintain highly organized records to enable optimization and assessment of reproducibility.
  • Track inventory of reagents critical to conjugation development, and make purchases to replenish when necessary.
  • Attend team meetings ready to provide updates on conjugation development progress.
  • Assist with Conjugation Development strategy, planning, and process transfer to contract organizations.


  • MS in Organic Chemistry or related field with 2+ years of relevant industrial experience (Associate Scientist) OR PhD in Organic Chemistry or related field with 2+ years industrial experience (Scientist). The ideal candidate will have an excellent understanding of organic and analytical chemistry principles and significant laboratory experience.
  • Experience in performing protein conjugation reactions.
  • Experience with polysaccharide modification is desirable.
  • Experience with Process Development using Design of Experiments approach is a plus.
  • Experience with laboratory-scale protein purification methods such as dialysis, diafiltration and size-exclusion chromatography (gravity flow and FPLC). Experience with tangential flow filtration (TFF) highly desirable.
  • Working knowledge of analytical methods including reversed-phase HPLC, colorimetric assays, size-exclusion chromatography (SEC)and SDS-PAGE for characterization of reaction products. Direct experience operating Agilent HPLC using OpenLab/Chemstation software for data acquisition and analysis is a plus.
  • Experience with HPAEC-PAD and mass-spectrometry is a plus.
  • Attention to detail and excellent organizational skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills; ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in written formats.
  • Self-starter; ability to work in a fast-paced, cross-functional environment and collaborate effectively with other team members.
  • Enthusiasm to learn the new skills and techniques necessary to tackle problems outside of current area of expertise.

Reports to: Group Leader, Conjugation Development

Location: Foster City, California

The compensation package will be competitive and includes comprehensive benefits and an equity component.