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Director, Upstream Polysaccharide Process Development

Vaxcyte, Inc.
San Carlos, California
Start date
Feb 17, 2024

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Engineering, Manufacturing & Production, Process
Required Education
Bachelors Degree
Position Type
Full time
Biotech Bay

Job Details

Company Profile:
Vaxcyte, Inc. (Nasdaq: PCVX) is a vaccine innovation company engineering high-fidelity vaccines to protect humankind from the consequences of bacterial diseases. The Company is developing broad-spectrum conjugate and novel protein vaccines to prevent or treat bacterial infectious diseases. Vaxcyte’s lead candidate, VAX-24, is a 24-valent, broad-spectrum, carrier-sparing pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) being developed for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). The Company is re-engineering the way highly complex immunizations are made through modern synthetic techniques, including advanced chemistry and our exclusively licensed XpressCFTM cell-free protein synthesis platform. Unlike conventional cell-based approaches, the Company’s system for producing difficult-to-make proteins and antigens is intended to accelerate its ability to efficiently create and deliver high-fidelity vaccines with enhanced immunological benefits. Vaxcyte’s pipeline also includes VAX-31, a 31-valent PCV candidate; VAX-A1, a prophylactic vaccine candidate designed to prevent Group A Strep infections; VAX-PG, a therapeutic vaccine candidate designed to slow or stop the progression of periodontal disease; and VAX-GI, a vaccine program designed to prevent Shigella. The Company is driven to eradicate or treat invasive bacterial infections, which have serious and costly health consequences when left unchecked. For more information, visit
Vaxcyte, headquartered in San Carlos, CA, went public in June 2020 and currently has a team of approximately 180 employees and anticipates continued, significant growth. Following equity offerings in October 2022 and April 2023, which generated over $1.1 billion in net proceeds, the Company’s balance sheet is further strengthened to advance its pipeline of novel vaccines, including VAX-24. These financings followed positive data readouts from Vaxcyte’s Phase 1/2 proof-of-concept study evaluating VAX-24 in adults aged 18-64 and Phase 2 study in adults 65 and older. The Company believes these results support a best-in-class potential for VAX-24, which was designed to replace the current standard-of-care in adults and children. VAX-24 is being investigated for the prevention of IPD, which can be most serious for infants, young children, older adults and those with immune deficiencies or certain chronic health conditions. Given the global impact of pneumococcal disease remains significant, the public health community continues to advocate for vaccines that can offer broader protection to prevent IPD. Vaxcyte’s PCV franchise, consisting of VAX-24 and VAX-31, is designed specifically to address this need and has the potential to deliver the broadest protection for this very serious disease. We believe that our PCVs could receive regulatory approval based on successful completion of clinical studies utilizing well-defined surrogate immune endpoints, consistent with how other PCVs have obtained regulatory approval in the past, rather than requiring clinical field efficacy studies.
The Development organization is comprised of four Process teams: Protein, Polysaccharide, Conjugate Drug Substance (Conjugation), and Drug Product. These Process Development teams are supported by Analytical Development and Formulation Development teams. Vaxcyte is looking for a Director/Associate Director with significant experience in early-stage fermentation development and late-stage Process Characterization (PC) to join the Polysaccharide process team. The candidate will take a leading role in designing upstream PC studies that will enable a timely and successful PPQ campaign. In addition, this person will organize, oversee and drive the upstream early phase pipeline programs. This is a critical role for the polysaccharide team which will require someone who is creative, flexible and can adapt in a fast-paced environment. 
Essential Functions:
    • Develop and execute upon a high-level plan for validating the upstream commercial manufacturing process for the polysaccharide components of Vax-24.
    •    Work with Process Development SMEs within the group and at CMO to complete risk assessments for critical process parameter identification.
    •    Design process characterization studies to assess the criticality of parameters and manage a team to execute these studies.
    •    Lead the authoring of PC reports and review PPQ protocols along with CMO counterparts.
    •    Collaborate with CMOs to develop a validation plan for at-scale validation of the polysaccharide manufacturing process and drive the execution of that plan.
    •    Work with internal stakeholders (e.g., Regulatory) to ensure that the Polysaccharide Upstream validation strategy fits within the program-wide strategy.
    •    Collaborate with project management to maintain a detailed timeline for the activities that must be completed prior to a commercial PPQ campaign – communicate to team when activities are at risk of causing delays to timeline.
    • Lead the development of the upstream processes for pipeline vaccine-based polysaccharides (transferred from the Research team).
    •    Mature early-stage polysaccharide fermentation processes to be commercially ready.
    •    Manage a group of scientists and engineers that develop upstream processes from early stage to late stage within a world class upstream laboratory.
    •    Collaborate effectively with the downstream groups within polysaccharide development and manufacturing team.
    •    Be an outstanding teammate and collaborate across groups both internal and external to Vaxcyte.
    •    Represent upstream development at CMC meetings and with external partners.
    •    Cultivate a cohesive, innovative, nimble and productive team environment.

    • PhD in Chemical/Biochemical Engineering or similar, with 7+ years of industry experience; MS with 10+ years of industry experience; or BS with 15+ years of industry experience.
    • In depth experience with upstream process characterization work. i.e. risk assessments, identification of pCPPs, PC reports etc.
    • Strong understanding of design and interpretation of multi-variate development experiments (e.g. Design of Experiments) with practical experience using software required for these experiments.
    • Excellent judgment when assessing risk – strong understanding of when to expend resources to reduce risk and when the level of risk is acceptable to move forward.
    • Excellent background in fermentation development demonstrated through years of industrial experience.
    •    Experience working with BSL2 organisms, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Escherichia coli a plus.
    • Strong ability to motivate, mentor, and connect with junior team members.
    • Strong sense of organization, preferably with experience managing timelines using a tool such as Microsoft Project.
    • Ability to work across several teams to pull required information from SMEs and integrate it into centralized plan.
    • Curiosity and drive to quickly come up to speed; creativity to solve challenging problems.
    • Strong interpersonal skills, with excellent written and verbal communication skills.
    • All Vaxcyte employees require vaccination against COVID-19.

Reports to: Senior Director, Polysaccharide Process Development & Manufacturing
Location: San Carlos, CA
The compensation package will be competitive and includes comprehensive benefits and an equity component.
Salary Range: $211,000 – $225,000


Vaxcyte, Inc. (Nasdaq: PCVX) is a next-generation vaccine company seeking to improve global health by developing superior and novel vaccines designed to prevent some of the most common and deadly infectious diseases worldwide. Our exclusively licensed cell-free protein synthesis platform and our proprietary know how enable us to design and produce optimized protein carriers and antigens, the critical building blocks of vaccines, in ways that we believe conventional vaccine technologies cannot. Our lead vaccine candidate, VAX-24, is a preclinical, 24-valent broad-spectrum pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) being developed for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease. Our pipeline also includes VAX-XP, a PCV with an expanded breadth of coverage of at least 30 strains; VAX-A1, a prophylactic vaccine candidate designed to prevent Group A Strep infections; and VAX-PG, a therapeutic vaccine candidate designed to slow or stop the progression of periodontal disease by targeting the keystone pathogen responsible for this chronic, oral inflammatory disease.

Company info
(650) 837-0111
825 Industrial Road, Suite 300
San Carlos

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