Biotech company in Irvine, CA is seeking a Director of Fermentation with experience operating fermentation-based technologies ranging from lab scale to commercial scale. This role will have responsibility for the performance and output of fermentation-based processes, including the first biocatalytic step in the process. This role works hand-in-hand with the company’s engineering, operations, and materials teams to develop and optimize robust, high-yield and scalable production processes. The ideal candidate will have considerable experience and expertise in aerobic fermentation of microorganisms at commercial scale (e.g., 75,000-liter vessels and above).

typical roles and responsibilities for Director of Fermentation

  • Set objectives and key results (OKRs) for the fermentation team.
  • Manage and coach a team consisting of a mix of scientists, engineers, research associates, and technician-level personnel; managing the workload/resources to support multiple projects.
  • Generate and manage a comprehensive budget and timelines for projects and department activities.
  • Routinely generate and deliver concise technical presentations to senior management.
  • Brief supervisor on a real-time basis to keep all stakeholders informed and allow for a high degree of flexibility.
  • Design and perform experiments to develop robust, high-yield and scalable production processes for various microbial fermentation technologies.
  • Oversee and guide team members to perform experimental design/analysis and problem-solving.
  • Facilitate technology transfer from lab/pilot plant to commercial scale to ensure a smooth transfer/scale-up of processes to the manufacturing facility.
  • Influence the successful adoption of new technologies by working closely with senior leadership to identify new opportunities.
  • Ensure the generation and maintenance of controlled SOPs and batch records for all fermentation operations and process analysis.
  • Collaborate with process engineers and manufacturing operations teams to develop and convey fermentation batch objectives and optimization plans.
  • Document problems, solutions, and innovations.
  • Recognize and protect unique technology and facilitate the broad adoption of intellectual property protection within the fermentation function. Serve as a mentor within the fermentation function for filing invention disclosures to protect new technologies or inventions.
  • Hire, train, supervise, and coach team members.
  • Manage fermentation operations and support staff during new project commissioning.
  • Develop department training documents as needed.
  • Prepare forecasts regarding the future facility, equipment, and workforce needs, and organize and execute plans to ensure staffing is sufficient to meet current and future requirements.
  • Champion safety and ensure achievement of department safety objectives.
  • Use problem-solving skills to determine the proper root cause of issues and implement counter measures.
  • Ensure accurate and timely department records, including but not limited to: fermentation process SOPs and department-wide training programs.

Requirements for Director of Fermentation – Scientific

  • Master of Science Degree or Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering or a related field.
  • Experience in the production of intracellular products from aerobic fermentation, including with gas mass transfer know-how (e.g., dissolving gases into liquids to make them accessible to microorganisms for conversion).
  • 10+ years’ experience working in fermentation development.
  • Previous success in process development and scaling fermentation technology.
  • Experience managing a team within a 24/7/365 environment.
  • Experience managing budgets.
  • Expert knowledge of fermentation engineering principles.
  • Demonstrated understanding of fermentation, microbial growth characterization, and fermentation optimization.
    Strong quantitative, analytical, and qualitative research skills.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • A sense of urgency, determination, and confidence that support company mission.
  • High degree of ethical standard, trustworthiness, accuracy, and attention to detail.
  • Must be able to embrace change and seek diverse perspectives and partnerships.
  • Excellent organizational skills.