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.