Viral Vector scientists are in demand due to the emergence of Viral Therapeutics as a sector and Gene Therapies continue their rapid development. The role of a viral vector scientist is to develop Adeno Virus, AAV, Lentiviral and Retroviral vectors for the use in the delivery of Gene Therapies. The use of which vector depends of the therapy under development, for example AAV vectors have the greatest potential to move away from soft tissue to develop therapies for the CNS whereas Lentiviral vectors are commonly used in ophthalmic treatments. Scientists with experience in the development of these vectors are in demand as there is a sharp increase in the number of therapies crossing the translational gap to reach the clinic.
The engineering of viral vectors focuses on using different genetic engineering techniques such as CRISPR or PCR. In addition, a Viral Vector scientist will have experience of cell culture, often mammalian, to develop viral packaging cell lines for the production of AAV, Adenoviral, Lentiviral and Retroviral vectors. Following on from the engineering of viral vectors is their production which ranges from small scale batches for research use, which is often experimental itself, to well established production methods for vectors for larger commercial or for use in clinical trials. Due to the cutting-edge nature of these roles within the Biotech sector, scientists have the chance to use their innovative and creative thinking to develop novel concepts.
Job titles in this sector are generally linked to the vector that the scientist is working on, for example Lentiviral Scientist, or AAV Production Scientist. However, there are more common titles that are generic such as Scientist or Process Development Scientist. Scientists will work on different stages of Viral Vector development from their initial engineering through to process development and manufacture. Different skills needed for each stage with some higher qualified scientists developing the new methods and those beginning their careers following established methods as they gain more experience to develop their career further.
Skill and Experience.
- BSc, MSc, or PhD in a relevant subject such as Virology or Molecular Biology or Cell Biology with a VV focus.
- Skills include mammalian cell culture (stable and adherent lines), vector engineering, genetic engineering e.g. CRISPR, PCR, FACS, flow cytometry, FACS, transfection, transduction, and assay development.
- Innovative and Creative thinking are often needed in this cutting edge area.
Entering Viral Therapeutics as a graduate, you could expect to earn something in the region of £19k - £25k depending on the location and company type. Salaries within the commercial Pharmaceutical sector tend to increase steadily but unspectacularly with each next phase, to around “mid to late 30s” (higher for managers). Salaries tend to be higher in the specialist Biotech sector, which often attracts people with a higher qualification level (e.g. PhD). In this sector, especially in London, Oxford or Cambridge, salaries can get a lot higher a lot quicker (e.g. £40k - £50k), though there may not be the same level of job security as companies may be more reliant on external funding grants.
In addition to being the capital city of the United Kingdom, London (aka Greater London) is one of the nine official regions of England and consists of 32 boroughs plus the City of London. London is a global city with a population of 9 million and is the most densely populated region in Europe.
London is one of the centres in Europe for cell therapy, gene therapy and advanced therapies (ATMPs). Next to Stevenage, Cambridge and Oxford, London is a major site for biotechnology innovation, pharmaceutical development and rare diseases. London is the world's leading financial centre for international business and as such the financial services industry in London, including banking, insurance, broking and fund management make the largest contribution to London's economy. Other major industries in the London region include real estate, legal, accountancy, creative industries such as fashion, design and art, media and TV, legal, construction, London tourism, pharmaceuticals, biotech and retail. In recent years many technology companies, especially those in FinTech, have set up in the area of East London known as the “Silicon Roundabout”, putting London on the map as a key area of growth.#
The vibrancy of the London life sciences cluster is reflected in the activities of various networking groups which provide regular opportunities to make new contacts via events, conferences and other meetings:
One Nucleus: Established in 1997, a not-for-profit Life Sciences & Healthcare membership organisation centred on the Greater London-Cambridge-East of England corridor. Through providing local, UK-wide and international connectivity, One Nucleus seeks to enable its members to maximise their performance.
The Royal Veterinary College (RVC): The RVC is pre-eminent among veterinary schools, and offers the highest quality in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research - meeting the growing demand for veterinary professionals and biomedical scientists. It also provides support for the veterinary profession through its three referral hospitals, diagnostic services and CPD courses.
MedCity: MedCity represents the life sciences cluster of London and the Greater South East of England. Their expert knowledge, industry experience and sector-wide perspective means they can maximise opportunities for growth and collaboration within the region and beyond.
The BioIndustry Association: The BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises in the UK's bioscience sector. Its mission is to encourage and promote a thriving, financially sound sector of the UK economy, built upon developments across the biosciences.
London has a wealth of iconic and world famous London attractions such as Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, beautiful parks, numerous world class museums, a vibrant London theatre land and global cuisine, the combination of which attracted over 19 million visitors to London in 2016. London tourism numbers have received a substantial boost thanks to the hugely successful Olympic Games held in London in 2012.
London is a great place to further your career in life sciences. If you are a looking for pharmaceutical jobs in London, scientific careers in London or want to discuss cell therapy, gene therapy, ATMP, medical device, technology, biotech or pharmaceutical job opportunities inLondon, give our Next Phase team a call. The London area is continuing to expand as a centre for jobs in science, process development, technology, software development, project management, informatics, quality, reg affairs and supply chain.
At Next Phase we help people find new jobs in life sciences across the UK, Europe and USA. This page lists some of the job opportunities in London, and if you give us a call we can also talk to you about other scientific jobs, pharmaceutical career opportunities and the latest updates in cell and gene therapy and ATMP development in the London area.