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.
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain.
The global cell and gene therapy market was valued at $6.68 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $13.23 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 24.10% (Ref. BusinessWire).Also in 2019, a joint report from The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) and the BioIndustry Association (BIA) stated that the UK is a leading source of innovation and development of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) in Europe. These products, which include gene therapies, cell therapies, and tissue-engineered products, are intended to augment, repair, replace, or regenerate organs, tissues, cells, genes, and metabolic processes within the body. Scotland has a strong reputation in research & translational development in these fields and is rapidly growing a vibrant cluster of spin-out therapeutic companies, increasing clinical trials of new Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) as well as expanding its manufacturing capability.
Scotland also has established expertise in developing and manufacturinghuman vaccines(the global market projected to grow to $96b by 2023 according to Business Research Company) and animal vaccines (worth $9b by 2025 – Global Market Insights, Inc).
Scotland’s profile and contribution towards the growth of the UK ATMP sector is increasing rapidly. A strengthening supply chain is supporting new advanced therapy applications – fuelled by world-leading academic expertise in cell & gene therapy and regenerative medicine,. With a forward focus on translation, specialised clinical trials, and GMP manufacture and analysis, Scotland is growing a vibrant infrastructure to support end-to-end development of advanced therapies.
Human and animal vaccine development is a strength in Scotland represented by companies such as Valneva, Neogen, and GalvMed as well as the Moredun Research Institute. In addition to Valneva’s Covid-19 Vaccine programme, Scotland’s supply chain made huge contributions to the development of Covid-19 vaccines including Merck BioReliance, Charles River, Symbiosis, SGS, Ingenza & ReproCell Europe.
One of the largest life sciences clusters in Europe, Scotland is home to a range of multinationals and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a strong track record of creating and growing startups.
Scotland has comprehensive supply chains and world class manufacturing expertise supplying chemical and healthcare equipment, pharmaceutical services, medicines, vaccines and diagnostics to the world.
The cluster continues its rapid expansion building on a strong industry base, leading universities with a thriving entrepreneurial culture and close collaborations across industry, academia, the National Health Service and government.
Scotland is a great place to further your career in life sciences. If you are a looking for pharmaceutical jobs in Scotland, scientific careers in Scotland or want to discuss cell therapy, gene therapy, ATMP, medical device, technology, biotech or pharmaceutical job opportunities in Scotland, give our Next Phase team a call. The Scottish 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 Scotland, 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 Scottish area.