Process Development Scientist, T Cell Therapy

Manufacturing Thousand Oaks, California

We launched Atara Biotherapeutics in August 2012 to help patients with serious diseases and few therapeutic options. We’re named after Atara Ciechanover who suffered from cancer before passing away. We are considered a leading off-the-shelf T-cell immunotherapy company (Nasdaq ATRA) developing novel treatments for patients with cancer, autoimmune and viral diseases.

Position Summary
The Process Development Scientist is responsible for developing upstream and downstream manufacturing processes for Atara’s T cell therapy products with a focus on Atara’s allogeneic (“off-the-shelf”) T cell therapy manufacturing platforms.  Areas of focus include development of unit operations associated with leukapheresis, cell enrichment, APC production, cell culture, recovery/harvest, cryo-formulation, fill-finish, and all aspects of cryopreservation including freezing, storage and thawing processes.  The scientist must have successfully demonstrated technical proficiency, scientific creativity, initiative, independent thinking and collaboration with others.

Reports To:    Senior Scientist, Process Development (Interim reporting to
                        Associate Director, Process Development)

Location:        Thousand Oaks (northwest Los Angeles area), CA 

Primary Responsibilities
  • Characterizes, optimizes and scales-up processes used to manufacture Atara’s T-cell therapy products.
  • Designs and executes experiments; analyze data and interpret results; apply conclusions to thoughtful proposals for follow-on work.
  • Draws from literature and scientific knowledge to design effective experiments.
  • In collaboration with other Development and Manufacturing functions at Atara and at Atara’s partners, assures effective transfer and start-up of new processes to be implemented into GMP manufacturing operations; deliver required supporting data for change control.
  • Evaluates, implements and develops process technologyPerforms experiments to develop serum free media formulations.
  • Supports process validation activities.
  • Identifies, establishes and performs assays as needed to monitor process performance and characterize process intermediates and products.
  • Authors process documentation including study protocols, reports, SOPs, batch records, material and product specifications, forms and deviation support documents.
  • Presents results in cross-functional forums.
  • Hires, trains, supervises and mentors junior staff members.
  • Contributes to the start-up of Atara’s Thousand Oaks process development lab.

           Travel required (up to 10%)

Physical Requirements:
Subject to extended periods of sitting and/or standing, vision to monitor and moderate noise levels. Work is generally performed in an office or clinical environment.

Position Requirements

  • PhD in a biological or engineering science, preferably Chemical Engineering, with 3-8 years of relevant experience; or a MS with 5-10 years of industrial experience, or BS with 10+ years of industrial experience.
  • Fundamental knowledge of cell culture and cell processing principles; cell cryopreservation knowledge preferred.
  • Experience developing processes received into GMP manufacturing operations; cell therapy product experience preferred.
  • Working knowledge of analytical instrumentation/methods employed for cell characterization.
  • Demonstrated skills in designing, executing and interpreting experiments; Design of Experiments (DoE) and statistical data modeling experience preferred.
  • Role model for Atara’s Values of patients first, innovation teamwork, community and mindset.

More About Atara Bio
Now in our sixth year, we’re proud of our team of 260+ Atarians co-located by design in South San Francisco (corporate headquarters) and Southern California (R&D and manufacturing headquarters in the northwest Los Angeles area) with a newly-established European headquarters in Zug, Switzerland. Atara also has a R&D site in the Denver, Colorado area and an office in New York City. Our Southern California hub is anchored by a new 90,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art Atara T-Cell Operations and Manufacturing (ATOM) facility in Thousand Oaks, California.

One mission – “Transform the lives of patients with serious medical conditions through pioneering science, teamwork and expertise” – and a singular vision – “Cell therapy treatment for every patient, any time – provide inspiration and direction for all of us.”

The Company's off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cells are bioengineered from donors with healthy immune function and allow for rapid delivery from inventory to patients without a requirement for pretreatment. Atara's T-cell immunotherapies are designed to precisely recognize and eliminate cancerous or diseased cells without affecting normal, healthy cells.

Atara's most advanced T-cell immunotherapy in development, tabelecleucel, or tab-cel™ (formerly known as ATA129), is being developed for the treatment of patients with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (EBV+ PTLD) who have failed rituximab, as well as other EBV-associated hematologic and solid tumors, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Tab-cel™ is in Phase 3 clinical development for the treatment of EBV+ PTLD following an allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (MATCH study) or solid organ transplant (ALLELE study).

Atara is also developing off-the-shelf, allogeneic ATA188 and autologous ATA190 T-cell immunotherapies using a complementary targeted antigen recognition technology for specific EBV antigens believed to be important for the potential treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). A Phase 1 clinical study of autologous ATA190 in patients with progressive MS is ongoing. Atara is also advancing a Phase 1 clinical study of ATA188 in patients with progressive or relapsing-remitting MS across clinical sites in the United States and Australia. Atara's clinical pipeline also includes ATA520 targeting Wilms Tumor 1 (WT1) and ATA230 directed against cytomegalovirus (CMV).


Working at Atara Bio
People at Atara Bio are high integrity, roll-up-your-sleeves, get-it-done types who are keenly committed to putting patients first, advancing medical care and doing so with demonstrated urgency. At their core Atarians are people who work well with others and are “team-centric”, have purposeful curiosity and can’t wait to save patient lives. And similar to other biotech companies who have so many accomplished people, we expect humility (we are a “low hubris” sort of place), flexibility, respect, teamwork, good judgment and getting the most out of any dollar we spend. We also expect to enjoy the journey (and each other) as we move forward with a shared responsibility to teach and to learn from what we do and from our teammates.

Atara Bio is an equal opportunity employer and makes employment decisions on the basis of merit and other lawful factors. In accordance with applicable law, the Company prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth or medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth), gender identity, expression or dysphoria, marital status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, veteran status, caregiver status, sexual orientation, transgender status or any other classification protected by federal, state or local laws or because of the individual’s association with a member of a protected group or connection to an organization or group related to a protected group.

We comply with all applicable national, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment as well as employment eligibility verification requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act. All applicants must have authorization to work for Atara Bio in the United States.