Principal Scientist/Associate Director – CAR-T Platform Development Lead

Pre-Clinical and Translational Science 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 CAR-T Platform Development Lead s an integral member of the Preclinical Sciences Laboratory Group and brings extensive engineered T cell product development expertise. This principal role oversees the allogeneic, off-the-shelf CAR-T development laboratory team tasked with developing new product candidates for our expanding pipeline. The candidate must have an established record of leadership in an academic or industry setting with extensive laboratory-based CAR-T cell expertise.


Reports to                Vice President - Preclinical & Translational Science

Location                   Thousand Oaks (northwest Los Angeles area), CA

Position Responsibilities

  • Applies expert knowledge in the field of CAR-T Therapy to lead laboratory team designing and generating new CAR-T product candidates using Atara Bio’s novel allogeneic engineered T cell therapeutics platform.
  • Coordinates multiple programs to validate targets, optimize CAR construct design and CAR-T cell generation, and explore therapeutic potential of resulting CAR-T lead candidates.
  • Mentors a group of diverse scientists and research associates to facilitate new CAR-T programs and oversee IND-enabling in vitro. Independently designs and executes studies to facilitate preclinical proof-of-concept activity for efficacy and safety.
  • Coordinates reports, summaries, and presentations supporting experimental results.
  • Oversees continued growth and recruitment activities to expand CAR-T laboratory research group.
  • Develops and leads strong collaborative relationships with internal and external groups.
  • Manages activity of direct reports and preclinical development project teams.
  • Role model for Atara’s Values of patients first, innovation teamwork, community and mindset.

Travel may be 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, laboratory, or manufacturing environment. Car and airplane (see above) travel is an essential part of the job

Position Requirements

  • Ph.D. with at least 10 years of experience in a Cellular/Molecular Immunology and immuno-oncology field, with industry experience required.
  • Expertise and broad functional, laboratory-based CAR-T and/or T cell engineering expertise.
  • Must possess extensive working knowledge of CAR-T design, T-cell biology, immunotherapies, retroviral, and gene-editing technologies, including CRISPR/CAS9 system.
  • Expertise with current landscape of engineered T cell platforms and approaches to modulate the tumor/immune microenvironment.
  • Record of productivity and innovation in the engineered T cell space as evidenced by publications and/or patents.
  • Proficient with flow cytometry-based applications.
  • Ability to Independently propose, design, execute, and report research projects.
  • Experience leading a small group of scientists capable of handling tight timelines and delivery of quality data.
  • Evidence of independent thinking and leadership skills are vital.

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.