Principal Scientist, Upstream Bio Process Development

Merck Cherokee

Rahway, NJ

Job Description

Position Description:

Principal Scientist, Upstream Bio Process Development

BPR&D within our Company's Research Laboratories is on a mission to rapidly deliver diverse biotherapeutics to patients by efficiently developing innovative, robust manufacturing processes and technologies.

To achieve this, we work closely with colleagues in Discovery, Pre-clinical, Early Development, Analytical, Formulation, and Commercial Manufacturing while providing a diverse and inclusive environment for all. Beyond process development for pipeline biologics, we innovate and build next generation biomanufacturing technologies. Examples include investments for development of continuous manufacturing, green and sustainable processes, and proprietary technology platforms. We actively publish and engage with the scientific community to influence the field.

As a Principal Scientist you will have the opportunity to influence the future direction of our company's Upstream Processing of Biologics. You will work with an immensely creative and collaborative team of scientists and engineers to design upstream, cell-culture processes while developing technical strategies related to upstream processing and recombinant expression of drug candidates in early- and late-stage development.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • As an impactful contributor, shape and realize innovation across the Biologics’ pipeline, strategy, and science

  • Advance the pipeline by collaborating with cross-functional teams, from Research & Manufacturing, in a fast-paced, multidisciplinary environment

  • Participate in or lead 1) development of robust and scalable upstream processes for biologics in different stages of clinical development, 2) process characterization and regulatory filings for successful commercialization

  • Advance upstream processes by improving efficiency and cost effectiveness through research and innovation, while assessing technologies and industry best practices

  • Collaborate with academia, industry, and vendors to drive development and early adoption of novel process technologies

  • Contribute to strategic initiatives; partner with senior leaders to set overall project strategy, and guide teams towards its execution

  • Conceptualize, plan, and execute projects with effective organizational, prioritization and problem-solving skills

  • Stay abreast of scientific and regulatory landscape; actively present (premier conferences), publish (peer-reviewed journals) and patent

  • Represent BPR&D as an upstream, cell-culture expert in internal, cross-functional project teams and external conferences/consortia

  • Mentor and actively share expertise; guide career development; build strong, collaborative teams

  • Champion compliance and safety; promote a culture of diversity, inclusion, and equity

Position Qualifications:

Education Minimum Requirement:

  • Ph.D. with 6+ years,

  • MS with 8+ years, or

  • BS with 10+ years of industry experience and background in Chemical/Biochemical engineering, or a related field

Required Experience and Skills:

  • Strong fundamental knowledge and subject matter expertise in cell-culture process development for biologics, fed-batch cell culture, bioreactors across scales, as well as recent advances, and challenges in the field Expertise in independently conducting and directing the design, execution, analysis, and documentation of all stages of cell-culture process development

  • Track record of accomplishments in upstream bioprocessing with a history of peer-reviewed publications and presentations

  • Knowledge of biologics CMC development

  • Adaptability and agility to prioritize and deliver complex objectives, often on tight timelines, in a rapidly changing environment

  • Experience and aptitude to lead, work, and collaborate in internal and external cross-functional, matrixed teams

  • Action-oriented, mindset for creativity; ability to take initiative, innovate, iterate, and problem-solve

  • Demonstrated commitment to coach and mentor staff to maximize talent development and utilization

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

Preferred Experience and Skills:

  • Leadership of CMC development teams

  • Continuous biomanufacturing and high-throughput microbioreactors integrated with process-analytical technologies

  • Intensified inoculum, and perfusion process development

  • Expertise in media/solution development and chemistry

  • High-throughput experimentation, automation, and process control

  • Knowledge of microbial fermentation

  • Cell culture and predictive modeling (omics, metabolic flux analysis); statistics, data-science, machine learning, artificial intelligence


In accordance with Managers' Policy - Job Posting and Employee Placement, all employees subject to this policy are required to have a minimum of twelve (12) months of service in current position prior to applying for open positions.

If you have been offered a separation benefits package, but have not yet reached your separation date and are offered a position within the salary and geographical parameters as set forth in the Summary Plan Description (SPD) of your separation package, then you are no longer eligible for your separation benefits package. To discuss in more detail, please contact your HRBP or Talent Acquisition Advisor.

Employees working in roles that the Company determines require routine collaboration with external stakeholders, such as customer-facing commercial, or research-based roles, will be expected to comply not only with Company policy but also with policies established by such external stakeholders (for example, a requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to access a facility or meet with stakeholders). Please understand that, as permitted by applicable law, if you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and an essential function of your job is to call on external stakeholders who require vaccination to enter their premises or engage in face-to-face meetings, then your employment may pose an undue burden to business operations, in which case you may not be offered employment, or your employment could be terminated. Please also note that, where permitted by applicable law, the Company reserves the right to require COVID-19 vaccinations for positions, such as in Global Employee Health, where the Company determines in its discretion that the nature of the role presents an increased risk of disease transmission.

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Our company is committed to inclusion, ensuring that candidates can engage in a hiring process that exhibits their true capabilities. Please click here if you need an accommodation during the application or hiring process.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability status, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. For more information about personal rights under the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment laws, visit:

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We are proud to be a company that embraces the value of bringing diverse, talented, and committed people together. The fastest way to breakthrough innovation is when diverse ideas come together in an inclusive environment. We encourage our colleagues to respectfully challenge one another’s thinking and approach problems collectively.

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U.S. Hybrid Work Model

Effective September 5, 2023, employees in office-based positions in the U.S. will be working a Hybrid work consisting of three total days on-site per week, generally Tuesday, Wednesday and either Monday or Thursday, although the specific days may vary by site or organization, with Friday designated as a remote-working day, unless business critical tasks require an on-site presence. This Hybrid work model does not apply to, and daily in-person attendance is required for, field-based positions; facility-based, manufacturing-based, or research-based positions where the work to be performed is located at a Company site; positions covered by a collective-bargaining agreement (unless the agreement provides for hybrid work); or any other position for which the Company has determined the job requirements cannot be reasonably met working remotely. Please note, this Hybrid work model guidance also does not apply to roles that have been designated as “remote”.

Under New York State, Colorado State, Washington State, and California State law, the Company is required to provide a reasonable estimate of the salary range for this job. Final determinations with respect to salary will take into account a number of factors, which may include, but not be limited to the primary work location and the chosen candidate’s relevant skills, experience, and education.

Expected salary range:

$149,400.00 - $235,100.00

Available benefits include bonus eligibility, long term incentive if applicable, health care and other insurance benefits (for employee and family), retirement benefits, paid holidays, vacation, and sick days. A summary of benefits is listed here.

Search Firm Representatives Please Read Carefully
Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ, USA, also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC, Rahway, NJ, USA, does not accept unsolicited assistance from search firms for employment opportunities. All CVs / resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at our company without a valid written search agreement in place for this position will be deemed the sole property of our company. No fee will be paid in the event a candidate is hired by our company as a result of an agency referral where no pre-existing agreement is in place. Where agency agreements are in place, introductions are position specific. Please, no phone calls or emails.

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Travel Requirements:

No Travel Required

Flexible Work Arrangements:

Not Applicable


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