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Associate Director, Business Development

Emeryville, CA, USA | Zymergen Inc

  • Industry:
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    Business Development
    General Management
  • Experience:
    3-5 years
Job Description:
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To grow our business, we engage with customers and partners to understand their needs, develop and communicate project proposals and execute strain improvement programs. Technical development work includes establishing new molecular biological techniques, moving existing protocols to robotics workstations, and building workflows that enable high throughput microbe engineering and evaluation.

Zymergen is hiring distinctive individuals to be Managers on our Business Development team. This team’s work is a marriage of business and science, and Associate Directors enjoy speaking both languages. These individuals will develop and manage our large-scale industrial partnerships, be responsible for the overall economics from contracting through execution, and work closely with our technical leaders to deliver against performance targets. Associate Directors bring creativity, perseverance and energy to identify and execute on new opportunities.

Zymergen is a fast-growing company and, as such, the nature of role is likely to change and expand. The interdisciplinary nature of our work means that diverse skills, experiences, and perspectives are essential to our success.

Collaboration. Managers lead cross-functional teams within Zymergen.ADs will communicate and maintain relationships with people of different technical and business backgrounds.ADs advocate internally and externally to achieve program goals. Key partners internally include research, development, operations, finance, and legal.External stakeholders include both the client’s technical team and business stakeholders.

Creative problem solving. Managers provide innovative solutions and can structure problem solving individually and in groups. ADs are called upon to find creative solutions to advance programs on technical and business fronts.

Analytics. Managers have strong analytical skills. In client programs, they regularly analyze outputs relative to targets and performance, which requires a working knowledge of statistics. The role also requires financial modeling aptitude.Models will be used to understand clients’ business economics and develop commercial terms for new client programs.

Program management. Managers are responsible for the execution of the program.This is done in close collaboration with a technical lead and a Director or Senior Director.The AD is responsible for setting and tracking work plans and timelines, both with internal and external teams. This requires good organization skills, an ability to prioritize, and an ability to manage complex work streams.

Client management. Managers are involved in managing relationships with both business and technical clients. This requires good listening skills for use in problem solving as well as persuasion skills to develop solutions that suit both Zymergen and our clients. This role may require frequent domestic and international travel.

Contract management. Each client program will have a contract that governs Zymergen’s collaboration with the client, including delivery of microbes and achievement of financial outcomes.Associate Directors carefully track adherence to the contract and provide transparency to both Zymergen team members and the client.

Communication. Managers are called upon to craft and deliver compelling synthesized documents to business leaders as well as thorough, well-supported documents to technical clients and colleagues.AD’s oral communication should be clear, synthesized, fact based and action oriented. In both written and oral communication, Associate Directors must adapt to different audiences or changes in the needs of those audiences throughout the program.

People development. Managers have the opportunity to lead and develop business analysts.ADs also provide coaching and skill building support to the research development team.In addition to gaining management experience, ADs receive coaching and mentoring from Zymergen’s leaders.


Advanced degree (MS, PhD, or MBA) or significant relevant work experience in life sciences, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, or other areas of interest

Three or more years of experience, showing increasing responsibility, at a top-tier consulting firm or life sciences company, including at least one year as a program manager or project lead

Required skills:

Clear written and oral communication

Client management and relationship building

Analytical problem-solving

Contract negotiations and management

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