Downstream Process Development Engineer at ZymoChem
San Leandro, CA, US

We are a biotechnology-centric chemicals company engineering microbe-based processes for making chemicals and high-performance materials that go into everyday products. We work with industry-leading partners to develop and introduce novel bio-based products to enable high growth market opportunities where sustainability, bio-content, and high performance are key. Our mission is realized through our proprietary Carbon Conservation (C2) biotechnology platform, which enables the rapid development of scalable production processes operating at breakthrough efficiencies while delivering substantially lower costs than incumbent processes – if they exist.

Located in San Leandro’s Gate510 innovative technology hub, we’re neighbors with over 10 different biotech startups. Our town hall space is equipped with a large kitchen, spacious seating areas, games, a piano and more!  We’re a team of dedicated researchers that enjoy working with our hands, and tinkering with systems to advance our goal of making a significant contribution to the development and production of sustainable chemicals and materials.

We are backed by Breakout Labs, SOS Ventures (Indie Bio), the Stanford StartX Fund, and ATUM; we have also raised >$6 million in funding to-date along with being recipient to two ARPA-E awards


The Opportunity

Initially reporting to one of the Founders, the Process Development Engineer will be the first official hire in downstream processing. We’re seeking an enthusiastic, hands-on Downstream Process Development Engineer to lead, mentor and grow the Process Development & Scale-up Group. In this role, you’ll have the unique opportunity to work with two different products at two different stages in the development process.  You will gain diverse experiences with assembling and scaling commercially-relevant bioprocess workflows by exploring a combination of both established and cutting-edge technologies. You will also have opportunities for consistent multi-disciplinary collaborations with internal R&D groups as well as the company’s external partners to accelerate the scale-up of fermentation and downstream product recovery processes from the benchtop to the pilot and demonstration levels.



  • Design commercially-scalable processes for the recovery and purification of microbial fermentation-based products
  • Lead the hands-onup set-up, execution, and clean-up of bench-scale downstream processing (DSP) unit operations for both proof-of-concept experiments and benchmarking studies to meet project milestones aimed at achieving product purity and performance at industrial specifications
  • Sampling and sample processing, in addition to establishing new analytical approaches for evaluating process streams
  • Routinely interface with and support the Fermentation Group, and also collaborate with CMO partners on DSP scale-up endeavors
  • Manage the expansion of the DSP and Scale-up group’s capabilities by exploring new technologies and strategies to improve bioproduct recovery & purification and accelerate scale-up efforts
  • Contribute to the development of ZymoChem’s IP strategy & portfolio toward expanding the company’s competitive position
  • Interface with the company’s data management system to record DSP-based data and implement statistical analyses on large data sets
  • Support the maintenance of the company’s product recovery & purification technologies via hands-on equipment troubleshooting & repair



  • Degree in (Bio)chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Process Engineering, Material Science, or a related discipline
  • PhD with 2+ years; MS degree with 2+ years; BS with 4+ years of industrial/startup experience working directly with bench and pilot-scale bioprocess development
  • Hands-on expertise with chemical separations equipment and related analytical devices is a requirement 
  • Experience with microbiology/fermentations, bioreactors and bioprocess-related unit operations
  • Solid fundamental knowledge of biochemical & process engineering principles including mass balance & transport, reactor design, fluid dynamics, and process control
  • Prior industrial work with modeling software (ASPEN, SuperPro) and/or building computational models; familiarity with scripting tools such as Python and R is a plus
  • Strong aptitude for hands-on work with equipment along with a rigorous attention to details with experimental design, execution, and recordkeeping
  • Excellent time management skills, effective with multitasking, and an adept ability to improvise work plans while maintaining efficiency
  • Capability and willingness to work extended days, off-peak hours, and weekends


Nice-to-have (but not required)

  • Experience with fermentation broth
  • Prior industrial work with modeling software (ASPEN, SuperPro) and/or building computational models; familiarity with scripting tools such as Python and R


Full-time opportunities at ZymoChem come with: 

  • Competitive compensation and benefits package that includes medical, dental, and vision employee coverage, along with stock options
  • Optional benefits including dependent coverage, FSA, HSA, commuter, and supplemental life insurance
  • Flexible time off policy with 15 days PTO and 10 paid company holidays per year


If you feel that this position aligns with your career aspirations, please apply with your resume/CV and a cover letter.

ZymoChem is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), sex (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding), genetic information, taking or requesting statutorily protected leave, or any other basis protected by law.