Ginkgo Bioworks

Our mission is to make biology easier to engineer.

Chief Science Officer (CSO), Verb Biotics

Boston, MA
Job Type
11+ years
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About the role

Verb Biotics is a new company built on Ginkgo Bioworks’ cell engineering platform with the goal of improving overall human health through probiotics technology that works in concert with the nutrition in our foods. The probiotic solutions we develop target specific health areas and we design & engineer solutions that have a clear mechanism-of-action focus in order to better provide consumers a positive “I feel the effect” experience.  We are building a passionate team of health and wellness experts.  Verb is not a typical start-up because the R&D and platform is already in place through Ginkgo. 


Reporting to the CEO, the Chief Science Officer will be highly influential in plotting and executing the company’s early product road map and long-range innovation strategy. The CSO will be responsible for overseeing the product development process, from ideation through launch, and ensuring products are delivered on-time and on budget.


The ideal candidate possesses significant scientific and technical industry experience in the fields of Microbiology, Biochemistry or Nutritional Science covering probiotics, prebiotics, and microbiome health. This individual will actively engage with third parties as well as develop scientific partnerships with academic and other research organizations / institutions to remain on the leading edge of scientific discovery. As Verb Biotics is a start-up company, the CSO will wear many hats and is key in supporting the CEO to nurture a winning company culture.

Execute on key initiatives:

  • Lead product ideation and decisioning to guide the new venture’s early R&D and product roadmap
  • Formulates and supervises overall R&D strategy including defining scope and deliverables to the Ginkgo Foundry and overall responsible for the outcomes of Foundry projects.
  • Oversee regulatory work including obtaining FDA GRAS and international equivalents
  • Lead all clinical trial programs to produce supporting data for our proprietary probiotic strains
  • Partners with CEO and Commercial leadership to develop and execute the company’s strategy and product pipeline based on input from customers, market data, academia, and key partners.
  • Stay connected with the scientific community, stay up to date with the latest scientific discovery and industry trends, stay alert about potential technology--driven opportunities and alerts from competitors.
  • Critically evaluate emerging science and discoveries to determine how the company can best leverage its product platform and Foundry capabilities.

Provide exceptional leadership:

  • Develop a strong world class science and technical team and product development capabilities.
  • Partners with Legal and Commercial leadership to determine clinical requirements needed to support product claims. 
  • Face of the company for all Science and Technical matters and will be expected to represent Verb at key industry and academic events (including speaking engagements)
  • Lead and manage a small staff of scientists, ensuring their work is aligned with the company’s strategy and values.
  • Overall responsible for Quality Systems and maintains regulatory standards / requirements

Ensure cross-functional integration:

  • Represents the company with scientific agencies, globally addressing aspects of the company’s research and product development.
  • Partners with the Supply Chain team to qualify manufacturing partners and systems.  CSO directs the R & D team to actively support Operations with constant improvements of quality, efficiencies, and cost reductions
  • Supports Sales and Marketing leadership with subject matter expertise and is the liaison to customer R&D team

Establish a culture of innovation:

  • Set an example around the power of curiosity and compassion. Maintain relentless focus on the vision of what is possible.
  • Display intellectual leadership in developing or emerging topics / subject areas, continually seeking to learn and evolve thinking. 
  • Serve as an internal and external thought leader, and seek to inform and inspire team members to propagate a sense of pride and excitement. 

Desired Experience and Capabilities:

  • Highly accomplished scientific leader with 15+ years of experience in CPG, Pharma or Nutraceutical industries
  • PhD or similar degree in a life science field
  • Strong team-building track record
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, start-up environment
  • Leadership experience in successful new product launch and commercialization in health and wellness industry
  • Proven track record in innovation strategy, packaging, R&D and product development, safety, quality, regulatory management, cost optimization
  • Experience in P&L ownership, margin improvements, and cross-functional team building
  • Experience working cooperatively with suppliers
  • Decision making ability based on growth and a data driven mindset
  • Constant optimizer focused on continuous improvement
  • Delivers on and can promote big visions

<u>A plus:</u>

  • Working knowledge of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, metabolomics, microbiome science
  • Has and can maintain academic appointment(s)
  • Experience working with large multinational CPG and Pharma companies

We feel that it’s important to point out the obvious here – there’s a serious lack of diversity in both the scientific fields and nutrition industry, and that needs to change. Our goal is to help drive that change. We are deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its practices, especially when it comes to growing our team. Our culture promotes inclusion and embraces how rewarding it is to work with people from all walks of life. 

We’re working with the powerful biological engineering platform at Ginkgo Bioworks, so we must remain mindful of the many ways our technology can – and will – impact people around the world. Ginkgo and Verb Biotics _ care _ about how this platform and the products created are used. Having a diverse team to build it gives us the best chance that it’s something we’ll be proud of as it continues to grow. Therefore, it’s critical that we incorporate the diverse voices and visions of all those who play a role in the future of biology in every industry.

It is the policy of Verb Biotics to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and employment applicants.

About Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo Bioworks is the organism company. We design custom organisms for customers across multiple markets. We build our foundries to scale the process of organism engineering using software and hardware automation. Organism engineers at Ginkgo learn from nature to develop new organisms that replace technology with biology.

Engineering biology isn't easy. It is frustratingly, painfully difficult. It's programming without a debugger, manufacturing without CAD, and construction without cranes. At Ginkgo we are building a team that can build debuggers, write CAD, and operate cranes. We are looking for the best engineers, scientists, and hackers.

Ginkgo Bioworks
Team Size:641
Barry Canton
Barry Canton
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Austin Che
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Jason Kelly
Tom Knight
Tom Knight
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Reshma Shetty