Co-Founder in Residence, Nucleic Acid Design & Delivery for Immune Tolerance

  • Anywhere


Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) are enduring and incapacitating conditions affecting 3-7% of the global populace, imposing a substantial clinical and economic burden on society. Projections indicate the global market for anti-inflammatory drugs could reach £165 billion annually by 2030, yet no treatments offer genuine cures, and sustained drug-free recovery remains uncommon.

The precise causes of most IMIDs still elude us, though it typically involves a complex interplay between genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers. Despite the transformation of the IMID treatment landscape over the past two decades, courtesy of various biologic drugs, therapeutic responses often prove inadequate, benefiting only a subset of patients, fostering drug resistance, or causing significant side effects.

In partnership  with AbbVie, a leader in inflammatory disease therapeutics, we are developing novel methods to selectively and sustainably promote immune tolerance for curing IMIDs. We are focused on a population of pathogenic T cells that is casually driving disease in some IMIDs. Whereas traditionally selective depletion approaches have shown good efficacy in diseases, including Alemtuzumab for multiple sclerosis and Rituximab for systemic lupus erythematosus, we believe that it situ cellular reprogramming has even greater potential as therapeutic in this space. Cellular reprogramming offers us the opportunity to harness naturally occurring tolerance mechanisms to a) remove the pathogenic cell population of interest and b) harness its reprogramming capabilities to regulate inflammation and cure disease. Importantly, these therapies will be durable and specific for the causal disease mechanism, something that is neglected with depletion approaches. As such, we are pioneering a novel approach to reprogramming this pathogenic T cell population using nucleic acid vectors and are looking for the person with the correct set of skills to help drive this project forward.

Are you ready to dive into this exciting and challenging endeavour, motivated to make a lasting impact in the fight against these debilitating diseases?


We’re looking for a future Co-Founder, an entrepreneurially minded individual with industry-specific technical and commercial domain expertise eager to solve urgent unmet challenges through venture building.

You will join DSV’s venture creation programme as a Co-Founder in Residence and work closely with the Founder-in-Residence and DSV team, using our methodology, to spin-out a new company, including working out the optimal scientific and commercial strategy for the new business going forward. Once the new venture is incorporated with pre-seed investment from DSV and AbbVie Ventures, you and the Founder-in-Residence, potentially together with additional co-founders, will own the majority stake in the business and continue receiving support from the DSV team post-spinout.

You will be responsible for working with the Founder-in-Residence in designing and engineering an optimal  therapeutic vector, designing experimental work plans to reach the desired key value inflection points, helping the Founder-in-Residence with developing an IP strategy, building out the co-founding/ early hire team, identifying strategic advisors, and ensuring the company is prepared for investment readiness (meetings and decision points with investment committees). Specifically, we are looking for Co-Founder with expertise in mRNA or DNA biology and vector design, from any speciality or background. 

The role is full-time and fully remote until venture incorporation and spin-out, after – TBD. 


We have systematically mapped the constraints holding back progress towards curative therapies for inflammatory diseases, and have devised solutions to each of these, leading to a novel Approach that reprograms pathogenic T cells in situ and cures inflammation at the source. Through comprehensive scoping, we have identified a DNA and/or mRNA based therapeutic and are looking for someone with the relevant background and excitement to join us in building this exciting venture, along with our partners, AbbVie.



  • You have strong expertise in the use of DNA/mRNA/nucleic acids for human therapeutics and/or lipid nanoparticles (LNP) technology at minimum PhD/MD level;
  • You are driven by unsolved challenges in medicine, especially immunology and inflammation, and have the ambition to work with a team to build new solutions resulting in curative therapies;
  • You ideally have deep, hands-on expertise in at least 1-2 aspects from each of the following areas:
    • Therapeutic DNA/RNA delivery (pre-clinical/clinical setting preferred)
      • RNA or DNA delivery to cells, nanoparticle/LNP technology, synthetic biology, genetic engineering/circuit modification, receptor/kill switch engineering and DNA/RNA conditional logic gates;
    • Multiplexed vectors
      • Stabilisation of RNA, manufacturing nucleic acid vectors, with a strong understanding of the regulatory considerations of developing a therapeutic in this space.
  • A strong plus would be experience in additional areas such as:
    • Synthetic biology, RNA chemistry, DNA chemistry, genetic and protein-protein interactions, epigenetic modifications, and signal transduction.
  • You have commercial or product development experience with cell therapy or in situ cellular reprogramming technologies, including a high-level understanding of product development from preclinical to clinical development and commercialisation.

Who you’ll be joining:

You will join Dr. Christof Gaunt, who has already worked together with DSV to identify multiple innovative solutions to overcome the challenges of current therapeutic strategies for IMIDs. Dr. Christof Gaunt has worked on a wide range of projects between academia and industry, and from the bench to the clinic. He has a special interest in immunology and inflammation, with particular focus on Tregs and their development in vivo. He holds a PhD in Clinical Neuroscience from Cambridge University and a MSc in Drug Discovery and Development from UCL, with 4 years post-PhD experience in postdoc fellowships (CeMM, Vienna) and within “Big Pharma” at GlaxoSmithKline (Cambridge, UK).To complement his skillset, we are looking for a molecular biologist/synthetic biology/immunology Co-Founder (fixed contract, full-time) to initially work until and beyond the  point at which the venture will be incorporated). During this time, you will further refine the approach already built and, together with the team, prepare a detailed strategic, scientific, and experimental plan for the first 12-18 months after spinout – all of which will be instrumental for the success of this venture.



By joining DSV, you’ll be joining a team of operators who have founded companies and led translation of science at some of the most respected universities, charities, funds and government agencies. 2/3 of the team have founded or led a company at C-suite and 65% have a PhD. Our team dedicate several hours every week to each Founder or founding team to provide tailored guidance, resources and feedback covering every aspect of what it takes to successfully launch a new venture from both the tech and commercial perspectives:

  • We provide optimised, purpose-built, proprietary tools, resources and processes to help create high-impact ventures from scratch, using our venture creation methodology. 
  • We draw on opportunity area specific know-how provided by our network of Partners and Advisors;
  • Jointly with AbbVie, we provide £250k launch investment (subject to  Investment Committee approval) to incorporate the new venture and develop early proof-of-concept data that’s needed to attract high profile VCs as well as non-dilutive grant funding. We provide guaranteed income of £4,166 per month paid to each Co-Founder in Residence as a consultancy fee until the company is launched and the pre-seed investment is secured;
  • You and the Founder-in-Residence, together with any additional co-founders, will own a majority equity stake in the company;
  • We provide continuous support after post spin-out, including fundraising, commercial partnerships, recruitment and team-building (amongst other things); plus
  • There are dozens of Founders currently at DSV across sectors working collaboratively and supporting one another – a unique resource to draw on.


Deep Science Ventures is creating a future in which both humans and the planet can thrive. 

We use our unique venture creation process to create, spin-out and invest into science companies, combining available scientific knowledge and founder-type scientists into high-impact ventures. 

We operate in 4 sectors: Pharmaceuticals, Climate, Agriculture and Computation, tackling the challenges defining those areas by taking a first principles approach and partnering with leading institutions.