COO for a single cell multi-omics start-up project by IMEC and VIB

Leuven VIB Headquarters

09 Mar 2020


VIB Headquarters

Senior Scientific (Managerial)


Developing the business plan with a focus on product development costs and shaping all the operations (manufacturing, procurement, quality insurance)

Job description

IMEC and VIB join forces in a start-up project developing game-changing technologies for automated cell manipulation and multi-omics analysis enabling new insights in disease and other biological processes on a single cell level. To further develop this technology within a new spin-off company, we are looking for a proven leader in operations with an entrepreneurial and hands-on mentality to join as key member of the leadership team. 

His/her key duty will first be to contribute to the development of the business plan with a specific focus on product development cost and anticipation of product manufacturing costs. As the company grows, he/she will shape all operations of the company including manufacturing, procurement, quality assurance. 

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • By joining forces with IMEC and VIB, finetune business plan for investment and set-up of the company allowing a smooth transition into a corporate venture
  • Together with the scientific teams at IMEC and VIB, manage the translation for user requirements into product specifications and organizing the product development roadmap
  • Participate in hiring key resources to build a high performing and ambitious team. 
  • Make sure the full supply chain is implemented towards delivery of the end-product
  • Define the design and production process in such a way that each step’s quality is verifiable, and each step can be transferred to production partners.
  • Negotiate the contracts and maintain the relationships with industrial partners
  • Ensure proper quality assurance and quality management
  • Define and maintain the operations to implement the company strategy, steering the successful development of novel devices
  • Build a culture of continuous improvement 
  • Tightly manage COGS through cost control, material usage efficiency, labor utilization and quality performance
  • Provide constructive leadership to direct reports and with stakeholders across the team 
  • Plan and administer procedures and budgets


Our ideal candidate has experience in life science device manufacturing, prototype design and overall company operations and procedures, and the ability to work in a flat organizational structure as a peer/coach to other team members.  

Besides this, we value

  • A master’s degree in Life Science Engineering or equivalent, a PhD is a nice to have.
  • Proven experience as enthusiastic, entrepreneurial COO or similar relevant leadership role.
  • Willingness to put your shoulders under this new venture, knowing the risks of a start-up.
  • A strong interest in bridging engineering and life science.
  • A strong interest in life science research tools and solutions.
  • Having a start-up mentality and love to working in a dynamic, fast-paced environment where multiple projects and priorities are executed simultaneously.
  • Outstanding organizational and leadership skills, with a great ability to work under pressure.
  • Strong drive for results and milestone achievement.
  • A strong customer-oriented approach combined with product life cost efficiency.
  • Strong negotiation skills and ability to close deals with big players.
  • Self-motivation, flexibility, analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • A C-level team player with excellent people management skills inspiring high performance and enthusiasm of the team.
  • Excellence in relationship building and networking and proven conflict resolution abilities.
  • Consultative interactions with key opinion leaders, potential stakeholders, manufacturing sites and other stakeholders.
  • Strong presentation/communication skills.
  • Fluent in English.
  • Willingness to relocate to Belgium.

We offer

With the right background and the right mindset, this is a unique opportunity to join and shape a breakthrough venture in life science launched by two leading research institutions from its very creation!

You can build a dynamic team to make this spin-off a success. With your entrepreneurial, technical and managerial talents, you will have a huge impact on the achievements of this new venture.

How to apply?

Motivated candidates are asked to apply online.