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Job Details

Bristol Myers Squibb

Assay Development for Cancer Drug Discovery Co-op - Spring 2023

Business Development

Strategic Planning


Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

At Bristol Myers Squibb, we are inspired by a single vision – transforming patients’ lives through science. In oncology, hematology, immunology and cardiovascular disease – and one of the most diverse and promising pipelines in the industry – each of our passionate colleagues contribute to innovations that drive meaningful change. We bring a human touch to every treatment we pioneer. Join us and make a difference.

Assay Development for Cancer Drug Discovery, Co-Op: January 2023 to June 2023

At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we are a team dedicated to discovering, developing and delivering innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. Our commitment is to foster a globally diverse and inclusive workforce with a high-performing culture that is agile, entrepreneurial and accountable. This enables our business strategy while encouraging excellence, growth, achievement, innovation and a balance between our personal and professional lives.

By combining the reach and resources of a global pharmaceutical company with the can-do spirit and agility of a biotechnology company, we are becoming a leader for the future – a next-generation BioPharma leader.

For more on BMS Cambridge please watch our video “Cambridge: A Culture of Collaboration” on Youtube

Current Six-Month Co-op Opportunity

Oncology Drug Discovery (CAM)

Goal: Optimization of cell-based assays to support drug discovery efforts:

The advent of precision medicine has opened up a realm of possibilities to revolutionize treatments for cancer. However, many patients are either intrinsically resistant or acquire resistance to many precision medicines currently advancing in pre-clinical and clinical development. There is an overwhelming need to understand the biological mechanisms that underlie this resistance so new drugs can be developed to overcome it. The BMS site at Cambridge is focused on identifying tumor intrinsic targets that contribute to mechanisms of cancer resistance. This co-op role will focus on aiding drug discovery efforts for one or more such targets. More specifically, the role will involve hands-on lab-based work to design, develop and optimize novel mechanism-based assays that will help increase understanding of underlying target biology as well as test compounds for activity in these assays.

To achieve the above goal, this project will involve the following assignments:

Work/plan with manager to identify relevant cell-based assays (10%)

  • Complete requisite safety trainings for working in laboratory
  • Meet and interact with team members to understand scope and remit of site’s and group’s focus and priorities
  • Familiarize self with target biology and ongoing research
  • Work with manager to plan strategies to be explored to better understand biological mechanism-of-action based assays for development

Development, optimization, and execution of cell-based assays (80%)

  • Learn and master basic laboratory skills
  • Design cell-based assays based on a good understanding of published and/or emerging biology
  • Expand and grow relevant tumor cell lines and optimize methods/conditions for cell-based assays
  • Utilize established methods to monitor key cell-based assay readouts/biomarkers of relevance
  • Develop novel assays to monitor target relevant end-points
  • Test activity of program compounds in optimized assays to enable chemistry efforts

Education and Training: 10%

  • Attend lab meetings, group meetings, and site wide invited speaker seminars
  • Present project progress at lab/group meetings as appropriate


Enrolled in Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program in the Sciences. Desired backgrounds/degrees include:

  • Natural Sciences (Chemistry or Biology)

Key Learnings:

  • Basics of cancer drug discovery process, including how drug targets are selected and validated and how compounds are identified, optimized, and progressed to clinical trials
  • Essential laboratory skills including design and optimization of assays for drug screening
  • Problem solving skills
  • Skills required to work in a team environment with all members focused on a common goal

Key Deliverables at Project Completion:

  • At end of the co-op assignment, the student will be required to create a presentation reflecting their learnings and recommendations.

Around the world, we are passionate about making an impact on the lives of patients with serious diseases. Empowered to apply our individual talents and diverse perspectives in an inclusive culture, our shared values of passion, innovation, urgency, accountability, inclusion and integrity bring out the highest potential of each of our colleagues.

Bristol Myers Squibb recognizes the importance of balance and flexibility in our work environment. We offer a wide variety of competitive benefits, services and programs that provide our employees with the resources to pursue their goals, both at work and in their personal lives.

Physical presence at the BMS worksite or physical presence in the field is an essential job function of this role which the Company deems critical to collaboration, innovation, productivity, employee well-being and engagement, and enhances the Company culture.

To protect the safety of our workforce, customers, patients and communities, the policy of the Company requires all employees and workers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have received an exception based on an approved request for a medical or religious reasonable accommodation. Therefore, all BMS applicants seeking a role located in the U.S. and Puerto Rico must confirm that they have already received or are willing to receive the full COVID-19 vaccination by their start date as a qualification of the role and condition of employment. This requirement is subject to state and local law restrictions and may not be applicable to employees working in certain jurisdictions such as Montana. This requirement is also subject to discussions with collective bargaining representatives in the U.S.

Our company is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities can excel through a transparent recruitment process, reasonable workplace adjustments and ongoing support in their roles. Applicants can request an approval of accommodation prior to accepting a job offer. If you require reasonable accommodation in completing this application or if you are applying to a role based in the U.S. or Puerto Rico and you believe that you are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief, during or any part of the recruitment process, please direct your inquiries to Visit to access our complete Equal Employment Opportunity statement.

BMS will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records, pursuant to applicable laws in your area.

Any data processed in connection with role applications will be treated in accordance with applicable data privacy policies and regulations.