Mission: 'To enable scientists to discover more'. 'Discover more' reflects researchers' quest for knowledge and Abcam's ongoing commitment and support.
We support scientific breakthroughs that benefit everyone, and we make sure all our colleagues, their partners and their families benefit from that exceptional work. Below are just some of the benefits you’ll enjoy at abcam, dependent on your role and location:
Our work enables scientists to study biology and develop treatment for major diseases. But that doesn’t mean we stop there. We’re relentlessly focused and we know there’s still more we can do for our community and our planet. That’s where our Corporate Social Responsibility comes in.
We aim to become the most influential company and best-loved brand in life sciences, and we want our colleagues to share in that success. After all, we all share the challenge of making it happen. We listen to each other, we respect everyone’s backgrounds, and we work together in everything. That’s why we offer the kind of opportunities, support and benefits that help everyone feel encouraged and empowered at abcam.
he idea for Abcam came early in 1998 out of a laboratory in the University of Cambridge, UK. The principal founder Jonathan Milner was working as a Post-Doctoral researcher studying the newly discovered breast cancer protein BRCA2 in Professor Tony Kouzarides' laboratory. The project slowed because of problems finding quality antibody reagents that had honest and up to date information about their uses and limitations. It was frustrating. It was then that Jonathan and a number of other people in the laboratory, came up with the idea for a web-based antibody company of like-minded scientists. Tony invented the name which is a hybrid of antibody (ab) and Cambridge (cam). The idea was that Abcam would sell the best antibodies in the world with the most comprehensive, honest and up-to-date datasheets, fast delivery and helpful customer service & technical support. It was a tough vision!
A lucky break came when Jonathan met and discussed the idea with Dr David Cleevely (a Cambridge telecoms entrepreneur) who was smart (or some said crazy!) enough to join him in the venture. So in the summer of 1998, Jonathan left the world of academia to work full-time on Abcam, which he describes as the scariest thing he has ever done. Initially Abcam had a small amount of money from David, family, friends and Jonathan (after re-mortgaging his house; he has a very understanding wife!), but they realized that they needed a big injection of capital to build a website to accomplish the vision and increase production of Abcam's own antibodies. A business plan was written and the Directors went out confidently to raise money from venture capitalists. However, the next couple of years were really tough as Abcam struggled to convince the VCs that a viable business could be built from such an idealistic vision.
Things were looking really bleak and Abcam needed to get some sales quickly, so Jonathan took an ice-bucket full of popular antibodies around the University of Cambridge laboratories in order to get friends and colleagues to buy them, which they did (thanks guys!). Hence the legend of Abcam's humble beginnings from an ice-bucket was born!
Our first notable successes arrived in the early part of the new millenium: Chromatin antibodies, loading control antibodies and GFP antibodies. Then we had two further lucky breaks. First, some local business angels (people from the Cambridge business community who wish to help technology businesses get started) were convinced to invest and second, some like-minded scientists and talented individuals were recruited (who form the basis of Abcam's management team today) and this succeeded in boot-strapping the company through those difficult times. Of course there was also tremendous determination to prove that those venture capitalists were wrong and that a successful profitable company, that would also make a valuable contribution to life science researchers, could be built on such a business plan.
A lot of researchers ask where we got the idea for Molly the sheep. It was simply because Dolly the sheep was making headline news at the time, so we created the body out of a molecular space fill model and gave her antibody legs, and thus the molecular Dolly became Abcam's Molly.
If you are one of the many scientists that now buy from Abcam and use the website, we would like to know what you think: Are we polite and friendly? Do our products work as you would expect? Was the website useful? How could we do better? You can contact us with your comments and we look forward to hearing from you.
We think it’s important to think differently. To leave complacency at the door, and always aim higher. That goes for our careers too. Come to abcam, and you’ll find opportunities to grow and develop.
At abcam, we do everything we can to adapt and evolve our skills as a team. Use our Career Development Fund to study for a new qualification that hones your talent. Find support to learn and grow on our Mentoring Scheme. Or join the New Manager Program or the abcam Leadership Program, where you’ll develop your knowledge and empower yourself to make a greater impact.
I have been working at Abcam full-time (More than 3 years)
Opportunities for development and promotion are becoming even more frequent as Abcam grows rapidly across the globe. In addition, there is a real drive in the company culture to allow for 'passion projects' that make work even more interesting and exciting. The executive leadership team are highly focused on innovation and actively seek ideas from all levels within the company.
Best of all, though, is the culture at Abcam. It can be hard to describe the culture until you've been here because it really is amazing. There is a strong bond among colleagues who share a common goal: serving life scientists as those life scientists work on the research that can change our world. The teams are friendly, open, collaborative, accountable, innovative, dedicated, and focused. This is balanced with a strong sense of work/life balance that encourages employees to rest with amble time off and sensible flexible schedules.
One of the hardest things a company can do is grow rapidly many years in row and avoid the pitfalls that plague many large companies. Abcam has done a wonderful job at sustaining growth while keeping true to what made that that little startup so special.
Flexible schedules are new and so not quite as flexible as they could be. Some departments that could support flex or working remotely haven't fully bought into them yet.
Advice to Management
Keep the culture. Never lose this. This culture where your employees truly enjoy coming to work every day is why your customers love you. Continue to value your employees first and we will all reap the rewards of a healthy, vibrant, growing company and keep everyone else questioning how we do it year after year.
I applied through a staffing agency. The process took 3 days. I interviewed at Abcam (Cambridge, East of England, England) in December 2017.
Very relaxed, interviewer had a positive personality and was very welcoming. Felt relaxed from the moment i arrived, very professional. Interviewer was genuinely interested in my responses and took time to get to know a bit about me personally before starting the main interview questions.