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Abcam Overview

Cambridge, East of England, England
501 to 1000 employees
1998
Company - Public (ABC)
Biotech & Pharmaceutical
£100 to £500 million (GBP) per year
Abcam is a leading web based business supplying research tools to life scientists worldwide. Our head office is in Cambridge (UK), we also have offices in Bristol (UK), Cambridge, Eugene and San Francisco, (USA), Tokyo (Japan), Hong Kong and Hangzhou, Shanghai ... Read more

Mission: 'To enable scientists to discover more'. 'Discover more' reflects researchers' quest for knowledge and Abcam's ongoing commitment and support.

Abcam – Why Work For Us?


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:

  • Rewarding salary packages
  • Generous holiday entitlement
  • Contributory pension scheme
  • Life assurance
  • Critical illness cover
  • Medical and dental insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Cycle2Work scheme
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Eye care vouchers
  • Gym membership discounts
  • Discounts at leading brands and retailers
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Employee Share Scheme
  • Free refreshments
  • On-site games rooms fitted with consoles, pool tables and table tennis tables
  • Social events including summer barbecues as well as extensive sports and gaming clubs, all company-subsidized

Corporate social responsibility

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.

Explore the possibilities

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.

Develop your career

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.

Abcam Reviews

3.1
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Abcam CEO Alan Hirzel
Alan Hirzel
35 Ratings
  • Helpful (1)

    "Good working conditions, poor pay"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Scientific Support Specialist in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Current Employee - Scientific Support Specialist in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Abcam full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Very friendly and open company

    Cons

    Remuneration package isn't competitive compared to others in the area. Yearly pay reviews are also extremely poor. The company tends to bring in external people and pay them big money rather than incentivising their current employees to stay.

    Advice to Management

    Benchmarking is a step in the right direction but not if you still stay at the lower end of the pay scale. It still doesn't make it as competitive as working for other companies.

See All 76 Reviews

Abcam Photos

Abcam photo of: Logistics
Abcam photo of: Table Football</Table>
Abcam photo of: Yoga
Abcam photo of: Lab 1
Abcam photo of: Flow hood
Abcam photo of: Stores
See All PhotosSee All

Abcam Interviews

Experience

Experience
52%
9%
38%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview
66%
19%
14%

Difficulty

2.7
Average

Difficulty

Hard
Average
Easy
  1.  

    Scientist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, East of England, England
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Abcam (Cambridge, East of England, England).

    Interview

    Had a face-to-face interview with the line manager and the rest of the team, normal questions overall and they acted nice. The interview was nice per se, what was terrible was to get any feedback from the HR. These people should be ashamed of themselves. I tried to get feedback from my interview for more than 2 months until I gave up. I tried to ask several times about reimbursement for the interview expenses and they NEVER replied to my question. What is even more ridiculous is that one HR person kept being in contact regarding giving feedback, but never actually gave any. Not a company anybody should wish to work for.

    Interview Questions

    • Tell us about a time you had to deal with a difficult decision.   Answer Question
See All 22 Interviews

Abcam Awards & Accolades

  • Company of the Year, AIM Awards, 2013
  • Company of the Year, AIM Awards, 2009

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