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Abcam Overview

Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
501 to 1000 employees
Company - Public (ABC)
Biotech & Pharmaceuticals
$100 to $500 million (USD) 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.

Company Updates

  • A great article in the Telegraph today on Abcam which gives a different perspective on our business and our mission

    The factory for antibodies that offers a lifeline to scientists

    His big idea was to shift the emphasis away from simply growing bigger by building the largest catalogue of research proteins in the world, towards being much more customer-oriented. Hirzel was applying simple retail methods to Abcam. "The customer and meeting customer needs has become that much more important," he explains.

  • A fantastic response to our preliminary results announced today with another year of double-digit growth.

    Abcam blazes ahead with global growth plans as antibody sales soar

    Abcam makes a wide range of antibodies and other diagnostic tools and ships them to scientists around the world, who use them to analyse cells. In the past year, Abcam has worked in partnership with several pharmaceutical companies and its technology was instrumental in developing diagnostic antibodies to target difficult to treat cancers, such as melanoma and lung cancer.

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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

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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Abcam CEO Alan Hirzel
Alan Hirzel
35 Ratings
  • Helpful (2)

    "Great Entry Level Job"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Logistics Technician in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Logistics Technician in Cambridge, MA
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Abcam full-time (More than a year)


    Friendly environment with committed co-workers and a management that really cares and gives you the tools to perform.


    Little room for growth if your background is not Biosciences.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you're doing.

See All 77 Reviews

Abcam Photos

Abcam photo of: Logistics
Abcam photo of: Hangzhou 2
Abcam photo of: Pipette
Abcam photo of: Kendall Square
Abcam photo of: Open discussions
Abcam photo of: Hong Kong 2
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Abcam Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview





    Customer Service Specialist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 6+ weeks. I interviewed at Abcam in April 2017.


    I was told about the opening from a friend of mine and emailed my resume to the Manager of the department. She asked me to apply online, which I did. I then was given a phone interview. I was told that then next step was a two hour interview and testing. The main problem was that she would never return phone calls or emails. This went on for a month and a half with no reply. I found out from a Staffing Agency that I did not cut it by accident, Abcam decided to go through the agency. They could not be bothered to let me unprofessional!

    Interview Questions

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Abcam Awards & Accolades

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

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