Process Development Scientist/Process Engineer - Upstream Viral Vectors

Nkarta Inc
South San Francisco, CA, United States
Nov 17, 2020
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Masters Degree/MBA
Position Type
Full time
Process Development Scientist/Process Engineer - Upstream Viral Vectors

Nkarta is a clinical-stage biotechnology company advancing the development of allogeneic, off the shelf natural killer (NK) cell therapies for cancer. By combining its cell expansion and cryopreservation platform with proprietary cell engineering technologies, Nkarta is building a pipeline of cell therapy candidates generated by efficient manufacturing processes, which are engineered to enhance tumor targeting and improve persistence for sustained activity in the body.

Founded in 2015 at the birthplace of biotechnology in South San Francisco, CA, Nkarta became a public company ( Nasdaq symbol NKTX ) in 2020. Our development pipeline of engineered NK cell therapy candidates consists of co-lead programs, NKX101 and NKX019. The IND for NKX101 for the treatment of relapsed or refractory AML and higher-risk MDS was accepted by the FDA in July 2020. Patient dosing began in Q4 2020. As we broaden the development of NKX101, we also plan to initiate studies in solid tumors. Our second co-lead program, NKX019, is designed to target B cell lymphomas. We plan to file our IND for NKX019 with the FDA in early 2021.

Position Title Process Dev. Scientist/Process Engineer - Upstream Viral Vectors

Location South San Francisco

Reports to Senior Scientist

Position Summary

The role adds to the build out and further development of our growing team with the advancement of viral production and analytics capability for Nkarta's NK products.

Key Responsibilities
• Works collaboratively within the Process Development team to develop a robust and scalable process for upstream production of clinical retrovirus-based viral vectors.

• Evaluates and implements novel process technologies.

• Develops and supports process optimization efforts to increase process robustness, reduce costs, and improve viral yield and purity.

• Identifies opportunities to improve systems and practices.

• Designs and executes experiments independently; accurately records, analyzes, and communicates data to senior staff and team members.

• Presents results in team meetings and deliver presentations to both small and large groups

Position Requirements

• Extensive experience with molecular biology, cell culture, and process development.

• Preferred experience with the development and production, and analytics for large-scale viral manufacturing:

o qPCR/Flow Cytometry

o Bioreactor process development and use in viral manufacturing

ยง Adherent and Suspension-based systems

o Medium selection and optimization

• Previous experience in process development environment.

• Highly organized, detail-oriented individual with strong problem-solving skills.

• Excellent verbal and writing skills for documentation of data, drafting of technical reports, and communication of progress to supervisor and project teams.

• Must be able to communicate and multi-task within a fast-paced, highly collaborative team environment with a high degree of self-motivation and organization

• Embodies the company culture of empowerment, diversity, and inclusion.

Education / Background

• MS in biology-related discipline and 3-6+ years or PhD in biology-related discipline with 2-4+ years of manufacturing industry experience, requiring viral process development experience and biopharmaceutical industry experience .

Work Environment / Physical Demands

This position requires the ability to occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities for this job include close vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus. The common requirements of an office environment (computers, computer screens, workstations, etc.) apply when not working in or around the laboratory environment. Car and airplane travel might be requirement of this role.

About Nkarta

The 90+ team members at our South San Francisco, California headquartered location describe working at Nkarta, along with opportunities for improvement, in some of the following ways:

"Work is interesting - lots of projects in the pipeline (so I don't have to worry about the one project failing). Leadership is open, straight forward."

"Smart, capable, nice people. People I work with day to day are enjoyable."


"I like that the company is open minded with a (people) -(looking for) a set of skills that can grow (as opposed to thinking you have to have exactly what's in a job spec now) Things that broaden their (employees) skills and growth."

"Like any startup there are fires to put out; feel confident we have the people to control those fires."

"Diverse people from different backgrounds."

To learn more about our work at Nkarta and the career opportunities that will drive us forward to serve patients, please visit the company's website at