Scientist / Sr. Scientist - Pre-Clinical Research

Nkarta Inc
South San Francisco, CA, United States
Nov 20, 2020
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
Scientist / Sr. Scientist - Pre-Clinical Research

Founded at the birthplace of biotechnology, Nkarta's mission is to discover, develop and deliver novel off-the-shelf (e.g. allogeneic) natural killer (NK) cell therapies that profoundly impact patients' outcomes and survival . The company is based on the proprietary, robust and well-characterized NK cell expansion technology pioneered by Dr. Dario Campana. Nkarta is focused on leveraging the inherent power of NK cells to identify and kill abnormal cells and recruit adaptive immune effectors to generate responses that are deep and durable.

Nkarta combines its NK cell expansion and cryopreservation platform with proprietary cell engineering technologies to generate an abundant supply of NK cells, engineer enhanced NK cell recognition of tumor targets, and improve persistence for sustained activity in the body for the treatment of cancer.

Founded in 2015, Nkarta became a public company (Nasdaq symbol NKTX) in 2020. Our development pipeline of engineered NK cell therapy candidates consists of two 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. We expect to begin dosing patients in this study by the end of 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. In addition, we recently completed the construction of a GMP compliant clinical manufacturing facility in our South San Francisco location designed to produce viral vector and supply our initial clinical trials.

Position Title Scientist / Sr. Scientist

Location South San Francisco, CA

Reports to Director, Translational Biology

Position Summary

This key role adds to our growing pre-clinical and translational teams to support the development and clinical strategy of Nkarta's NK cell therapy pipeline.

Key Responsibilities
  • Works independently to design, execute, and troubleshoot in vitro assays critical to lead candidate characterization and regulatory filings.
  • Contributes to in vivo PK/PD strategy, mechanistic studies to determine MOA and/or downstream targets.
  • Effectively communicate results in team meetings and to the broader RD group.
  • Collaborates and coordinates studies with cross-function groups, including Translational functions to optimize workflows.
  • Serves as mentor and model to junior members.
  • Accurately record, analyze and communicate data with a keen attention to detail and consistency.

Position Requirements
  • Experience working with primary human immune and cancer cells to establish and optimize multi-parametric flow cytometry panels as well as develop functional assay readouts.
  • Strong verbal and written skills for documentation of data, drafting of technical protocols or reports, and communication of progress to supervisor and project teams
  • Ability to multi-task and work within a fast-paced team-oriented environment.
  • Managerial and mentoring experience.
  • Embodies the company culture of empowerment, diversity, and inclusion

  • Experience with cell therapies and immune-therapy modalities with strong emphasis on NK cell biology
  • Industry/biotech experience

Education / Background
  • PhD in immunology or related discipline with at least at least 3 years of relevant post-doc experience or MSc. with 6 years of relevant industry experience

Working Environment

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.

About Nkarta

The 70+ 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."
• "Employee-centric."
• "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