Senior Process Development Associate and Lab Manager

Nkarta Inc
South San Francisco, CA, United States
Dec 01, 2020
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Associate Degree
Position Type
Full time
Senior Process Development Associate and Lab Manager

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 Sr. Process Development Associate and Lab Manager

Location South San Francisco

Reports to Senior Scientist

Position Summary

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

Key Responsibilities
• Works collaboratively within Nkarta to support the research and development work for engineering CAR NK cells by producing small to large-size batches of virus.

• Implements novel process technologies.
• Supports process optimization efforts to increase process robustness, reduce costs, and improve viral yield and purity.
• Performs routine analytical testing.
• Helps execute experiments; accurately records, analyzes, and communicates data to senior staff and team members.

• Proactively identify issues in lab, identify possible solutions and communicate to supervisors and the team.

• Supports the viral vector process development team by working with outside vendors to:

o Manages supply chain needs

o Oversees service contracts and maintenance schedules for equipment

• Acts as a point of contact for the facilities team.

Position Requirements

• Extensive experience with molecular biology and cell culture:

o Aseptic cell handling experience for both adherent and suspension cells

o Virus handling

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

• Excellent verbal and writing skills for documentation of data and communication with supervisor, project teams, and external vendors.

• 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.


• Experience with production and analytics for large-scale viral manufacturing

o qPCR/Flow Cytometry
• Experience in a process development environment is strongly preferred.

Education / Background

BA/BS in biology-related discipline and 3-6+ years of laboratory experience, MS in biology-related discipline with 2-4+ years related laboratory experience, with preference for candidates with viral vector and biopharmaceutical 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. Gowning in an aseptic environment on a routine basis may be required. 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 through our most recent surveys in some of the following ways:

Strong kudos to the team and company to promote and maintain high levels of accurate, transparent communication throughout the organization. Team members feel they are well kept up to date and fully informed on anything of importance.

The work environment is regarded is open, collaborative, transparent and broadly diverse. All of these things are highly valued and highly regarded. The sort of culture attracts good team members, and keeps team members inspired to work at Nkarta

People at Nkarta appreciate and value their teammates; people like the folks with whom they work.

The Covid 19 pandemic has brought a higher level of difficulty but there are also underlying challenges; being more organized and clear about who does what, where to find resources, resources where you need them, how we're structuring communication, better onboarding, and seeing when/if it's best to reassign roles for better efficiency.

We can do a better job of clarifying roles when they're fuzzy, shifting roles as appropriate, better defined career ladders, and more managerial attention to develop and team member development.

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