Senior Intellectual Property Counsel

Nkarta is a publicly traded (Nasdaq symbol NKTX), South San Francisco headquartered, early-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of allogeneic, off-the-shelf engineered natural killer, or NK, cell therapies to treat cancer.

Founded in 2015 at the birthplace of biotechnology, our development pipeline of engineered NK cell therapy candidates includes two co-lead clinical programs, NKX101 and NKX019. Clinical trials for 101 are in process; 019 will begin in H2 2021. Nkarta recently announced a collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics, a world leader in gene-based medicines, for the development and commercialization of up to three new cell therapy candidates and access to clinically validated CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering.

Complementing our broad research and development capabilities, Nkarta has also built an extensive cell therapy manufacturing operation. We have a 2,700-square foot clinical good manufacturing practice, or cGMP, facility on-site at our primary corporate location in South San Francisco, California. We plan to start in-house manufacturing of NKX019 in 2021 and NKX101 in 2022. We are also currently designing a separate, larger cGMP facility, to supply our anticipated pivotal clinical trial and commercial needs.

Position Title         Senior Intellectual Property Counsel                 

Location                South San Francisco, CA

Reports to             Chief Legal Officer


Position Summary

Nkarta is seeking an experienced patent attorney to join its growing legal team. The Senior Intellectual Property Counsel will be responsible for managing the Nkarta patent portfolio, preparing and prosecuting patent applications, formulating patent strategy, and conducting patentability and freedom-to-operate evaluations. Other responsibilities will include counseling management and scientists on matters related to intellectual property. 


Key Responsibilities

  • Manage the Company’s patent portfolio and the U.S. and foreign prosecution docket
  • Identify inventions and draft, file, and prosecute patent applications
  • Develop and implement strategies to protect the Company’s intellectual property (IP) assets
  • Perform patentability, validity and freedom-to-operate analyses and IP landscape evaluations
  • Support, communicate with, and advise research and development teams regarding the identification and development of IP
  • Review publications, presentations, and other disclosure requests for potential IP issues
  • Support the Company’s business development and transactional activities, including conducting IP due diligence assessments, managing IP due diligence requests, and reviewing IP provisions in contracts
  • Manage external patent and trademark counsel, including work product, budgets, and invoices

Position Requirements

  • Member in good standing of a state bar (California preferred), and if not a member of The State Bar of California, must be eligible to be registered with The State Bar of California as registered in-house counsel
  • Admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • 6 to 11 years of relevant legal experience, preferably with experience at both a reputable law firm and in house at a biotech/pharma company
  • 5+ years of experience in preparation and prosecution of biotech or pharmaceutical patent applications
  • Extensive knowledge of U.S. and foreign patent office procedures and practice
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and strong analytical skills
  • Detail oriented with a high level of ethics and integrity
  • Able to thrive in a fast-paced, small company environment
  • Local candidates preferred


  • J.D. degree from a well-respected, ABA-accredited law school
  • An advanced degree in a relevant scientific discipline (e.g. Biology, Immunology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology), with a Ph.D. strongly preferred

Working Conditions

The common requirements of an office environment (computers, computer screens, workstations, etc.) apply when not working in or around the laboratory environment. Approximately 10% travel may be required, including airplane and car usage.

About Nkarta

The 100+ team members describe working at Nkarta through some of the following comments. While getting better work-life balance and improving communications between groups in an early stage start up environment are two areas in which we’re working, here are real anonymous comments of why people think Nkarta is a great place to work.

·        People are always open to ideas. This company provides a safe place for its employees (Covid testing, etc.)

·        Exceptionally talented, committed, *kind* & supportive team

·        The CEO is transparent and honest with expectations for the whole company. There is genuine care amongst the leadership team for their peers and employees. I believe this is unique.

·        Not to sound corny, but the emphasis on people as a valuable resource is something I recognize doesn't often exist elsewhere, and it's here in ample supply, which is great.

·        It's the first place that I've worked where the executive team truly values the employees. It's a pretty amazing thing not to hear that employees can be replaced with someone new. Institutional knowledge is understood.

·        We have a very diverse team with executives that are friendly and accessible.

·        Smart and dedicated colleagues. Mission to make a difference in patients lives. Empower us with tools needed to succeed. Open and transparent culture. Transparent leadership. Handling of covid and running the company was done very well.

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