Nkarta Therapeutics is a publicly traded (Nkarta NKTX symbol), 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.


Location         South San Francisco, CA

Reports to      Chief Scientific Officer


Reporting to CSO, the Head of Pre-Clinical and Translational Research is responsible for leading and managing core functions at Nkarta responsible for in vivo candidate validation, effective conduct of IND-enabling studies, and clinical correlative analyses. The successful candidate will manage a team with capabilities for the development of models and analytics that help elucidate product activity, safety, pharmacokinetics and dynamics, and mechanism of action.  This individual will collaborate closely with Nkarta’s discovery, process development, and clinical development groups to integrate translational research into the overall goals of the company.


  • Lead efforts to establish and deploy in vivo models for selection and validation of Nkarta product candidates.
  • Design and manage key in vivo and in vitro IND-enabling studies for cell therapy clinical candidates
  • Develop key methods for identification of clinical biomarkers and correlatives; ensure the appropriate collection, processing, management, and analysis of clinical samples
  • Contribute to all relevant regulatory filings, and play a key role in shaping non-clinical regulatory strategy
  • Build, retain and motivate a superlative team of immunologists, cell biologists, and animal technicians through recruitment, hiring and mentoring.
  • Participate in and lead cross-functional project teams
  • Effectively communicate strategy, methodology, progress, and challenges to stakeholders and partners, including senior leadership and board of directors
  • Lead activities to identify and manage industry and academic partners for cell therapy discovery and development studies
  • Provide an external face to Nkarta through outside speaking engagements, and authorship of conference abstracts and journal publications
  • Manage performance and development of entire staff.



  • A Ph.D. or MD / PhD in Biology, Immunology, Cell Biology, or related field.
  • 15+ years of biology experience in academic and life sciences industry.
  • Highly knowledgeable in areas of immune cell biology, immuno-oncology, and cell therapy development
  • Demonstrated expertise in cell therapy or immuno-oncology pharmacology and familiarity with regulatory expectations for Investigational New Drugs
  • Ability to relate fundamental biological research to its application in the clinic.
  • Familiarity with current immunological, molecular, cellular, and genomic techniques, and biocomputational approaches.
  • Track record of building, leading, and managing successful teams of biologists & pharmacologists, including BS, MS and PhD’s to discover and translate new potential medicines to treat human disease.
  • Excellent written, verbal, interpersonal, and leadership skills.
  • Track record of publications in key biology journals along with excellent presentation record in the field of immunology and immune-oncology.
  • Broad reputation within the scientific community.
  • Demonstrated passion for science and patients
  • Requires independence, self-motivation, and high energy.
  • Flexibility to be able to change direction and grow as required in order to evolve the scientific direction of the company.
  • Strong scientific leadership experience, including experience leading multi-disciplinary teams.


About Nkarta


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.



Working at Nkarta


The 130+ 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 https://www.nkartatx.com