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Process Development Research Associate/Engineer - Cell Therapy

Company: Nkarta, Inc.
Location: South San Francisco
Posted on: June 9, 2021

Job Description:

Process Development Research Associate/Engineer - Cell Therapy

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 Process Development Research Associate/Engineer

Location South San Francisco

Reports to Senior Process Engineer

Position Summary

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

Key Responsibilities

  • Development of cell therapy production processes using quality-by-design principles.
  • Optimizes processes and procedures to collaboratively create manufacturing efficiency, process robustness and reduced costs.
  • Identifies and supports the development of critical product-specific analytical methods for the characterization and release of cell therapy products.
  • Demonstrates a high level of initiative in troubleshooting experiments and accurate data analysis.
  • Participates in cross-functional collaborations to meet project timelines and material supply requirements.
  • Evaluates and implements novel process technologies with an emphasis on closed-system processing and automated unit operations.
  • Prepares technical reports and supports investigational new drug (IND) chemistry-manufacturing-control (CMC) section writing.
  • Provides guidance to management through presentation of hypotheses, progress, and plans to project teams and governance bodies.
  • Publishes or presents scientific findings in peer-reviewed journals, at conferences, and contributes to corporate collaborations.
  • Designs and executes experiments independently or in teams; accurately records, analyzes, and communicates data to senior staff and team members.
  • Presents results in team meetings and delivers presentations to both small and large groups.

Position Requirements

  • Preferred experience in:

o Suspension based-bioreactor for the culture of mammalian-cell lines

o Flow cytometry

o GMP manufacturing of cell therapy or biological products

  • Ideal to possess experience in:

o Development or production of cell therapies

o Viral transduction principles and processes

  • Thorough understanding of Design of Experiments (DOE) and Quality by Design (QBD).
  • 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

  • BA/BS in biology-related discipline and 2-6+ years of laboratory experience, MS in biology-related discipline with 2-4+ years related process development experience, with preference for candidates with cell therapy industry experience. The ideal candidate will have at least 2-4 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience in a development setting.

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. Car and airplane travel might be requirement of this role. Ability and willingness to travel up to 10%.

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


Keywords: Nkarta, Inc., South San Francisco , Process Development Research Associate/Engineer - Cell Therapy, Other , South San Francisco, California

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