Principal Scientist/Senior Scientist, Analytical Genomics

Job Locations US-CA-South San Francisco
Analytical Development
Position Type
Regular Full-Time

About Us

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.


We are seeking a highly motivated and highly collaborative Senior / Principal Scientist to join the Analytical Development (AD) team in implementing various assays to characterize Nkarta’s pipeline of cellular immunotherapy products, with special focus on genomic analysis.  This role adds to the build out and further development of our growing analytical development team with the advancement of the production and analytics capability for Nkarta’s NK products. 


  • Select, design, and implement established novel genomic analytical methods to test process intermediates, ancillary products, and drug products during process development
  • Develop or conduct functional assays to demonstrate the impacts of the gene edits
  • Exercise independent judgment in performing experimental methods, techniques, evaluation criteria for obtaining results, and data analysis
  • Identify critical quality attributes (CQA) for which controlled assays must be available for gene-edited drug product lot release and stability, and other attributes which require characterization assays
  • Evaluate and transfer in appropriate research assays and improve their performance
  • Provide technical input to enhance current analytical methods
  • Manage a Research Associate
  • Work closely with the PD group to understand their priorities for assay development
  • Write protocols and development reports, and contribute to relevant chemistry-manufacturing-control (CMC) regulatory filings
  • Tech transfer assays to in-house and contract manufacturing organization (CMO) QC groups
  • As needed, support specification setting, qualification, and validation of assays
  • Present scientific results in team and company meetings, and at scientific conferences
  • Demonstrate a high level of initiative in troubleshooting experiments and accurate data analysis
  • Participate in cross-functional collaborations to meet project timelines
  • Communicate data to senior staff and team members



  • Must have extensive genomics experience to support gene-edited cell-based assay development, particularly with assays to measure editing efficiency, on- and off-target sites, and translocations
  • Experience in molecular biology (e.g. ddPCR, qPCR, TIDE, NGS, FISH)
  • Ability to think and plan strategically
  • Highly motivated and organized, with strong problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Embodies the Nkarta culture of empowerment, diversity, and inclusion.



  • Familiarity with FDA, ICH and GMP guidelines, particularly gene therapy regulations and guidances
  • Experience with gene and cell therapy products, particularly CAR-NK and CAR-T cells
  • Familiarity with Quality Control or regulated environments


Education / Background

A PhD or equivalent in Virology, Immunology, Cell Biology, or related field with 4+ years of assay development experience in biotech


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.

Working at Nkarta Inc.

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



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