Process Development Senior Scientist/Engineer, Downstream Viral Vector

Job Locations US-CA-South San Francisco
Process 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 currently offering a unique opportunity for a highly motivated process development senior scientist/process engineer to join our team with downstream development experience in viral production and analytics.


  • Works collaboratively within the Process Development team to develop a robust and scalable process for production of clinical retroviral-based viral vectors with a focus on downstream purification.
  • Evaluates appropriate process technologies.
  • Develops and supports process optimization efforts to increase process robustness, reduce costs, and improve viral yield and purity.
  • Identifies opportunities to improve systems and practices.
  • Designs and executes experiments independently: 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.


  • Extensive experience with the development and production for large-scale viral manufacturing.
    • Ability to identify and test appropriate technologies for downstream purification of viral vectors:
      • Filters, TFF, column chromatography, etc.
      • Understanding of process change effects on CQAs
      • Understanding of phase appropriateness and scale (scale-up) to meet company goals
      • Understanding of final formulation requirements
    • Preferred experience with molecular biology and cell culture.
    • Additional skills for an ideal candidate:
      • Bioreactor process understanding and use in viral manufacturing
      • Adherent and Suspension-based systems
      • Analytics:
        • qPCR
        • Flow Cytometry
        • Particle sizing 
  • Previous experience serving as part of technology transfer teams or process development with external CMOs is strongly desired.
  • 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.


Education / Background

  • MS in biology-related discipline and 4 or more years or PhD in biology-related discipline with 2 or more years of manufacturing industry experience, requiring viral process development experience and biopharmaceutical industry experience.

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


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