Scientist/Associate Scientist, Analytical Development at Nkarta Therapeutics
South San Francisco, CA, US

About Us

Nkarta is a publicly traded (Nasdaq symbol NKTX), South San Francisco headquartered, clinical-stage biotechnology company advancing the development of allogeneic, off-the-shelf natural killer (NK) cell therapies for cancer patients. By combining its cell expansion and cryopreservation platform with proprietary cell engineering technologies and CRISPR-based genome engineering capabilities, Nkarta is building a pipeline of future cell therapies engineered for deep anti-tumor activity and intended for broad access in the outpatient treatment setting.


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 NKX101 NKX019 are in process. 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 manufacturing facility on-site at our primary corporate location in South San Francisco, California. In-house manufacturing of NKX019 commenced in 2021, and NKX101 in-house manufacturing is planned to begin 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 Associate Scientist/Scientist to join the Analytical Development (AD) team in implementing various assays to characterize and release test Nkarta’s viral vector and CAR-NK platforms. The Associate Scientist/Scientist will work closely with the Process Development and QC groups using the analytical capability to continue support for Nkarta’s products.


  • Identify critical quality attributes (CQA) for which controlled assays
  • Develop, execute, analyze, and document of analytical methods for vector and CAR-NK potency and stability assessment or lot release
  • Collaborate on developing other assays for safety, identity, purity, and characterization.
  • Collect data from analytical assays and perform data analysis, as needed, including troubleshooting and conducting trending of analytical performance.
  • Provide technical input to enhance current analytical methods
  • Create, compile, and review technical and regulatory documents, including, but not limited to, analytical study data summaries and reports, analytical method development reports, method qualification/validation protocols and reports, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Maintain accurate and complete records for all results
  • Maintain stock of critical reagents and provide general lab support
  • Support analytical assay development, using flow cytometry, ELISA, qPCR/ddPCR, etc.
  • Tech transfer selected assays to in-house and CMO QC groups
  • As needed, support specification setting, qualification, and validation of assays
  • Present results at team and company meetings
  • Participate in cross-functional collaborations to meet project timelines



  • Extensive hands-on experience and technical expertise with the following assays:
    • Transduction and potency assays for viral vector (MSD, SpectraMax, qPCR, ddPCR)
    • Viral titer assays (qPCR, ddPCR, flow cytometry)
    • Potency assays for CAR-NK (cytotoxicity, cytokine secretion, reporter assays)
  • Ability to work independently, multitask, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Highly motivated, organized, and disciplined record keeping; strong attention to detail.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Proficiency in MS Office, JMP, GraphPad, Softmax Pro, or equivalent.
  • In-depth knowledge of developing and executing assays for use in QC is a plus.
  • Embodies the Nkarta culture of empowerment, diversity, and inclusion.



  • Experience in cell culture (both primary and cell lines)
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of analytical method qualifications and technical transfer.
  • Understanding of and experience with ICH and FDA cell and gene therapy regulations and guidance.
  • Familiarity with Quality Control or regulated environments


Education / Background

  • Bachelor or MS or Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology, Immunology, Cell Biology, or a related field
  • 6+ for BS/MS of relevant experience in the biopharmaceutical or biotechnology industry is a plus.
  • 0-2+ years for Ph.D. (1 – 2 years of relevant experience in the biopharmaceutical or biotechnology industry is a plus, 2+ years of Educational Research Laboratory is required)

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 the 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.


A reasonable estimate of the current salary range for this position is $115,000 - $150,000.  There are several factors taken into consideration in determining base salary, including but not limited to: job-related qualifications, skills, education, and experience, as well as job location and the value of other elements of an employee’s total compensation package.  Nkarta also offers an annual discretionary bonus, equity grant(s), medical, dental, vision and life insurance coverage, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the applicable plans.  Other benefits include 401K plan, flexible spending account, ESPP, employee assistance program, paid vacation, holiday and personal days, paid parental, pregnancy, and bereavement leave.

Working at Nkarta Inc.

The 160+ 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