Nkarta Therapeutics, a South San Francisco, Calif.–based biopharmaceutical company developing engineered natural killer (NK) cell therapies to fight cancer, closed a $114m Series B financing.
The round was led by new investor Samsara BioCapital, with participation from new investors Amgen Ventures, Deerfield Management, Life Science Partners, Logos Capital and RA Capital Management, and existing investors NEA, Novo Holdings A/S, and SR One. In conjunction with the financing, Mike Dybbs, Ph.D., partner at Samsara, and Fouad Azzam, Ph.D., general partner at LSP, have joined the company’s board of directors.
The company intends to use the funds for two clinical trial programs of NKX101, its allogenic NK cell therapy targeting NKG2D, in patients with either hematologic malignancies or solid tumors, as well as IND-enabling studies and clinical trials of its CAR-NK program targeting CD19 in B-cell malignancies. Nkarta is also developing additional product candidates based upon its broad NK cell engineering platform. Finally, in 2020, the company expects to complete a GMP manufacturing facility in South San Francisco to supply investigational product for its early-stage clinical trials.
Founded in 2015 by Paul Hastings, president and CEO, Nkarta Therapeutics leverages proprietary, and well characterized Natural Killer (NK) cell expansion technology pioneered by Dr. Dario Campana to identify and kill abnormal cells and recruit adaptive immune effectors to generate responses that are specific and durable. The company is combining its technology with proprietary cell engineering technologies to generate an abundant supply of NK cells, engineer enhanced NK cell recognition of tumor targets, and improve persistence for sustained activity in the body for the treatment of cancer.