Nkarta Announces Key Senior Leadership Team Appointments

  • Ralph Brandenberger, PhD, promoted to Chief Technical Officer
  • Yvonne Li, MBA, promoted to Chief Administrative Officer
  • Evolution of Nkarta leadership team to support rapid development of allogeneic, off-the-shelf NK cell therapies 

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. , July 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Nkarta, Inc. (Nasdaq: NKTX), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing engineered natural killer (NK) cell therapies to treat cancer, today announced the promotions of Ralph Brandenberger, PhD, to Chief Technical Officer and Yvonne Li, MBA, to Chief Administrative Officer.

“Ralph and Yvonne have each distinguished themselves through their exceptional accomplishments, leadership of collaborative teams and valuable cross-functional contributions to Nkarta,” said Paul J. Hastings, President and CEO of Nkarta. “As Nkarta enters its next stage of growth in preparing for potential future commercialization, their continued leadership will be central to scaling and delivering off-the-shell NK cell therapies for patients.”

Dr. Brandenberger oversees technical operations, including process and analytical development, supply chain, manufacturing, and quality for Nkarta’s engineered NK cell therapy candidates. He has more than 20 years of experience in process and analytical development and biopharmaceutical manufacturing with deep experience in end-to-end technical operations and the successful scale-up of complex cell therapy agents. Dr. Brandenberger joined Nkarta in April 2018 and most recently served as Senior Vice President, Technical Operations. Prior to joining Nkarta, he held leadership roles in process development, technical operations and manufacturing of cellular therapeutics at Neurona Therapeutics, Baxter Healthcare, and Geron Corp. Dr. Brandenberger started his scientific career at Celera Genomics. He received his MS in biology and PhD in cell biology from the Biocenter, University of Basel, Switzerland and completed postdoctoral training at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California, San Francisco.

Ms. Li oversees Nkarta’s accounting organization, and associated budgetary and administrative operations, financial and regulatory compliance, and human resources administration. She has nearly 25 years of experience in corporate finance and accounting. Ms. Li joined Nkarta in November 2019 as Senior Vice President, Finance to lead the company’s financial management, treasury, tax, accounting, and SEC reporting operations. Prior to joining Nkarta, she held senior leadership roles in finance, accounting and operations at Amunix and OncoMed. Ms. Li is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She earned her BA from the National Taiwan Normal University and MBA from San Francisco State University.

About Nkarta
Nkarta is a 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. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.nkartatx.com.

Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements
Statements contained in this press release regarding matters that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “potential,” “projects,” “would,” and “future” or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Examples of these forward-looking statements include statements concerning Nkarta’s expectations regarding any or all of the following: the future commercialization of Nkarta’s product candidates; Nkarta’s ability to scale and deliver off-the-shelf NK cell therapies; and the potential impact of changes in Nkarta’s leadership.

Because forward looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among others: Nkarta’s limited operating history and historical losses; Nkarta’s lack of any products approved for sale and its ability to achieve profitability; the risk that the results of preclinical studies and early-stage clinical trials may not be predictive of future results; Nkarta’s ability to raise additional funding to complete the development and any commercialization of its product candidates; Nkarta’s dependence on the success of its co-lead product candidates, NKX101 and NKX019; that Nkarta may be delayed in initiating, enrolling or completing any clinical trials; competition from third parties that are developing products for similar uses; Nkarta’s ability to obtain, maintain and protect its intellectual property; Nkarta’s dependence on third parties in connection with manufacturing, clinical trials, and pre-clinical studies; the complexity of the manufacturing process for CAR NK cell therapies; and risks relating to the impact on Nkarta’s business of the COVID-19 pandemic or similar public health crises.

These and other risks are described more fully in Nkarta’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including the “Risk Factors” section of Nkarta’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, filed with the SEC on May 12, 2022, and Nkarta’s other documents subsequently filed with or furnished to the SEC. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date on which they were made. Except to the extent required by law, Nkarta undertakes no obligation to update such statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made. 

Nkarta Media/Investor Contact
Greg Mann
Nkarta, Inc.

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