Nkarta Therapeutics Appoints Two New Independent Directors
Industry Veterans Laura Shawver, Ph.D. and Leone Patterson Strengthen Board’s Biopharma Leadership
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – April 27, 2020 – Nkarta, Inc. (Nkarta), a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing engineered natural killer (NK) cell therapies to treat cancer, announced today the appointments of Laura K. Shawver, Ph.D. and Leone Patterson to its Board of Directors.
“With these two appointments, we further enhance Nkarta’s already strong, diverse Board with significant biopharma industry expertise, additional drug development talent and financial acumen,” said Paul J. Hastings, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nkarta. “Laura’s distinguished leadership record along with her extensive drug development background make her uniquely qualified to help guide our mission to discover and develop off-the-shelf NK cell therapies. Leone brings substantial leadership experience in gene therapy, biopharma operations and financial oversight to our organization. We are extremely pleased to welcome them both to our Board and look forward to their contributions.”
About Laura K. Shawver, Ph.D.
Laura K. Shawver, Ph.D. is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Silverback Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company advancing a pipeline of therapies that are systemically delivered, but locally active and target fundamental disease pathways in cancer, fibrosis and virology. Previously she served as President, CEO and Director of Synthorx, Inc. until its acquisition by Sanofi in January 2020 for $2.5 billion. Prior to Synthorx, Dr. Shawver held positions as CEO and Director of Cleave Biosciences; Entrepreneur in Residence for 5AM Ventures; CEO and Director of Phenomix Corporation; and President of SUGEN Inc. She serves on the Board of Directors of Relay Therapeutics and Cleave Therapeutics, where she is Chair. A committed patient advocate, Dr. Shawver is the founder of The Clearity Foundation, a nonprofit organization helping women with ovarian cancer to improve their treatment options and serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stand Up To Cancer. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology and a B.S. degree in Microbiology, both from the University of Iowa.
“Nkarta’s NK cell platform is an elegant and robust approach to the development of allogeneic cell therapy,” said Dr. Shawver. “I’ve seen first-hand the potential of engineered immune-stimulatory cytokines to achieve breakthrough cancer therapies and believe engineered NK cells can follow suit. It’s an honor to be joining this outstanding team as we shape a company focused on delivering groundbreaking treatments for cancer patients.”
About Leone Patterson
Leone Patterson is President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Adverum Biotechnologies, Inc., a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on ocular and rare diseases. Prior to Adverum, Ms. Patterson served as the Chief Financial Officer of Diadexus, Inc. Earlier, Ms. Patterson was Vice President and CFO of Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. until its acquisition by Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In addition, she served in financial leadership roles at NetApp, Inc., Exelixis, Inc., Novartis AG and Chiron. Ms. Patterson earned a B.S. in Business Administration and Accounting from Chapman University and an Executive M.B.A. from St. Mary’s College. Ms. Patterson is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive status).
“It is a particularly exciting time to be joining Nkarta as the company works to advance the development and scaled manufacturing of multiple candidate NK cell therapies,” said Ms. Patterson. “I look forward to supporting the team on its commitment to deliver next generation cell therapies with the potential for improved safety, efficacy, speed and value.”
With these two appointments, the Nkarta Board of Directors increased from seven to nine members. On joining the Board, Ms. Patterson becomes Chair of the Audit Committee of Nkarta’s Board.
Nkarta, Inc. focuses on combining its NK expansion and cryopreservation platform 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. Nkarta’s mission is to discover, develop and deliver novel off-the-shelf NK cell therapy product candidates that have a profound impact on patients. Founded in 2015, the company’s investors include Amgen Ventures, Deerfield Management, LSP, Logos Capital, NEA, Novo Holdings A/S, RA Capital Management, Samsara BioCapital and SR One. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.nkartatx.com.