Nkarta Therapeutics Expands Senior Management Team with Key Hires in Finance and Clinical Development
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – December 9, 2019 – Nkarta Therapeutics, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing engineered natural killer (NK) cell therapies to fight cancer, today announced the addition of two key members to its senior management team. Yvonne Li has joined the company as senior vice president, finance and Brian Barnett, M.D., has joined as vice president, clinical development.
“As we prepare to initiate three clinical programs in 2020, now is the time for us to lay the groundwork for our future success,” said Paul J. Hastings, president and CEO of Nkarta Therapeutics. “Yvonne brings organizational acumen, managerial aptitude and technical accounting rigor to Nkarta. The diversity of Brian’s oncology experience and his emphasis on patients is a critical addition to our clinical development team as we look to enroll for three clinical programs in 2020. We welcome them both to the company.”
Ms. Li, who reports to Nkarta’s chief financial officer Matthew Plunkett, Ph.D., is a seasoned finance executive with expertise in equity financing, financial planning and analysis, technical accounting, and internal controls. Over her 12 year career at OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded immuno-oncology company, she held positions of increasing responsibility, most recently leading the finance group as the vice president of finance, principle financial/accounting officer. At OncoMed, she managed all aspects of long-term business planning, and also oversaw the day-to-day accounting operations of the company, including production of financial statements and SEC filings. In addition, she oversaw other functions including HR, facilities and IT. Prior to OncoMed, she served as the director of finance of the Anita Borg Institute, where she managed both accounting and financial planning & analysis. Yvonne received her MBA in Finance from San Francisco State University, and she is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Dr. Barnett, who reports to Nkarta’s chief medical officer Kanya Rajangam, M.D., Ph.D., brings broad oncology expertise and in-depth patient focus to Nkarta, spanning biopharmaceutical product development, medical affairs, academic medicine, and private practice. Most recently, Dr. Barnett was chief executive and chief medical officer of OncBioMune Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company developing immunotherapy product candidates for oncology. Previously, he served at Puma Biotechnology in positions of increasing responsibility, most recently as vice president of medical affairs. Dr. Barnett worked at Genentech in a variety of clinical development and medical affairs roles. Prior to joining industry, Dr. Barnett was a medical oncologist in private practice. He was also an assistant professor, hematology and medical oncology at Tulane University Health Sciences Center. He received his M.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and his B.S. in chemistry from Millsaps College.
Nkarta Therapeutics was founded on the proprietary, robust and well characterized natural killer (NK) cell expansion technology pioneered by Dr. Dario Campana. The company is focused on leveraging the natural potent power of NK cells to identify and kill abnormal cells and recruit adaptive immune effectors to generate responses that are specific and durable. Nkarta is 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.