Allogeneic Natural Killer Cells Engineered to Beat Cancer

Power of Natural Killer Cells

Cell therapy, a new approach that uses immune cells to attack tumors, has emerged as one of the most promising breakthroughs in cancer treatment. First generation approaches have focused on T-cells, which have shown great promise in hematologic malignancies but are plagued with unwanted side effects and, to date, have not shown similar activity in solid tumors. Nkarta was founded to address these limitations through the application of next generation technologies. NK cells are the body’s first line of defense against viral infections and cancerous cells with an innate ability to rapidly seek and destroy transformed cells. NK cell therapy has the potential to 1) target multiple pathogenic antigens with measurably more efficient cytotoxicity, 2) be better controlled to reduce risk of cytokine storms and 3) be produced from a variety of sources without relying on patient-specific immune cells. Nkarta’s proprietary NK cell therapy platform is designed to maximize the therapeutic effect of allogeneic NK cells through robust expansion, enhanced targeting and extended persistence of these potent immune cells to unleash a powerful and sustained anti-cancer immune-mediated attack.

Nkarta CAR-NKs: engineered to enhance activity


Approved CAR-T Therapies

Allo CAR-T Therapies

NK Cell

Car-NK Cells

Opportunity for Improved Solid Tumor Activity







Low GVHD Risk


Low Risk of CRS or Neurotoxicity



Allogeneic, Off-the-Shelf Manufacturing



Cost of Manufacturing





Nkarta’s platform is designed to generate CAR-NKs engineered to address the limitations of current CAR-T therapies, including safety concerns, tumor targeting, manufacturing time and COGS

Nkarta engineered CAR-NK CELLS

NK cells are the cornerstone of innate immune surveillance

  • Allogeneic cell source that can be scaled for off-the-shelf production
  • Proprietary expansion, persistence, cryopreservation and tumor targeting technologies

CAR-NK cell with highlights of the CAR and mbIL-15 receptors

Targeting receptor, OX40 costimulatory
domain, CD3ζ signaling moiety,
membrane bound IL-15

Nkarta’s off-the-shelf Allogeneic Manufacturing

Manufacturing steps: Collect & Isolate; Activate; Engineer; Expand; Cryopreserve;	Thaw & Administer

1 | Collect & Isolate

NK cells collected from healthy donors by leukapheresis.

2 | Activate

NK cell expansion using proprietary stimulatory cells.

3 | Engineer

Expanded NK cells are transduced to express mbIL-15 and CAR.

4 | Expand

Continued expansion driven by mbIL-15.

5 | Cryopreserve

Harvesting and cryopreservation of final cell product.

6 | Thaw & Administer

NK product candidate is thawed for off-the-shelf administration to patients.

For patients who are affected by cancer, the immune response is not sufficient to address the disease. Nkarta is developing proprietary methods of boosting the immune response through allogeneic, off-the-shelf NK cell-based therapies. The company’s novel and differentiated technology is focused on producing a therapy that overcomes the challenges of the naturally-occurring immune response, which include:

  • Engineering enhanced NK cell recognition of their tumor targets,
  • Generating an abundant supply of allogeneic NK cells,
  • Improving their persistence for sustained activity in the body.

Nkarta’s goal is to offer a versatile and robust approach to cancer therapy that is easily combined with other therapies for allogeneic applications to ultimately improve outcomes for patients.