Nkarta Therapeutics Appoints Veteran Executive Paul Hastings as CEO to Lead Next Phase of Growth

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., March 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nkarta Therapeutics, a privately-held cell therapy company developing natural killer (NK) immune cells to fight cancer, announced that it has named industry biotech veteran, Paul Hastings, as chief executive officer.  Mr. Hastings has been appointed to build on the company’s significant scientific progress by driving the strategic vision and leading the evolution and maturity of operations to support the next phase of growth.  Mr. Hastings brings more than 30 years of biotech and pharmaceutical experience to the role.

“I am very pleased to welcome Paul as our chief executive officer,” said Dario Campana, M.D., Ph.D., scientific founder of Nkarta.  “We’ve made considerable progress in developing our NK cell technology and believe Paul’s specific experience in leading successful development- and commercial-stage oncology organizations will help propel Nkarta to the next level. We believe our cell therapy technology has great potential and look forward to Paul’s expert leadership to successfully advance Nkarta’s programs and therapeutic candidates.”

Paul Hastings added, “I am excited to join Nkarta, an organization with a strong scientific core based on the pioneering cell therapy discoveries of Dr. Campana.  Expanding on his seminal work on CAR-T technology, Dr. Campana has developed a versatile cell therapy approach with natural killer immune cells.  I look forward to building on Nkarta’s solid foundation to achieve its goal of improving cell therapy and making this cutting-edge technology applicable and available to the many patients in need.”

Most recently, Mr. Hastings was the chairman and chief executive officer of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining OncoMed in 2006, Mr. Hastings served as chief executive officer of QLT, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on ocular disease such as age related macular degeneration.  Before QLT, Mr. Hastings served as president and chief executive officer of Axys Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Celera Corporation in 2001. From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Hastings served as the president of Chiron BioPharmaceuticals, a division of Chiron Corporation. Prior to that, he was president and chief executive officer of LXR Biotechnology. Mr. Hastings also held a series of management positions of increasing responsibility at Genzyme Corporation, including serving as president of Genzyme Therapeutics Europe as well as president, Genzyme Therapeutics. Mr. Hastings also served senior Marketing and Sales positions for Synergen, Inc. and Hoffmann-La Roche. He is currently lead director of Pacira Pharmaceuticals, chairman of the board at Proteon Therapeutics, and serves as vice chairman of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).  Mr. Hastings received a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island.

Nkarta Therapeutics was founded on the proprietary, robust and well characterized natural killer (NK) cell expansion technology pioneered by 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 platform technology with proprietary cell engineering technologies to build differentiated autologous and allogeneic cell therapy candidates for the treatment of cancer.  Founded in 2015, the company’s investors include SR One, NEA and Novo Ventures.  For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.nkartatx.com.


Sylvia Wheeler