Nkarta Therapeutics Announces Appointment of Matthew Plunkett, Ph.D., as Chief Financial Officer

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Dec. 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Nkarta Therapeutics, a privately-held cell therapy company developing engineered Natural Killer (NK) immune cells to fight cancer, today announced that Matthew Plunkett, Ph.D., has joined as senior vice president and chief financial officer. Dr. Plunkett joins Nkarta with a long and distinguished career in the industry, encompassing extensive executive management experience and tenure as a life science investment banker.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Matt, and I believe his vast experience in public and private companies at various stages of maturity, including development and commercialization, will be quite beneficial as we grow and advance Nkarta,” said Paul Hastings, president and chief executive officer of Nkarta. “He is a valuable addition to the management team, and we look forward to his contributions as we continue to execute on our vision of bringing next generation cell therapies to patients in need.”

Dr. Plunkett added, “I’m excited to join Nkarta at such an important inflection period for the company. Cell therapy is proving to be an effective alternative in oncology, and I believe Nkarta’s allogeneic natural killer cell technology represents a transformative next generation approach in the field. I look forward to helping the company achieve its vision and mission.”

Dr. Plunkett was most recently chief financial and business officer of Medeor Therapeutics, a development stage cell therapy company, where he led the completion of a $57 million Series B financing. Prior to Medeor, from September 2012 to August 2017 he held positions as chief business officer and executive vice president, Corporate Development at CTI BioPharma, a commercial stage hematology-oncology biotech company. He was chief financial officer of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine from November 2011 to August 2012. Dr. Plunkett was the vice president and chief financial officer of iPierian, Inc. from July 2009 to April 2011. From December 2000 to July 2009, Dr. Plunkett held positions at Oppenheimer & Co. and its U.S. predecessor, CIBC World Markets Corp., including serving as managing director, head of West Coast Biotechnology from December 2008 to July 2009, and executive director, head of West Coast Biotechnology from January 2008 to December 2008. Dr. Plunkett received his B.S. in chemistry from Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

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 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.


Nadir Mahmood

Sylvia Wheeler