RARE Daily

Nkarta Raises $200 Million in Public Offering to Advance NK Cell Therapy Pipeline

April 26, 2022

Nkarta, a company developing allogeneic engineered natural killer cell therapies to treat hematological cancers, priced an underwritten public offering of 13.3 million shares of its common stock at $15.00 per share to raise $200 million.

The company also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 2 million additional shares at the public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions.

Nkarta priced the offering one day after reporting positive preliminary phase 1 clinical data for its two lead programs that sent shares up 50 percent on the news.

Nkarta intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to fund the continued clinical development of lead candidates NKX101 and NKX019, preclinical studies for research stage programs and the continued buildout of internal manufacturing capabilities, and for working capital and for general corporate purposes.

The data reported from the first trial, evaluating NKX101 in relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), found that three of five patients with heavily pre-treated AML who received the higher dose level in a three-dose regimen achieved a complete response (60 percent) with hematologic recovery, with two of the three responses MRD (minimal residual disease) negative. There is currently no standard of care for these patients.

The data reported from the second trial, evaluating NKX019, in relapsed/refractory B cell malignancies, found that three of six patients treated at the higher dose level in a three-dose regimen showed a complete response (50 percent), including one patient with aggressive diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and one patient with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). In both trials, no dose limiting toxicity was observed and there were no CAR T like adverse events of any grade.

“We’re excited to see our CAR NK co-lead candidates, NKX101 and NKX019, show such striking early single-agent activity in heavily pretreated patient populations, with an exceptional safety profile without the side effects associated with CAR T cell therapies,” said Paul Hastings, president and CEO of Nkarta. “These encouraging data across multiple indications further validate Nkarta’s best-in-class NK cell platform, as we seek to transform cancer treatment by bringing together the safety advantages of NK cells with an off-the-shelf modality designed to make the benefits of cell therapy accessible in a community setting.”

Nkarta said it continues to enroll patients in three-dose regimens of 1.5 billion NK cells per dose in the dose finding portions of the NKX101 and NKX019 trials. Data from both programs, including additional follow-up and updates on the higher dose cohorts, will be submitted for presentation at a future medical meeting.

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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