9. Nkarta


9. Nkarta
Deal size: $252 million
Valuation: $584 million
Share price: $18.00
Shares sold: 16,100,000

After getting off a major $114 million series B round in 2019, Nkarta didn’t want to hang around, and it jumped on a $252 million upsized IPO in July. It's looking to expand into the clinic with its off-the-shelf natural killer (NK) cancer therapies.

Last year, the company dosed its first patient in the phase 1 trial of its leading asset, NKX101, a first-in-class investigational NK cell cancer immunotherapy engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting NKG2D ligand in certain blood cancers. Nkarta believes using NK cells could clear the hurdles that have limited the success of CAR-T therapies in blood cancers.


From natural killer cells to off-the-shelf CAR-Ts, biopharma targets cancer with next-gen cell therapies

It could also cut down on nasty side effects of CAR-T, such as cytokine release syndrome, which happens when the CAR-T cells activate the immune system too strongly.

What will 2021 bring? In the first quarter, Nkarta expects to file an IND for its second asset, NKX019, an investigational NK cell therapy engineered to target tumors expressing CD19 antigen for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.

9. Nkarta