NantKwest Names Sonja Nelson Chief Financial Officer

Jun 19, 2018

Culver City, California, June 19, 2018NantKwest, Inc. (Nasdaq: NK) today announced the elevation of Sonja Nelson, chief accounting officer for the company, to the role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Sonja Nelson NantKwest Chief Financial Officer

Nelson, who first joined NantKwest in 2015, as the top financial officer at NantKwest, a clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the power of the innate immune system by using natural killer cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases. Nelson succeeds Rich Tajak, who had served as the company’s CFO since January 2016.

“Sonja brings a bright mind and a fresh perspective to this post with NantKwest,” said Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman and CEO of NantKwest. “I’m excited to have her elevated to this leadership role and look forward to working closely with her.”

Prior to joining NantKwest in 2015, Mrs. Nelson served as Vice President & Corporate Controller at AltheaDx, Inc. from 2014  and as Senior Director & Controller at Cadence Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (former NASDAQ: CADX) from 2012 to 2014.

Mrs. Nelson also served as Director, General Accounting at Cricket Communications, Inc. (former NASDAQ: LEAP), a $3 billion wireless services provider, between 2008 and 2012. She started her career at KPMG and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and taxation from the University of Applied Sciences in Pforzheim, Germany. She is also a Certified Public Accountant.

About NantKwest Inc.

NantKwest (Nasdaq:NK) is a pioneering, next generation, clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the unique power of our immune system using natural killer (NK) cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases. NK cells are the body’s first line of defense due to the innate ability of NK cells to rapidly identify and destroy cells under stress, such as cancer or virally-infected cells.

NantKwest’s unique NK cell-based platform, with the capacity to grow active killer cells as a biological cancer therapy, has been designed to induce cell death against cancer or infected cells by three different modes of action: (1) Direct killing using activated NK cells (aNK) that release toxic granules directly into the cell through cell to cell contact, (2) Antibody-mediated killing using haNKs, which are NK cells engineered to incorporate a high affinity receptor that binds to an administered antibody, enhancing the cancer cell killing effect of that antibody, and (3) Targeted activated killing using taNKs, which are NK cells engineered to incorporate chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to target tumor-specific antigens found on the surface of cancer cells.

Our aNK, haNK and taNK platform addresses certain limitations of T cell therapies including the reduction of risk of serious “cytokine storms” reported after T cell therapy. As an “off-the-shelf” therapy, NantKwest’s NK cells do not rely on a patient’s own often compromised immune system. In Phase 1 clinical trials in patients with late stage cancer, NantKwest’s NK cells have been successfully administered as an outpatient infusion therapy without any reported severe side effects, even at doses of 10 billion cells.

By leveraging an integrated and extensive genomics and transcriptomics discovery and development engine, together with a pipeline of multiple, clinical-stage, immuno-oncology programs that include a Phase 2 trial for a rare form of melanoma and the planned initiation of a clinical trial of NK cells targeted to breast cancer, we believe NantKwest is uniquely positioned to be the premier immunotherapy company and transform medicine by delivering living drugs in a bag and bringing novel NK cell-based therapies to routine clinical care.  For more information please visit and follow Dr. Soon-Shiong on Twitter@DrPatSoonShiong.

Jen Hodson

CJ Jackson

Contact us at


How Can ImmunityBio Help You?

Solutions for Patients

Many cancer therapies, including radiation therapy, chemotherapy, CAR-T therapy, and B-cell immunotherapy, severely weaken the immune system—the human body’s most important natural disease-fighting weapon. But ImmunityBio creates targeted, personalized immunotherapies that are designed to strengthen the immune system and enable it to outsmart your disease.

Opportunities for Trial Investigators

The broad therapeutic potential and demonstrated safety of ImmunityBio’s immune-enhancing IL-15 superagonist Anktiva (N-803), engineered NK-92® cell-based therapies, and our next-generation adenovirus-vectored anti-cancer vaccines make them appealing therapeutics for testing by trial investigators who want to make a contribution to clinical cancer research. Interested clinicians and other are encouraged to contact ImmunityBio to find out how they may support discovery of future cancer treatments.

Tools for Research Scientists

Our NK-92® easy-to-maintain and highly cytotoxic natural killer cell line provides a versatile bioanalytical testing tool that can help researchers develop functional killing assays that are more consistent and reliable than donor blood and reporter gene assays.

ImmunityBio is continuously pursuing new immunotherapies designed to attack disease by enhancing the patient’s immune system, not weakening it.