ASCO2016: After NantHealth Explodes onto the Market, Patrick Soon-Shiong Prepares for Two More

Published: Jun 06, 2016

ASCO2016: After NantHealth Explodes onto the Market, Patrick Soon-Shiong Prepares for Two More June 6, 2016
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Only a day or two after Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantHealth went public, on June 3, he indicated that he expects two more of his companies to go public soon.

Soon-Shiong, often dubbed “the world’s richest doctor,” has a number of biotech or life science-related business ventures under his umbrella company, NantWorks. He received his MBBCh medical degree at age 23 from the University Witwatersrand, earned a Master of Science at the University of British Columbia, and undertook surgical training at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he was faculty until 1991, and practiced transplant surgery.

In 1991, Soon-Shiong left UCLA and started a biotech firm, which eventually led to APP Pharmaceuticals in 1997, which sold to Fresenius SE for $3.7 billion in 2008. He later founded Abraxis BioScience, which created Abraxane, used to treat breast, lung, pancreatic and other cancers. He sold the company to Celgene in 2010 in a cash-and-stock deal for around $3 billion.

NantHealth was founded in 2007 as a healthcare information system company. The first of his many companies to go public was NantKwest, in July 2015. NantKwest focuses on oncology cell therapies. Although NantKwest’s initial share price rose 39 percent on the day of the IPO, it is currently down 77 percent.

At an interview at the ongoing American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)’s annual meeting held in Chicago, Soon-Shiong gave an interview where he announced he expected two more of his companies, NantBiosciences and NantOmics, would go public, although he did not offer a timeline.

The latest new company, NantHealth, offers a cancer screening test, GPS Cancer. That test was developed and run by NantOmics, which licensed the technology to NantHealth. Soon-Shiong also indicates that NantOmics will utilize GPS Cancer to help NantBiosciences create a personalized cancer vaccine.

GPS Cancer is also a key element of Soon-Shiong’s The Cancer Moonshot 2020 project. He organized a coalition of companies, academics, payers and oncologists to launch The National Immunotherapy Coalition (NIC) and the MoonShot. The plan is to develop and test therapies for various forms of cancers. Both NantWorks and NantKwest are part of the coalition, as well as Celgene , Amgen , Merck KgaA , and others.

There are approximately nine companies that are part of NantWorks. Soon-Shiong has dabbled in other areas as well. He is part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and has invested $70.5 million in Tribune Publishing, which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.

On May 17, NantKwest provided an update on several of its clinical programs at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2016 Health Care Conference held in Las Vegas. Those programs include aNK, haNK and taNK.

aNK is a Phase II trial in Merkel cell carcinoma. HER2.taNK is a Phase I/II trial in glioblastoma and breast cancer. haNK is a Phase I/II trial in breast cancer in combination with Herceptin (trastuzumab). There are also trials ongoing in breast cancer with trastuzumab and a vaccine, in gastric cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and in bladder cancer.

“The complex biology of cancer requires a similarly complex war against cancer that will require combination immunotherapy,” Soon-Shiong said in a statement in May. “We believe NantKwest’s novel, off-the-shelf natural killer cell therapy represents a critical backbone that enables the up regulation of both the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system to begin to successfully fight the war against cancer.”

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