Billionaire Biotech Entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong To Take New Cancer Company Public
Billionaire biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong has his eyes set on taking his newly formed oncology-focused Nant public this year. The former surgeon has hired bankers and financial advisors, including Credit Suisse, to help with the endeavor, Reuters reported.
Nant will focus on developing experimental cancer treatments. In an interview with Reuters Soon-Shiong said the fledgling company will use the proceeds from the initial public offering to develop the company’s pipeline. The new company’s pipeline will include Ganitumab, a drug licensed from Amgen several years ago after that company shelved the drug in 2012 following poor results in their own research.
Ganitumab was initially licensed by another of Soon-Shiong’s companies, NantCell. Reuters noted that Ganitumab, formerly known as AMG-479, is currently in late-stage development. Ganitumab is a fully human monoclonal antibody that targets Type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R), a potential target for cancer therapy.
Nant also has a second late-stage drug, N-803. Reuters reported that N-803 targets a protein that activates immune system cells. N-803 is being developed for bladder cancer.
In his interview with Reuters, Soon-Shiong noted that a multi-drug regimen is the key to achieving long-term remission in cancer patients. He told the wire services that the tumor is “too smart” and only attacking a small piece of it will not achieve the necessary results. He said the “entire tumor system” needs to be attacked by physicians. That’s something the entrepreneur has said before. Several years ago Soon-Shiong, dubbed the world’s richest doctor, said the future of cancer care will involve “combination therapy with low dose, metronomic use of multiple chemotherapeutic agents, but combined also with immuno-oncology molecules, or with engineered killer cells targeted at the proteomic profile of the specific tumor, regardless of the anatomical type.”
While Soon-Shiong is looking to launch another company in his NantWorks network, the company has faced a number of scandals over the past year. In October the iconic singer Cher sued Soon-Shiong alleging that he “duped” her into selling shares of Florida-based Altor BioScience at a below-market cost. In June Soon-Shiong’s NantCell, Inc., a member of his NantWorks family, acquired Altor for $290 million, about $2 per share. In her lawsuit, Cher contends that the company did not tell her, along with other investors, that some of the company’s drugs were showing clinical promise in treating AIDS and HIV. Soon-Shiong’s acquisition of Altor came a month after Altor announced it received Fast Track Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its investigational interleukin-15 agonist complex, ALT-803, in combination with bacillus Calmette-Guérin for the treatment of patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.
The acquisition of Altor is not the only criticism that Soon-Shiong faced last year. The billionaire doctor has faced allegations a charitable donation he provided the University of Utah was self-dealing in order to benefit one of his companies. According to reports, Soon-Shiong’s $12 million donation to the university was written so that his company, NantHealth Inc., received $10 million in order to conduct the research, as well as “reams of patient data” that allowed the company to inflate numbers provided to investors regarding its GPS Cancer product. Soon-Shiong has decried that report.