Billionaire's Conkwest Aims for $172.5 Million IPO, While Neos Therapeutics Asks for $69 Million

Published: Jun 22, 2015

Billionaire's Conkwest Aims for $172.5 Million IPO, While Neo Asks for $69 Million
June 22, 2015
By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

It’s going to be a busy week for IPO news, after two more life science companies said Monday they were throwing their hats in the ring for public debuts, including a startup helmed by the world’s richest doctor, and a late-stage biotech dedicated to treating ADHD.

The first, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif.-based Conkwest, is majority owned by Patrick Soon-Shiong, dubbed the world’s richest doctor by Forbes. It said in an S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Friday that it will seek a whopping $172.5 million to go public in a bid to bankroll its CAR-T therapies in mid-stage trials.

Soon-Shiong's currently owns controls 62 percent of Conkwest—which means that if the startup gets a fully subscribed IPO, Soon-Shiong could get a $106.95 million payday. Citigroup, Jefferies and Co., Piper Jaffray and BofA Merrill Lynch will act as joint bookrunners on the deal.

The second is much smaller Grand Prairie, TX-based Neos Therapeutics, which is asking for what in comparison seems a modest $69 million to advance its late-stage trials of approved therapies to treat attention deficit disorder. Founded in 1994, Neos is now apparently ready to make a run at the public markets, and has enlisted UBS Investment Bank, BMO Capital Markets and RBC Capital Markets. No specific pricing terms were disclosed.

As for Conkwest, it joins a stable of firms Soon-Shiong is hoping will pay out big in the immuno-oncology space. His constellation of companies exist under one umbrella network, NantWorks, which has already snapped up promising cancer treatment Cynviloq by buying a subsidiary of Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. for more than $1.3 billion.

That deal will give Sorrento $90 million in an upfront cash payment plus the potential for more than $600 million in regulatory and $600 million in sales milestone payments. The statement said NantWorks plans to use the drug in multiple cancer indications as part of its buyout of Igdrasol, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sorrento.

Patrick Soon-Shiong is also the former founder of Abraxis and American Pharmaceutical Partners, which he sold for a combined $9.1 billion, and the inventor of the drug Abraxane, for use against pancreatic cancer.

Earlier this spring, Culver City, Calif.-based NantBioscience, Inc., a division of NantWorks, Soon-Shiong’s umbrella company, reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it had received another $100 million into funding from NantWorks.

So far, NantBioScience has received almost $200 million in funding since its founding in 2013. Further breakdown includes $300 million to NantHealth, $10 million to NantOmics and $80 million to NantMobile.

As Rumors Swirl About GlaxoSmithKline Bid, Who Could Suitors Be?
Rumors are swirling that Swiss-based Roche and U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson are eying the U.K. company for approximately $143 billion. But Roche and J&J aren’t the only companies though who have been thought could go after the elephant that is Glaxo.

Last month there was buzz that Pfizer Inc. was considering acquiring Glaxo, a year after it failed to acquire AstraZeneca PLC . Just this month over a third of respondents in a poll conducted by BioSpace believe that AstraZeneca PLC could be in the running to acquire struggling GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

So BioSpace wants to ask our readers again what they predict for this new dealmaking bonanza. Will Glaxo go—and if so, to whom?

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