World's Richest Doctor Banks Another $100 Million for Cancer-Focused Startup NantBioscience

World's Richest Doctor Banks Another $100 Million for Cancer-Focused Startup NantBioScience
May 13, 2015
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Culver City, Calif.-based NantBioscience, Inc., a division of NantWorks, Patrick 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.

NantBioScience works to develop molecularly-targeted drugs based on a genetic and molecular profile of the patient’s tumor. The founder and director is Patrick Soon-Shiong, dubbed “the world’s richest doctor” by Forbes magazine. His umbrella company, NantWorks, is attempting to connect and integrate all the information regarding a patient and combine it with genetic information in a way that has never been done before. Soon-Shiong founded two companies, Abraxis and American Pharmaceutical Partners, which he sold for a combined $9.1 billion. He also invented the drug Abraxane, for use against pancreatic cancer.

Speaking last week at the American Telemedicine Association conference, Soon-Shiong referred to NantHealth as the “Google Inc. of genome mapping.” The company’s Clinical Operation System, which launched in February 2014 with $1 billion in funding, will allow users to browse and search an entire genome on a mobile device through the cloud. The goal, said Soon-Shiong, was to reach the “nirvana of coordinated delivery of care.”

In September 2014, the University of Colorado announced a research collaboration and exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with NantBioScience to develop and commercialize cancer drugs that target the Ral protein. The Ral protein is a signaling molecule that is involved in the growth and metastasis of cancer.

NantBioScience’s developmental program focuses on therapeutics to treat cancer by interfering with cancer communication messaging.

NantBioScience is committed to the discovery and development of cancer fighting therapies that target the key drivers and root causes of tumor growth and spread,” said Shahrooz Rabizadeh, chief scientific officer of NantBioScience in a statement. “Targeting the Ral protein expands our ongoing efforts to silence a key pathway, the RAS pathway, that has been found to be altered and constitutively activated in one out of three cancers.”

On Jan. 13, 2014, NantBioScience announced a strategic collaboration with Celgene Corporation . Under that deal, Celgene paid $75 million to NantBioScience as an upfront fee and equity investment.

NantBioScience would build on its nanoparticle albumin-bound (nab) technology platform to develop a pipeline of nab-based molecules. Celgene will license two candidates to NantBioScience that had previously received Investigational New Drug (IND) approval.

The first candidate was NTB-011, a nab formulation that appears to disrupt vascular development in cancer cells. The second, 17-AAG, is an HSP90 inhibitor, which is being studied in hematological and solid tumors.

Soon-Shiong, not given to understatement, said in of the collaboration, “We intend to make obsolete the standard method of clinical trial design of ‘trial and error’ and replace it with a level of quantitative predictability based on both the genomic and proteomic profile performed a priori. We also intend to make obsolete the common understanding that cancer treatments, developed under the age old dogma of ‘maximum tolerated dose,’ may work but only by wreaking terrible side effects, bringing patients to the brink of death.”

No details have been provided as to what the additional $100 million will be used for. Representatives of NantHealth and NantBioScience did not respond to information requests prior to this article’s deadline.

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