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SRNE: NantWorks and Sorrento Invest $50 Million into Conkwest and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Appointed as Co-Chairman Of The Board


By Anthony Schwartz, PhD


On December 24th 2014, the Conkwest Corporation announced that Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong entered into an agreement to purchase $48 million in Conkwest’s Class A common stock. Dr. Soon-Shiong is a physician scientist and entrepreneur whom founded NantWorks, an umbrella entity whose mission is to develop an integrated, fact-based, genomically-primed and personalized approach for the diagnosis and treatment of human disease.  Sorrento (NASDAQ:SRNE) has also agreed to purchase an additional $2 million in Class A Common Stock of Conkwest. Dr. Soon-Shiong will also become Co-Chairman of the Board for Conkwest. 

Conkwest specializes in the development of a cancer-killing cell line called Neukoplast (NK-92), which is currently in Phase I human trials. The Neukoplast cell line has demonstrated activity in both pre-clinical and human clinical trials. Sorrento Therapeutics is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel treatments for cancer and cancer-associated pain. It has an extremely diverse pipeline of therapeutic antibodies for PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA-4 and many others for the treatment of cancer.  The collaboration between the three entities aims to combine Sorrento’s antibodies and Conkwest’s Neukoplast cell line along with NantWork’s genetic profiling technology to eradicate tumors and micro-metastases in a manner unlike any currently available treatments. This partnership further strengthens the existing partnership announced last week between Sorrento and NantWorks, which formed a global joint venture to develop the next class of antibodies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. 

Dr. Soon-Shiong, CEO of NantWorks stated, "The collaborations between NantWorks and Sorrento and between Sorrento and Conkwest offer access to state-of-the-art technologies, capabilities and expertise that are synergistic and will enable the accelerated development of many potent and novel cancer immunotherapies. We look forward to contributing to this close and supportive collaboration with the shared goal of providing much-needed treatments for patients suffering from malignant disorders with significant unmet need."


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