Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., biotech entrepreneur, richest physician in the world according to Forbes, and member of the Buffett-Gates Giving Pledge, has inked a multifaceted agreement with Sorrento Therapeutics to jointly develop immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and auto-immune diseases.

NantWorks, Dr. Soon-Shiong’s umbrella company, and Sorrento intend to establish the first joint venture—The Immunotherapy Antibody JV—as an independent biotechnology company with $20 million in initial joint funding.

The Immunotherapy Antibody JV will focus on accelerating the development of multiple immuno-oncology monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for the treatment of cancer, including anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1, anti-CTLA4 mAbs, and other immune-check point antibodies as well as antibody drug conjugates and bispecific antibodies.

In addition, Dr. Soon-Shiong's organization will acquire a 19.9% equity stake in Sorrento by purchasing common stock priced at $5.80 per share, Sorrento's closing sale price on Friday, December 12, 2014.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with Dr. Patrick-Soon Shiong and NantWorks. The investment into Sorrento and future formation of the JV with NantWorks further validate our G-MAB antibody technology and underscore Sorrento's commitment to seeking strategic alliances in bringing its diverse portfolio of fully human monoclonal antibodies, ADCs, and bispecific antibodies into the clinic,” Henry Ji, president and CEO of Sorrento, said in a statement. “

“Combining NantWorks' cutting edge expertise in genomic and molecular profiling of cancer patients and Sorrento's industry-leading G-MAB antibody technology, we believe will enable us to develop multiple novel therapies for malignant disorders where there is currently a significant unmet need. Through this partnership, it is our goal to provide relief for millions of people who today have limited treatment options. This will be a model relationship aligned to accelerate development and production of novel cancer immunotherapies,” explained Dr. Soon-Shiong, CEO and founder of NantWorks.

Dr. Soon-Shiong founded Abraxis (sold in 2010 for $2.9 billion) and American Pharmaceutical Partners, which was sold to Fresenius for $5.6 billion in July 2008.

In October, Dr. Soon-Shiong, through his Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Molecular Medicine (CSSIOMM), and the University of Oxford partnered to establish the Chan Soon-Shiong Oxford Center for Molecular Medicine to support the delivery of individualized data-driven molecular-based medicine to cancer patients. CSSIOMM has invested $50 million into this venture to advance clinical cancer care in the U.K.

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