NantKwest, Inc. (formerly known as Conkwest, Inc.), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the power of the innate immune system by using the natural killer cell to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases, announced on 28th July the pricing of its initial public offering of 8,288,000 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $25.00 per share, subsequently raising $207 million.
Prior to billionaire biotech investor Patrick Soon-Shiong buying in to Conkwest and joining the company as CEO, the company was one of many small companies involved immuno-oncology. Following Dr. Soon-Shiong’s high profile investment and the subsequent renaming of the company in July 2015, NantKwest shattered biotech IPO records with a fully-diluted market cap of $2.6 billion. Subsequent trading has seen the shares rise 39%, valuing the company at $3.67 billion.
Dr. Soon-Shiong has declared interest in purchasing up to $10 million of the offering, whilst major shareholder Celgene will invest $17 million in a concurrent private placement. This follows Celgene’s $1 billion CAR-T immunotherapy deal with Juno Therapeutics, highlighting the increasing level of investment that novel therapeutic and immuno-oncology companies are attracting.
NantKwest believes that it can coordinate an NK (natural killer) cell as well as a T cell attack on cancer, using a PD-L1 antibody. Unlike CAR-T therapies central to competitors such as Juno Therapeutics and Kite Pharma, NantKwest’s activated NK cells don’t have to be extracted from the patient, presenting the company with a unique opportunity to surpass the pioneers and leap to the forefront of novel cancer drug technologies.
The Company develops its aNK product candidates as monotherapies for the treatment of virally-induced cancers, such as HPV, induced cervical cancer, polyomavirus induced Merkel cell carcinoma and head and neck cancer.
All of the shares are being offered by NantKwest. The shares began trading on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on July 28, 2015, under the symbol “NK.” In addition, NantKwest has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,243,200 shares of its common stock.
Concurrently with the initial public offering, NantKwest is also selling 680,000 shares of its common stock in a separate private placement to Celgene Corporation, an existing stockholder, at the initial public offering price of $25.00 per share.
For more information regarding the IPO, please read NantKwest’s full statement.
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