Billionaire entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong's NantCell raised $57.3 million in equity to fund its work on treatments that use the immune system to fight cancer, becoming one of the most well-funded companies in its founder's constellation of biotech endeavors.
The round, which sold shares to 125 investors, follows a $100 million fundraise disclosed in September and a $75 million equity sale over the summer. Like most of Soon-Shiong's many biotech ventures, NantCell has provided little detail on its specific goals, and the company didn't respond to a request for comment Monday.
Launched early last year, NantCell is an arm of Soon-Shiong's NantWorks umbrella that is developing immuno-oncology therapies. The company's first move was paying an undisclosed sum for the rights to Amgen's ($AMGN) ganitumab, a once-failed antibody that NantCell believes can be repurposed against cancer. In March, the company widened its pipeline by trading $110 million in cash and equity for the rights to some immunotherapies from Sorrento Therapeutics ($SRNE), a frequent Soon-Shiong collaborator. And it has remained quiet ever since.
NantCell, one of about a dozen under the NantWorks name, does business alongside NantiBody, a joint venture with Sorrento; NantPharma, at work on a next-generation version of Celgene's ($CELG) Abraxane; NantBioScience, developing nanoparticle cancer treatments; NantKwest ($NK), an immuno-oncology company that raised more than $200 million in a July IPO; and NantHealth, a tech firm offering what Soon-Shiong calls "the Google of genome mapping."
Meanwhile, Soon-Shiong has remained in the spotlight, uniting more than 120 leaders from industry and academia this month in what he's calling the National Immunotherapy Coalition, an effort to accelerate the development of combination oncology treatments and better integrate gene sequencing in cancer R&D.
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