CULVER CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
NantKwest Inc. (Nasdaq:NK), a pioneering, next generation, clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the unique power of our immune system using natural killer (NK) cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases, announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program under which the company may repurchase up to $50 million of its outstanding common stock.
"Our management team and Board of Directors strongly believe that NantKwest's growth prospects and long-term strategy are not reflected in the company's current stock price," said Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, NantKwest's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "The stock repurchase program that was announced today demonstrates our confidence in the strength of our business, our strong conviction in our long-term growth prospects and our commitment to delivering shareholder value."
The stock purchases may be made from time to time in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions, in compliance with applicable state and federal securities laws. The timing and amounts of any purchases will be based on market conditions and other factors, including price, regulatory requirements and other corporate considerations, as determined by NantKwest's management team. The program does not require the purchase of any minimum number of shares and may be suspended, modified or discontinued at any time without prior notice. NantKwest expects to finance the purchases with existing cash balances.
About NantKwest Inc.
NantKwest (Nasdaq:NK) is a pioneering, next generation, clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the unique power of our immune system using natural killer (NK) cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases. NK cells are the body's first line of defense due to the innate ability of NK cells to rapidly identify and destroy cells under stress, such as cancer or virally-infected cells.
NantKwest's unique NK cell-based platform, with the capacity to grow active killer cells as a biological cancer therapy, has been designed to induce cell death against cancer or infected cells by three different modes of action: (1) Direct killing using activated NK cells (aNK) that release toxic granules directly into the cell through cell to cell contact, (2) Antibody-mediated killing using haNKs, which are NK cells engineered to incorporate a high affinity receptor that binds to an administered antibody, enhancing the cancer cell killing effect of that antibody, and (3) Targeted activated killing using taNKs, which are NK cells engineered to incorporate chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to target tumor-specific antigens found on the surface of cancer cells.
The aNK, haNK and taNK platform addresses certain limitations of T cell therapies including the reduction of risk of serious "cytokine storms" reported after T cell therapy. As an "off-the-shelf" therapy, NantKwest's NK cells do not rely on a patient's own often compromised immune system. In Phase 1 clinical trials in patients with late stage cancer, NantKwest's NK cells have been successfully administered as an outpatient infusion therapy without any reported severe side effects, even at doses of 10 billion cells.
By leveraging an integrated and extensive genomics and transcriptomics discovery and development engine, together with a pipeline of multiple, clinical-stage, immuno-oncology programs that include a Phase 2 trial for a rare form of melanoma and the planned initiation of a clinical trial of NK cells targeted to breast cancer, we believe NantKwest is uniquely positioned to be the premier immunotherapy company and transform medicine by delivering living drugs in a bag and bringing novel NK cell-based therapies to routine clinical care. For more information please visit http://www.nantkwest.com and follow Dr. Soon-Shiong on Twitter @solvehealthcare.