NantKwest's record-setting IPO heaps another billion onto Soon-Shiong's fortune

Patrick Soon-Shiong

NantKwest ($NK) turned heads on Wall Street last month when it raised more than $200 million in an above-the-range IPO, immediately trading up to command a market value of more than $2 billion. But the biggest beneficiary was Patrick Soon-Shiong, the billionaire entrepreneur who adopted NantKwest into his family of companies months before and amassed a lucrative stake in the process.

As Bloomberg lays out, thanks to some pre-IPO dealing, Soon-Shiong's Cambridge Equities booked a $1.1 billion gain on its investment in NantKwest. The firm acquired a 31% stake in the company, then called Conkwest, for $47 million in late 2014, buying more shares over the next few months until Soon-Shiong's firm controlled 51% of the biotech.

Assuming Cambridge paid a consistent share price in each transaction, Soon-Shiong's firm has turned a roughly $77 million investment into holdings worth more than $1 billion, a nearly 13-fold windfall in less than a year.

NantKwest, like most of Soon-Shiong's biotech ventures, is focused on oncology, developing cell therapies and antibody treatments designed to use the body's natural defenses to attack cancers. The company's lead asset is slated to enter Phase II development this year, followed by a slew of early-stage candidates for various malignancies.

Elsewhere in Soon-Shiong's NantWorks conglomerate, the Big Data-focused NantHealth has eyes on an IPO for itself.

Billed by its founder as "the Google of genome mapping," NantHealth promises to improve cancer diagnostics through a marriage of genomics and high-speed computing. In June, the company struck a deal in which Soon-Shiong invested $100 million in AllScripts Healthcare Solutions, an electronic medical records outfit, in exchange for that company putting $200 million into NantHealth and giving the company a $2 billion valuation. The move sets the stage for a NantHealth IPO "probably within this year," Soon-Shiong said at the time.

- read the Bloomberg story