Mmm..interesting! thanks for sharing.
Looks like Dr Soon is getting his act together. Seems that there is only one other announcement to make the circle complete. In my view, PLI's PPPS and prion reduction technologies hold the keys to making NantPharma's plasma products dream a reality. It's been a long wait but it seems that a new chapter in PLI's corporate life may be opening.
LOS ANGELES & NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--California-based NantWorks, LLC, announced today that leading investment firm Blackstone (NYSE: BX) has invested US$125 million in NantPharma, a NantWorks company whose products include high quality, biologically derived pharmaceuticals. NantPharma operates a number of drug manufacturing and research facilities around the country. In January 2012, it announced the acquisition and redevelopment of a former Pfizer facility in Terre Haute, Indiana, with a commitment to invest $85.5 million to produce critical care injectable and oncological drugs. The new plant is expected to become operational in 2015.
NantWorks and NantPharma Chairman, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, has previously founded two successful pharmaceutical companies addressing the unmet needs of critically ill patients. The injectable drug company he led, APP Pharmaceuticals, was the nation’s only safe source of heparin during the supply crisis in 2008, and his biopharmaceutical company, Abraxis Bioscience, developed the world’s first protein nanotechnology cancer drug transporter for breast cancer and now is in trials for pancreatic and lung cancer. Dr. Soon-Shiong sold these companies in 2008 and 2010, respectively, raising several billion dollars to pursue his vision of personalized medicine.
As part of the deal, Chinh E. Chu and Anjan Mukherjee, Blackstone Senior Managing Directors, and Arthur J. Higgins from Blackstone’s dedicated healthcare group, Blackstone Healthcare Partners, will join Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong on the NantPharma board. Mr. Higgins is a former Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer HealthCare AG, who led that company’s restructuring, including the acquisition of Schering AG and the over-the-counter medicines business of Roche. He is a former head of Abbott Laboratories’ pharmaceutical business in the United States, and a 34 year veteran of the pharmaceutical business.
“I am delighted that we will be building this company together with Blackstone and with seasoned executives Chinh Chu, Anjan Mukherjee and Art Higgins,” said Dr. Soon-Shiong, welcoming the agreement. “Our country must have absolutely reliable sources of blood plasma products. The effective treatment of auto immune and other diseases will depend on this. We must have the highest quality standards for all biologically derived drugs. Safety is paramount with such products.”
“We must also enhance our capabilities to manufacture injectable and next generation drugs in America,” added Dr. Soon-Shiong, noting that since 2010 there has been a growing and alarming shortage of injectable drugs for cancer sufferers and other critically ill patients.
Chinh Chu and Anjan Mukherjee, who have led many of Blackstone’s investments in healthcare, welcomed the agreement with NantPharma: “We have followed Dr. Soon-Shiong’s extraordinary career with much interest for nearly a decade, and we see great opportunity working together with him at the leading edge of the healthcare industry, both in this exciting venture and in other initiatives.”
Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisor, and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP served as legal counsel, to NantPharma and NantWorks in the transaction.