After NantHealth IPO, Patrick Soon-Shiong Prepares for Two More

  • Billionaire is readying another pair of startups to go public
  • Network of interlocking companies range from drugs to software

Billionaire entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, whose NantHealth Inc. went public on Wednesday, says he has two more health companies in the pipeline.

Soon-Shiong is building an empire of intertwined companies that range across the health-care system. NantKwest Inc., which first sold shares to the public in July, is a cancer drugmaker focused on a part of the immune system called a natural killer cell, while NantHealth provides software and medical records systems to doctors and hospitals.

The next two companies to hold IPOs will be drugmaker NantBiosciences and diagnostic company NantOmics, Soon-Shiong said Saturday in an interview at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago. He declined to provide a schedule for the offerings.

The companies feed into one another. NantHealth announced Friday that it would provide a comprehensive protein screening test, called GPS Cancer, which is intended to help doctors in treatment selection. The test is created and run by NantOmics, which has granted an exclusive license to NantHealth, Soon-Shiong said. NantOmics will also use its test to help NantBiosciences in its mission to develop a personalized cancer vaccine, he said.

It’s early days for all of the companies. NantKwest’s most advanced drug candidate is in a mid-stage trial that’s recruiting participants. NantHealth will need to prove to hospital systems and doctors that it can integrate its software into existing records systems and doctors’ workflows. NantOmics will need to run studies to show that its test can provide clinically relevant findings and also gain reimbursement from payers, which have been reluctant to cover more simple genetic screening tests.

NantHealth priced at $14 a share, in the middle of the expected range, and closed Friday at $18.54 in New York trading. While NantKwest had a larger-than-expected IPO that resulted in a market valuation of more than $3 billion, its shares have fallen, closing Friday at $7.73, 69 percent below their IPO price.

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