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Soon-Shiong Sees His Shot as a Universal Booster

  • Combos with ImmunityBio’s shot could yield stronger immunity
  • South African health workers to get T-cell booster in study
Patrick Soon-Shiong
Patrick Soon-ShiongPhotographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Corrected

U.S. biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is backing a Covid-19 vaccine candidate that he sees as having potential as a universal booster of other pandemic shots.

ImmunityBio Inc., of which the 68-year-old holds about 82%, is developing a vaccine called hAd5 that’s intended to specifically activate T-cells that scientists believe are a key part of the immune response against Covid. This quarter, the South African-born biotech tycoon will begin trials in the country, the scene of what he calls a Covid-19 “firestorm” as the delta variant drives a third wave of infections, the peak of which has surpassed two earlier waves.