ImmunityBio, NantKWest to merge

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

December 21, 2020 -- ImmunityBio and NantKWest have entered into an agreement to merge in a stock-for-stock transaction. The combination will create a new immunotherapy and cell therapy company focused on oncology and infectious diseases.

Once merged, the new company will have 13 assets in clinical trials and 11 in phase II/III clinical trials as well as a robust early stage pipeline. The groups expect that the combination of NantKWest's natural killer (NK) cell platform and ImmunityBio's immunotherapy fusion protein, immunomodulator, and adenovirus platforms will result in more late stage NK cell and T cell-based candidates. Together, the new company will occupy over 20,000 sq ft of manufacturing and research and development facilitates.

Under the terms of the agreement, ImmunityBio shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 0.8190 shares of NantKwest for each share of ImmunityBio owned. Upon completion of the transaction, on a fully diluted basis, ImmunityBio shareholders will own approximately 72% of the combined company and NantKwest shareholders will own approximately 28% of the combined company. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021. Following closing, the combined company will assume the ImmunityBio name (IBRX) and continue to be listed on the NASDAQ exchange.

Richard Adcock will become the CEO of the combined company, and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong (founder of ImmunityBio) will serve as executive chairman of the board. The combined company will be headquartered at ImmunityBio's offices in Culver City, California.

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