NantWorks, billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Culver City holding company, has inked a deal with San Diego biopharmaceutical firm Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. to develop cancer and auto-immune disease treatments.

A NantWorks subsidiary and Sorrento will form an independent biotech company, dubbed the Immunotherapy Antibody JV, and the two will seed it with $20 million.

As part of the deal, NantWorks will acquire a 19.9 percent stake in Sorrento by purchasing common stock priced at $5.80 per share. It will also have the option to purchase more than 1.7 million additional shares of common stock at the same price over three years.

The new biotech company will focus on accelerating the development of treatments that use the body’s immune system to target and treat cancer, combinations of antibodies and cancer drugs, and other cancer treatments.

The NantWorks and Sorrento collaboration will “enable us to develop multiple novel therapies for malignant disorders where there is currently a significant unmet need,” Soon-Shiong said in a statement. “This will be a model relationship aligned to accelerate development and production of novel cancer immunotherapies.”

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