Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong’s health care technology holding company NantWorks has paid $50 million for a majority stake in clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm Precision Biologics Inc. of Dallas.

Privately held Precision Biologics has been developing antibodies and diagnostics tailored to treat solid-tumor cancers. Its development pipeline includes drugs that target advanced pancreatic and colorectal cancers and a diagnostics program that determines which patients are candidates to receive treatment.

“This investment furthers our mission to treat the biology of cancer, independent of the anatomy, and avoid the devastating toxic effects of standard chemotherapy while activating mankind's innate immune protective system,” Soon-Shiong said in a statement.

Soon-Shiong’s goal is to marry Precision Biologics’ platform with NantWorks’ diagnostic and immunotherapy technology to change the way cancer is detected and treated.

“The investment from NantWorks provides the resources that will allow for the continued development of our lead novel antibodies for pancreatic and colorectal cancers, as well as the identification of additional novel antibodies for other cancers,” said Precision Biologics Chief Executive Dr. Philip M. Arlen.

NantWorks has been busy investing in technology that complements its companies’ work. The Culver City firms in its portfolio have been developing ways to diagnose and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases with personalized treatment plans crafted using patients’ genetic information.

Last month, molecular diagnostic subsidiary NantOmics bought the balance of shares it didn’t already control in OncoPlex Diagnostics, a Rockville, Md., clinical lab that provides comprehensive profiling services of patients’ tumors.

That followed two more deals over the summer. NantWorks immuno-oncology subsidiary NantCell bought Udine, Italy tissue and stem cell engineering firm VivaBioCell. And Soon-Shiong’s health care IT firm NantHealth bought Herndon, Va.’s Harris Healthcare Solutions, whose technology enables health care providers to integrate patient data from different sources.

Financial terms of those deals were not disclosed.

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