ImmunityBio announced that Soon-Shiong had been appointed to the newly created role of global chief scientific and medical officer, effective Aug. 11.
According to the Aug. 16 announcement, Soon-Shiong remains executive chairman, a post he has held since the company went public on March 10.
Richard Adcock, who took the helm from Soon-Shiong as the immunotherapy company went public, remains ImmunityBio’s chief executive.
In his new role, Soon-Shiong will oversee the company’s global research and development programs, as well as company investments to support future growth plans.
“My entire life’s work has been to discover and bring to market better treatments for cancer and other difficult-to-treat diseases, and thanks to incredible innovations over the last few years, we’re closer than ever to that goal,” Soon-Shiong said in a statement.
“Our growing knowledge of the immune system will serve as the foundation for the research priorities we’re setting at ImmunityBio. These priorities will guide our ongoing quest for life-saving and life-extending therapeutics, including a commitment to ensure they are available to people in underserved nations in Africa and elsewhere,” he added.
The move has an additional goal for Soon-Shiong and ImmunityBio: to stabilize the company’s standing among outside shareholders. ImmunityBio shares have slid in the past five months, and the company has lost nearly three-fourths of its market value.
Soon-Shiong, who founded the company in 2014 and served as chief executive until its March 10 debut on the Nasdaq exchange, is ImmunityBio’s biggest shareholder.
His 314 million shares give him an 82% stake in the company. The value of that position has dropped by a whopping $9 billion, to $3.15 billion as of Aug. 17.
Analysts and market watchers say the company got caught up in a broader slide by biotech stocks. They also point to concern among some investors that with ImmunityBio’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate at least six months away from hitting the market, it could miss the prime window of opportunity for Covid vaccine makers.
Investors also didn’t receive much assurance from ImmunityBio’s latest earnings report, released the same day as the Soon-Shiong announcement.
The company posted revenue of $339,000 during the second quarter, a drop of 22% from the same period in 2020. Net income for the quarter that was attributable to ImmunityBio came in at a loss of $88.2 million, a larger decline than the $52 million loss posted for the second quarter of 2020.
ImmunityBio shares slipped another 10% after the earnings release to close at $10.04 on Aug. 17.
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