Shares of ImmunityBio (NASDAQ: IBRX) were up more than 30% for the week as of 10 a.m. ET on Friday, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The clinical-stage biotech‘s stock closed at $1.29 last week and then rose to as high as $1.785 on Tuesday. The move came after the company announced a stock sale and refinancing worth $470 million led by the company’s founder. ImmunityBio stock is still down more than 72% so far this year.
ImmunityBio focuses on cell therapies and immunotherapies. The company said on Monday that Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, ImmunityBio’s founder, executive chairman, and chief scientific and medical officer, would contribute $200 million in financing in return for stock. In addition, the company restructured $270 million of debt with Nant Capital in return for ImmunityBio stock.
While the move certainly dilutes the value of shares, it also shows the confidence that Soon-Shiong had in the company’s potential as it awaits the potential Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Anktiva plus Bacillus Calmette-Guérin immunotherapy (BCG) to treat BCG-unresponsive non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Anktiva would be the company’s first FDA-approved therapy.
Soon-Shiong’s move represents a big bet on Anktiva — which is in two late-stage trials to treat bladder cancer — and the business as a whole. If Anktiva is approved, the move will pay off big for Soon-Shiong. The company has 13 programs in its pipeline, including six in phase 2 or later. Anktiva could be quite valuable to ImmunityBio as bladder cancer is expected to affect roughly 82,290 new people in the U.S. this year and is the fourth most common solid tumor in men and 12th most common in women, according to the American Cancer Society.
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